WASHINGTON (CBSLA.com/AP) — President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review on the election-season hacking that rattled the presidential campaign and raised new concerns about foreign meddling in U.S. elections, a White House official said Friday.
White House counterterrorism and Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco said Obama ordered officials to report on the hacking of Democratic officials’ email accounts and Russia’s involvement. The report is due to be submitted to the president before he leaves office next month. Monaco did not say if the report would be made public.
U.S. intelligence officials accused Russia of being behind the breaches as part of an effort to interfere with the presidential campaign. In the months leading up to the election, email accounts of Democratic party officials and a Hillary Clinton campaign aide were breached, emails leaked to Wikileaks and embarrassing and private emails posted online. Many Democrats believe the hackings benefited Republican Donald Trump’s bid. During the campaign, Trump downplayed the possibility that Russia was involved.
Since Trump’s victory, Democratic lawmakers on the Senate intelligence committee have been pushing Obama to declassify more information about Russia’s role.
Rep. Adam Schiff, senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said he welcomed Obama’s call for a review.
“Given President-elect Trump’s disturbing refusal to listen to our intelligence community and accept that the hacking was orchestrated by the Kremlin, there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month,” Schiff, (D-Burbank), said in a statement. If the administration doesn’t respond “forcefully” to such actions, “we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future,” he said.
The criticism from Schiff comes on the heels of a Fox News interview in which the congressman accused host Tucker Carlson of “carrying water for the Kremlin” after being asked to provide evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the hacking of John Podesta’s emails.
“You’re going to have to move your show to RT,” Schiff added, referencing the Kremlin’s cable propaganda outlet.
A statement issued Friday from Schiff’s colleague, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, took the White House to task for failing to recognize the threat earlier.
“Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression,” said Nunes. “It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the threat.”
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