Obama orders review of pre-election email hacking before he leaves office

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: The sun rises near the White House on November 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

U.S. intelligence officials have accused Russia of trying to interfere in last month’s election by hacking into Democratic officials’ email accounts. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review on the election-season hacking that rattled the presidential campaign and raised new concerns about foreign meddling in U.S. elections, a White House official said Friday.

White House counterterrorism and Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco said Obama ordered officials to report on the hacking of Democratic officials’ email accounts and Russia’s involvement. The report is due to be submitted to the president before he leaves office next month. Monaco did not say if the report would be made public.

U.S. intelligence officials accused Russia of being behind the breaches as part of an effort to interfere with the presidential campaign. In the months leading up to the election, email accounts of Democratic party officials and a Hillary Clinton campaign aide were breached, emails leaked to Wikileaks and embarrassing and private emails posted online. Many Democrats believe the hackings benefited Republican Donald Trump’s bid. During the campaign, Trump downplayed the possibility that Russia was involved.

Since Trump’s victory, Democratic lawmakers on the Senate intelligence committee have been pushing Obama to declassify more information about Russia’s role.

Rep. Adam Schiff, senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said he welcomed Obama’s call for a review.

“Given President-elect Trump’s disturbing refusal to listen to our intelligence community and accept that the hacking was orchestrated by the Kremlin, there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month,” Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement. If the administration doesn’t respond “forcefully” to such actions, “we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future,” he said.

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