Obama adviser: Press had 'missed opportunity' on Russian hacking

Obama adviser: Press had 'missed opportunity' on Russian hacking
© Getty

President Obama's national security adviser says members of the media could have better covered Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"I do think that the fact that the press found it more interesting at the time to report on [former] Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton’s emails or President-elect [Donald] Trump’s, you know, videotaped comments about women, or a large number of other issues, is in retrospect probably a missed opportunity,” Susan Rice told BuzzFeed’s "Another Round" podcast Wednesday.

“The fact that they did not focus on this issue to the extent that we thought they would and they should is something that I think the press needs to do some introspection about.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Rice also faulted the press for focusing on document leaks likely originating from Russian hackers rather than the hacking itself.

“For the press not to give it the sustained attention that it deserved, and meanwhile continue to give great attention to the product of these hackings, I think is something we all need to be concerned about and look back on and ask ourselves what we can learn from that,” said Rice, who has served as Obama’s national security adviser since 2013.

Rice added she thinks the "mechanics of the election" were unaffected by any Russian intrusion in Trump’s win over Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.

“What’s harder to measure is the extent to which it affected people’s perceptions and judgments,” she said. "But it should not be a casual consideration that a foreign government, particularly a large adversarial government, attempted to have an influence.”

“We will respond in an appropriate manner at a time and place of our choosing,” she continued. "We’re going to respond appropriately, and just because something doesn’t go bang doesn’t mean that we haven’t done what needs to be done.”

A secret CIA assessment has concluded Russia interfered in last month’s presidential election to help Trump, and President Obama has ordered a full report on Russian interference before he leaves office.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals who helped the Russian government leak hacked emails from Democratic sources, including the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, to groups like WikiLeaks.

The White House is expected to announce on Thursday a series of retaliatory measures against Russia including diplomatic censure and economic sanctions, along with potential covert cyber measures.