US President Barack Obama has requested an intelligence report on hacking that took place during the 2016 election cycle. The CIA believes that Russia intervened to help Donald Trump win the presidency, US media says.
Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyberattacks and foreign intervention into the recent presidential election, a White House official said on Friday.
"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process," said Lisa Monaco, Obama's homeland security advisor.
Monaco said Obama expects the completed report before he leaves office on January 20 and Republican Donald Trump assumes the presidency. The report will be sent to "a range of stakeholders" including lawmakers in Congress - she did not say whether or not the report will be made public.
Secret CIA assessment
Within hours of her statement, the Washington Post cited US officials briefed by the CIA as saying that the intelligence agency believes that Moscow interfered to help billionaire Donald Trump to win the November 8 presidential election.
The newspaper said US intelligence officials have assessed that the Kremlin sought not just to undermine the electoral process but to "favor one candidate over the other."
This latest assessment is the first time spy agencies have said Russia's goal was to get Trump elected.
Obama's order came after Democrat lawmakers urged the White House to reveal details of Russian disinformation and hacking either to Congress or to the public.
In the months leading up to November's election, email accounts of Democratic National Committee officials and a Hillary Clinton campaign aide were hacked. The emails were subsequently leaked and published online on WikiLeaks.
A campaign for ballot recounts in three key states by former Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein has also cited the cyberattacks and non-specified "anomalies" as cause for recount.
Intelligence officials blame Russia
One month before the US presidential election, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement which alleged that Russia orchestrated the cyberattacks to undermine the election.
"The Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations," the joint statement said. "These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process."
Trump dismissed the findings of the country's leading intelligence services in an interview published Wednesday with "Time" magazine for its "Person of the Year" award.
"I don't believe they interfered," the president-elect told "Time," adding: "It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey."
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on Russia to dig up missing emails from Clinton's time as Secretary of State under Obama.
rs,mm/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters)