At an event today hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, White House terrorism and homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco announced that President Barack Obama had ordered a "full review" of the campaign of cyber-attacks against the Democratic Party, the campaign organization of Hillary Clinton, and other politicians and state election officials' websites during the 2016 presidential campaign. Monaco said that the results of the review would be released to Congress before President Obama left office.
"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process," Monaco said, "and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress."
The announcement comes after a call from both Republicans and Democrats on December 7. At a Heritage Foundation event on Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, (R-Texas) called for "consequences" for Russia's interference in the election. “If we don’t respond and show them that there are consequences," he said, "the bad behavior will continue… our democracy itself is being targeted.”
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US intelligence agencies have been forthright in their insistence that the Russian government was behind not only the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations in the US, but a concerted effort to undermine confidence in the results of the US presidential election, including attacks on state election officials' systems. But the US is not the only country that the Russian government has apparently targeted for these sorts of operations—and the methods used in the DNC hack are being applied increasingly in attempts to influence German politics, Germany's chief of domestic intelligence warned yesterday.
In a press release issued on December 8, Germany's Bundesamt für Verfassungsshutz (BfV), the country's domestic intelligence agency, warned of an ever-mounting wave of disinformation and hacking campaigns by Russia focused on increasing the strength of "extremist groups and parties" in Germany and destabilizing the German government. In addition to propaganda and disinformation campaigns launched through social media, the BfV noted an increased number of "spear phishing attacks against German political parties and parliamentary groups" using the same sort of malware used against the Democratic National Committee in the US.
The statement from the BfV came on the same day that Alex Younger, the chief of the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) made more veiled references to disinformation and hacking campaigns. In remarks Younger delivered at Vauxhall Cross, MI6 headquarters, he warned of the mounting risks posed by "hybrid warfare."