Obama Orders Full Review Of Russia Election ‘Hacking’

Russian special forces © Darren Baker, Shutterstock 2012

The review is to examine government-sponsored hacks going back to 2008

US president Barack Obama has ordered a “full review” into alleged hacking activities backed by the Russian government and how they may have influenced elections in the country going back to 2008.

The review follows calls by Democrats in the US congress to release more information on the issue.

obamaflagusgovernment © spirit of america / Shutterstock.com

‘Deep dive’

The administration said it expects the review to be completed before Obama leaves office on 20 January, and would include a congressional briefing.

The US government in October formally accused the Russian government of involvement in hacks intended to manipulate the results of November’s election, which was won by president-elect Donald Trump.

“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,” Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco told journalists at a briefing on Friday.

Later in the day White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at a briefing the review would be a “deep dive” intended to look for patterns across the 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections and put incidents “in context”.

“This is a review that will be broad and deep at the same time,” he said. “They’re going to look at where the activity leads them to look at.”

He alluded to hacks targeting the Obama and John McCain campaigns in 2008, which were publicly attributed to China at the time, and said the 2012 election would also be scrutinised although there were no notable incidents at that time.

Public disclosure

Trump has repeatedly disparaged suggestions Russia manipulated the elections and has generally displayed a more favourable attitude toward the country than the current administration.

“I think the president wanted this done under his watch because he takes it very seriously,” Schultz said.

He added that the review would take a look at how much information relating to the hacks could be made public.

“We’re going to make public as much as we can,” he said.

“Declassifying and releasing information about the Russian government and the US election, and doing so quickly, must be a priority,” said Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, in a statement.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives intelligence committee, said Russia had succeeded in efforts to “sow discord” and urged the government to take more action.

“The administration must begin to take steps to respond forcefully to this blatant cyber meddling, and work with our allies in Europe who have been targets of similar attacks to impose costs on the Kremlin; if we do not, we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future,” Schiff stated.

The Russian government has denied any involvement in the hacks.

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