Americans should stop making assumptions about who might be responsible for hacking the Democratic Party, Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said Friday.
"Any time there is hacking like that and there is a release of proprietary information, it is a crime," Brennan said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "So that is undergoing, the investigation. Who is responsible for whatever happened is to be determined."
"As a country, as a government, as a people, we need to be mindful of the havoc that can be wrought, not just in terms of taking down an electric grid, but in terms of the potential to manipulate the foundation of our democracy, which is an election," Brennan added.
He also argued that the U.S. intelligence community has good intentions, and said the hacks pointed to the need for law enforcement to have broad surveillance authorities. "If we're a country of law and the rule of law prevails, what should the government be able to do and be able to access in order to protect the welfare of its citizenry?" he asked.
"It's not as though CIA and NSA and FBI officers are out there wanting to get in someone's email account and read it," Brennan said. "We want to be able to ensure the protection of civil liberties and privacy rights while at the same time safeguarding that system that everybody's lives are attached to."
His comments came a day after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he was "taken aback by the hyperventilation" over reports of hacking. "We don't know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been," Clapper said.
It was revealed on Friday that both Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have also been hacked, in addition to the Democratic National Committee. Analysts in the private sector have traced responsibility to actors affiliated with the Russian government.