President-elect Donald Trump escalated a fight with U.S. spy agencies on Wednesday, just nine days before he takes over their command as president, and accused them of practices reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
The Republican said leaks from the intelligence community led to some U.S. media outlets reporting unsubstantiated claims that he was caught in a compromising position in Russia.
"I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace, and I say that ... that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do," Trump told a news conference in New York.
Trump acknowledged for the first time that Russia likely hacked the Democratic National Committee and the emails of top Democrats during the 2016 presidential election. "I think it was Russia," he said, pointing out that other countries were also hacking the United States.
Trump's comments about spy agencies such as the CIA are likely to intensify tensions between the intelligence community and the president-elect, who initially disparaged its conclusion that a Russian hacking campaign was aimed at boosting his candidacy against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, called a dossier that makes salacious claims about him in Russia "fake news" and "phony stuff."
U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he spoke with Trump on Wednesday evening and told the president-elect he did not believe the media leaks came from the intelligence community.
"I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security," Clapper said in a statement.
He defended including the dossier in the intelligence report Trump received on Friday, saying "part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security."