President Obama has ordered a “full review” of what the intelligence community has called Russian hacking activity related to the 2016 election and expects to receive the report before he leaves office, a senior White House official said today.
“The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process,” Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C., today.
“We may be in — 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, what this means, what has happened and to impart those lessons learned and that’s what we’re going to go about doing,” she added.
The White House said the review, which the president requested earlier this week, will date back to 2008.
“The president asked to go back with what we know now to make sure that we’re using every tool possible as a means of due diligence,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. He said the review will “look at malicious cyberactivity timed to our presidential election cycle, so it will be broader than just looking at this past election.”
Just weeks before the Nov. 8 election, U.S. intelligence agencies accused the Russian government of hacking intended to influence U.S. political institutions and elections.
“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement at the time.
While the the intelligence community pinned the hacking this year on Russia, the review will examine potential hacks by all foreign actors, the White House said.
In 2008, both Obama’s and John McCain’s presidential campaigns were reportedly the subject of hacking by the Chinese.
The president hopes to make as much of the report public as possible, but it will need to be reviewed for sensitive or classified information, Schultz said.
In his interview with Time magazine for Person of the Year, Trump contended he still doesn’t believe Russia was responsible for any election-related hacking.
“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they interfered,” Trump said.
Asked whether he thought the intelligence community’s conclusion about the hacks was politically driven, he said, “I think so.”
The White House has said the president will consider a “proportional” response to the hacks, likely one that won’t be announced ahead of time.