Obama On Russian Hacking: ‘We Need To Take Action. And We Will’
December 15, 20168:45 PM ET
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President Obama says the United States will respond to Russian cyberattacks that the intelligence community has concluded were part of an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.
U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that hackers working for Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, as well as the private email of John Podesta, a top adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
With the question of Russia’s ultimate motivation for the hack becoming increasingly divisive, Obama was careful to not endorse a CIA assessment, reported by NPR and other news outlets, that asserts that Russia’s goal was to elect Trump.
“There are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the agencies,” Obama told NPR, referring to an order he has given the U.S. intelligence community to conduct a full review of the cyberattacks before Inauguration Day. “And so when I receive a final report, you know, we’ll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations. But that does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign.”
“There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC,” Obama said.
In fact, email had been a major focus since before Clinton formally entered the presidential race, owing to revelations first reported by the New York Times that she used a private email server during her tenure leading the State Department. Updates about the FBI’s investigation of the server dripped out at intervals throughout the entire campaign.
The State Department also released Clinton emails at semi-regular intervals throughout the campaign, as did the conservative group Judicial Watch, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
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