President Obama took the defense of America very seriously when he ordered a full investigation regarding the involvement and potential influence of Russian hackers and the outcome of the presidential election. On December 9, 2016, Obama ordered the CIA to launch a comprehensive review of the recent hits against the United States and their cyber-security, releasing a statement citing, “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 Counter-terrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters Friday. “This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”
Trump Continues to Deny Russian Involvement
As expected President-elect Donald Trump pulled away from the Obama administration once again, this time stating that the decision to hold a full review was unwarranted and that, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”
Experts are worried that the recent rant and accusations pointed at the CIA will cause serious rifts between the new Trump Administration and the CIA. The comment highlights one of the agency’s most embarrassing intel mishaps in recent history. But make no mistake about it, the CIA works very closely with the presidential administration, and Trump will need to rebuild those bridges he just burned to ensure that America is safe and protected.
Truth Found Behind the Hacks
Only days after the order of a full review, the CIA has in fact found evidence that there was activity and potential influence of Russian hackers and the presidential election. As part of their findings, the CIA was able to identify several individuals who had ties with the Russia government providing Wikileaks with thousands of hacked email accounts from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Those hacked email accounts included Clinton’s campaign manager, among others. A senior US Official briefed the US Senate stating, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That’s the consensus view.”
One Senator is calling for James Comey to resign for withholding information revealed in a CIA report that Russian operatives gave hacked emails to WikiLeaks. Harry Reid, a Senate minority leader, stated, “The FBI had this material for a long time but Comey, who is, of course, a Republican, refused to divulge accurate information about Russia and the presidential election.”
Other findings indicated that not only the DNC, but the RNC was hacked by the Russians during the election process. However, no documentation or information was released or exposed to the Republican party, making things a bit more cloudy when it comes to the full intent of the hack. However, it is unclear how many files were stolen from the Republican committee. As the investigation continues and new information is revealed, will this be another hit for Trump’s win causing a wider divide across the country and our government, or will the FBI and CIA be able to work together and support the Trump administration? For now, all eyes are on the investigation while we wait to find out just how much impact the Russians had on the outcome.