Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions
in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber
6 January 2017
Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US
Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution
“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly
classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the
The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise
bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or
methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.
Thus, while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified
report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and
sources and methods.
The Analytic Process
The mission of the Intelligence Community is to seek to reduce the uncertainty surrounding foreign
activities, capabilities, or leaders’ intentions. This objective is difficult to achieve when seeking to
understand complex issues on which foreign actors go to extraordinary lengths to hide or obfuscate their
On these issues of great importance to US national security, the goal of intelligence analysis is to
provide assessments to decisionmakers that are intellectually rigorous, objective, timely, and useful,
and that adhere to tradecraft standards.
The tradecraft standards for analytic products have been refined over the past ten years. These
standards include describing sources (including their reliability and access to the information they