Obama Requests Full Probe Into Russian Cyberattacks That May Have Influenced Election

President Obama has requested that intelligence agencies conduct a review of cyberattacks launched by Russia-backed state actors that may have had an impact on the presidential election and thus infringed on America’s democratic process. Reuters reports that White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco says findings from the investigation will be included in a report that will be given to the president before he leaves office January 20.

"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process...and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress," Monaco stated at a press event Friday morning.

There were numerous hacks of Democratic operatives’ emails in the months leading up to the election. In October, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security issued a joint statement concluding that “the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.”

More recently, seven Democrats from the Senate Intelligence Committee sent the president a signed letter urging him to launch a probe into Kremlin-backed espionage efforts. “We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public," the letter stated. "We are conveying specifics through classified channels.” Days ago, led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, ranking Democrats on national security committees wrote the president a letter expressing their fear over “Russian efforts to undermine, interfere with, and even influence the outcome of our recent election.”

Earlier this year, presidential candidate Donald Trump invited Russia to commit cyberwarfare against the United States and damage its democracy by hacking into Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said in the middle of a media briefing. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

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