“The primary goal of this attack on our election system was to sow chaos and apparently to help the candidate Donald Trump,” Olsen, an ABC News consultant, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said.
But Trump is having none of it.
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act?” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
But that’s not the case, and sources say that intelligence operatives are seething that their future boss is so outwardly dismissing their work.
The Obama administration began publicly sounding the alarm well before the election.
With uncharacteristic transparency, the agencies went on to say that they “believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
Fast-forward two months to today, when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest went further.
“Based on my personal reading…they were referring to the senior most government official in Russia,” Earnest said.
“It was not intended to be subtle.”
The concerns weren’t just raised by the Obama administration.
“There's no doubt now that Russia has used cyber-attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this. I know Donald is very praise worthy of Vladimir Putin,” she said during the first presidential debate in September.
Trump angrily dismissed those concerns later in the evening, retorting “She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't—maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”
Four days ago, Trump – now president-elect and capable of receiving classified intelligence briefings – used a similar line.
“They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News last Sunday. “I mean, they have no idea.”
Despite the incoming president’s dismissals, American authorities said on Thursday that they now have new, significant evidence proving Putin directed the cyber operation.
Trump is becoming increasingly alone in his skepticism of the intelligence community’s conclusions.
“It could be us the next time – this is not a Republican, Democratic issue,” Graham said in an interview with CNN. “My goal is to put on President Trump’s desk crippling sanctions based on the fact that they interfered in our elections.”
“They need to pay a price,” he added.
And what that price will be isn’t yet clear, though President Barack Obama has vowed action.
For his part, Obama is playing coy.
In an interview with NPR that was released on Thursday night, Obama said that he thinks that “there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections ... that we need to take action and we will. At a time and a place of our own choosing.
“Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be," Obama said.
ABC News’ Megan Christie, Randy Kreider, Lee Ferran, Paul Blake, Alex Hosenball, Lizzie Yang and Kalyn Wilson contributed to this report.