WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has ordered a “full review” of the cyberattacks and potential foreign intervention in presidential elections stretching back to 2008 before he leaves office Jan. 20, White House officials said Friday.
“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders,” White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz later expanded that the review will include all presidential races back to 2008. Schultz was unclear about whether the review will include state elections.
Monaco said that while cyberattacks are not new, they reached a “new threshold” this year.
She said the administration would be mindful of repercussions of revealing the results of the review publicly, saying that the report will be available to a “range of stakeholders, including Congress.”
“That’s going to be first and foremost a determination that’s made by the intelligence community,” she said. “We want to do so very attentive to not disclosing sources and methods that may impede our ability to identify and attribute malicious actors in the future.”
Schultz said the administration will work to make as much public as possible.
In October, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the attacks “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the isle have called for investigations into the incursions, and Senate Democrats on the Intelligence Committee have called on the administration to declassify intelligence on Russia’s actions during the election.
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are preparing to launch a probe into Russian meddling, The Washington Post reported.
Their investigation could put them at conflict with President-elect Donald Trump, who has continually denied a Russian role in the hacking.
Administration officials told NBC News that “Obama is concerned that Russia will go unpunished for the behavior unless he acts.”