President Obama has ordered his intelligence agencies to conduct a review of hacking during the 2016 presidential election and present their findings before he leaves office, a top adviser said Friday.
Obama’s counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco disclosed the review to reporters in Washington Friday morning.
“We maybe have crossed into a new threshold,” Monaco said. Monaco did not say if the report would be made public.
The intelligence community already has probed suspected foreign intervention in the U.S. election, having concluded earlier that Russia-backed actors likely were involved in breaching and releasing Democratic Party emails during the 2016 cycle.
The final weeks of the White House race also were rocked by WikiLeaks’ publication of Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails.
At the time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied the Russian government or any other “state parties” were the source for the 50,000 emails, which fueled weeks of embarrassing coverage for the Clinton campaign detailing behind-the-scenes discussions and arguments among Clinton advisers and family members.
Obama’s directive to his intelligence agencies to conduct a full review and report to him before he leaves office on Jan. 20 could serve to fuel more questions about the integrity of the election – at a time when President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers and allies are battling with Clinton stalwarts still bitter over the race.
Many Democrats believe the disclosures in emails stolen from Democratic Party officials and Podesta’s account benefited Trump. Democratic senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee have asked Obama to declassify more information about Russia’s role in the hacks.
Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Democrats “won’t learn the lessons” from the 2016 race.
“A little self-awareness would do for a team that is blaming everybody but themselves for this. It’s Bernie Sanders’ fault … It’s the alt-right’s fault,” she said. “It’s … fake news’ fault. It’s Russian interference. It’s James Comey. … How about you had no message?”
Trump allies also are still trying to fight attempts by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to seek a recount in key battleground states, though so far the recount efforts have sputtered and not made much of a difference in the final tally.
In a separate development, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed to Fox News on Friday that there was an attempted cyber-breach on his state’s systems in mid-November – and an extensive forensic review linked the IP address to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Kemp said he is unsure whether this was a rogue actor in the department, or an outside party that accessed DHS systems or was spoofing their address.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Kemp asked whether DHS was aware of the attempt and, “if so, why DHS was attempting to breach our firewall.”
Kempt said the intruder was trying to scan “certain aspects of the Georgia Secretary of State’s infrastructure,” and the breach was unsuccessful.