United States President Barack Obama on Friday sought a full report from the country’s intelligence agencies on Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential elections, which Donald Trump won on November 8. The review will include tracking the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee’s computer network as well as on Hillary Clinton campaign manager John D Podesta, senior officials told The New York Times.
The outgoing president expects to be handed the report before leaving office, said Lisa Monaco, a former head of the Justice Department’s national security division and one of Obama’s closest aides. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has been investigating the hacking, and other intelligence agencies are reluctant to make their findings public, fearing that the sources that led them to trace the cyber attacks back to Russia would be revealed.
Moreover, a secret assessment of the breach carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Russia had, indeed, been involved in trying to influence the elections to help Trump win, according to The Washington Post. “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,” said a senior US official. “That’s the consensus view.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin had denied his country’s involvement in the hacking, which had led to the release of more than 20,000 emails and documents by WikiLeaks. The documents had revealed that top officials at the democratic committee had secretly planned to undermine Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Trump, however, has repeatedly expressed scepticism that any such attack had taken place. “I don’t believe they [Russia] interfered,” he told TIME for its Person of the Year 2016 issue. The president-elect’s team has also dismissed the CIA’s report as incorrect.