WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has requested a review of all cyber attacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, the White House said Friday, amid allegations of Russian interference.
“The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process,” said Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security advisor.
Monaco said at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor that it was vital to “understand what this means, what has happened and to impart some lessons learned.”
She added that Obama expects a report before he leaves office on January 20 and Republican Donald Trump assumes the presidency.
The move comes after Democrats in Congress pressed the White House to reveal details, to Congress or to the public, of Russian hacking and disinformation in the election.
Confidential emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, a top advisor to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, were steadily leaked out via WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Clinton’s ultimately losing White House effort.
The US Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a statement on October 7, one month before the election, stated that “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”
“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” they said.
But in an interview published Wednesday with Time magazine for its “Person of the Year” award, Trump dismissed the findings of the country’s leading intelligence services.
Asked whether the intelligence was politicized, Trump answered: “I think so.”
“I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.'”
“It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”