Obama Orders Intelligence Agencies to Review Russian Hacking During Election

by Lauren C. Williams –

“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process.”

President Barack Obama has initiated a “full review” into whether Russian hackers tampered with the 2016 presidential election.

Intelligence agencies have been directed to fully investigate the possibility of foreign hacking that could have affected the 2016 election process, Lisa Monaco, the White House’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, told reporters Friday morning at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

“We maybe crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what this means, what has happened and to impart those lessons learned,” Monaco said.

The review is a continuation of investigations into ongoing threats that took place earlier this summer, she said.

Russia has been the chief suspect for hacking attempts related to the U.S. presidential election. The intelligence community blamed the Russian government for encouraging hackers to target Democratic Party officials, mainly by hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails. Those emails invited intense scrutiny of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and revealed candid, private conversations between Democratic party leaders—including Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta—regarding her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

Along with its connection to the DNC hacking, Russia has been blamed for possibly interfering with election day itself. A group of computer scientists lobbied Clinton to push for ballot recounts in states that were “too close to call” on election night and where some ballot irregularities were flagged. In Wisconsin, a state that traditionally votes Democratic but narrowly broke for Donald Trump last month, is likely to be the first—and perhaps only—state to complete a full recount. The computer scientists believe they have found evidence of manipulation or hacking in at least three states but have not publicly released their findings.

The intelligence community is expected to complete its review by Obama’s final day in office, Jan. 20. But the administration said it would be cautious with regards to how many of their findings — if any — will be released to the public.

Monaco said the “lessons learned” from the review would be reported to a “a range of stakeholders,” adding that the intelligence community members would determine what information is made public, Politico reported.

“That’s going to be first and foremost a determination that’s made by the intelligence community,” she said. “We want to do so very attentive to not disclosing sources and methods that may impede our ability to identify and attribute malicious actors in the future.”

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress