In a final act, Obama orders full report on cyberattacks during US elections

9 Dec 2016

Outgoing US president Barack Obama. Image: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

As one of his final acts in office, outgoing US president Barack Obama has ordered a full review of cyberattacks and foreign interventions that may have taken place during November’s presidential elections.

As the weeks count down to the end of the Obama presidency – and the beginning of a Donald Trump one – allegations that the November presidential elections may have been tampered with by foreign influencers will not go away.

Both praise and criticism were heaped on defeated Green Party candidate Jill Stein for raising millions of dollars to see whether electronic voting errors, or even fraud, was in play in three key swing states.

Now, in one of his final acts as president, Obama has called on the country’s various intelligence agencies to draft up a complete review of all possible interventions and cyberattacks that could have happened, before he leaves office on 20 January.

According to Reuters, the administration’s homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco told journalists at an event that Obama had fast-tracked a review to be undertaken, which will be shared soon after it has been drawn up.

A ‘new threshold for cyberattacks’

When asked about the significance of foreign interventions from countries like Russia – that the US has accused of playing a part in the hack of the Democratic National Convention earlier this year – Monaco said this year marked a “new threshold” for cyberattacks.

“The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process … and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress,” she said.

Monaco was also pressed on this action and the likely reaction from the transition team of president-elect Trump.

However, in response, she refused to comment on whether Trump’s team would be alarmed by such action taken by a US president.

Monaco has experience in dealing with possible cyberattacks against presidential nominees as during the 2008 election, she was working as a senior FBI official when she warned both Obama and John McCain of digital infiltrations undertaken by Chinese actors.

Outgoing US President Barack Obama. Image: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic