President Obama has ordered the country’s intelligence agencies to complete a full report on “cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election” before he leaves the White House, Reuters reported this morning.
The confirmation came from Obama’s homeland security chief Lisa Monaco during a Christian Science Monitor event. Monaco noted that the administration would share the findings with “a range of stakeholders,” including Congress.
“We’ve seen in 2008 and in this last election system malicious cyber activity,” she said, adding that while such attacks aren’t new, those that happened in 2016 may have crossed a “new threshold.”
Just yesterday, reports emerged that Senate Republicans were planning on launching a “coordinated and wide-ranging probe” into Russia’s purported involvement in US elections, as well as its “potential cyberthreats to the military.” The move comes in spite of President-elect Donald Trump’s seemingly cozy relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Calls to review the election results popped up several times following Trump’s victory. On November 22, New York magazine reported that a group of cyber security experts were encouraging Hillary Clinton to look into a recount in various swing states, citing “persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” Jill Stein raised millions of dollars to fund an election recount in those three states, floating the possibility that voting machines had been compromised.
Previously, in late November, the Obama Administration said that despite “questions about the integrity of the election process” prompted by incidents like the DNC hack, “we stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people.”
Update 1:30 pm: During a White House press briefing today, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz provided more detail about the order.
“[It’s] a review to look at malicious cyber activity timed to our presidential election cycle,” Schultz told reporters, adding that it would look at previous election cycles in addition to the 2016 election. He added that the administration would “make public as much as we can.”