White House orders intelligence report of election cyberattacks
President Obama has directed the intelligence community to conduct “a full review” of the 2016 election in light of reports of Russian interference, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said Friday.
“We’ll see what comes out” but there will be a report to “a range of stakeholders to include Congress,” Monaco told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
“We’re going to make public as much as we can,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, but he noted the report will “contain highly sensitive and classified information.”
Monaco gave few other details about the report, other than to say that it will “capture lessons learned and … report from a range of stakeholders to include their comments.”
According to Schultz, the hacking review will also look at past elections — not just 2016.
Lawmakers immediately hailed the news and urged the administration to make public as much of the report as possible.
“The Administration should work to declassify as much of it as possible, while protecting our sources and methods, and make it available to the public,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
The news comes as Democrats across Capitol Hill — and some Republicans — are clamoring for investigations into reported Russian hacking during the election.
In October, the intelligence community publicly blamed Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations this year, calling the cyberattacks an intentional effort to interfere with the U.S. election process.
Officials stopped short of blaming Russian hackers for the probing of state election systems. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, though, has since said Russian scanning of state election infrastructure was “curtailed” after that statement.
Democrats have characterized the release of DNC officials’ emails as an attempt to bolster President-elect Donald Trump’s bid for the White House — although security experts note that it’s equally plausible that Russia was simply trying to sow uncertainty in the U.S. democratic process.
Trump has fiercely denied any Russian involvement in the election.
A myriad of lawmakers have pushed for various investigations into the attacks.
A group of Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats, including ranking member Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), has urged Obama to declassify and release “additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election.”
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and six other ranking members on Tuesday urged the administration to brief Congress on the matter.
House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) have announced legislation to create an independent commission to study Russian interference in the election.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that he will spearhead investigations into the matter. Armed Services Committee chair Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) is also reportedly readying a probe.
–Jordan Fabian contributed.
–This report was updated at 1:25 p.m.
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