White House Orders Investigation into Election Hacking

The investigation and subsequent report are not meant to undermine the integrity of the election results, but to gather information in order to bolster cybersecurity.

by / December 9, 2016
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama has ordered for the country’s intelligence agencies to review cyberattacks and foreign intervention in the 2016 presidential election. The report will be delivered to national security personnel and lawmakers before January 20, according to Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco.

"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 said during an event hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

Back in October, the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence on Election Security released a joint statement that said the U.S. Intelligence community was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.” This includes hacks of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

Although foreign intervention in elections is not a novel occurrence, Monaco stated that “a new threshold” may have been crossed.

"It is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after action, to understand what this means, what has happened and to impart those lessons learned," she said at the event, "and that's what we're going to go about doing."

Monaco cited that the Chinese hacking of the Obama and McCain campaigns in 2008 should provide context to the events in 2016.

President-elect Trump has been dismissive of the idea that Russia was involved in the intervention. In the first presidential debate when talking about the DNC hack, Trump said that it could be Russia, but then noted that "it could also be China, could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on the bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"

This comes just days after another report was released about the Congressional Republican gearing up to launch a full investigation into “into Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. elections and its potential cyberthreats to the military.”

In a White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz detailed the plan.

"[It’s] a review to look at malicious cyberactivity timed to our presidential election cycle,” he said, adding that the report would be made as open to the public as possible, but due to some national security concerns may be kept classified.

The report is not meant to undermine the integrity of the election results, but to gather information in order to bolster cybersecurity.