Schiff: Obama Should Have Reacted Forcefully Prior to Russia Hacking

December 11, 2016

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that President Obama made a 'mistake' by not reacting more forcefully prior to the hacks of Democratic Party systems where documents were leaked to the public through Wikileaks.

The Democratic National Committee's  (DNC) computer networks were hacked earlier this summer by cyber actors linked to Russia's intelligence service, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported. This hack resulted in several damning emails being publicly revealed and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) being forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC due to embarrassing emails of top party officials unfairly coordinating to help Hillary Clinton in the primary over her Democratic opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.).

Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta was also a victim of the hackers, as his emails with senior campaign staff were leaked to the public through Wikileaks.

NBC host Chuck Todd asked Schiff whether it was a mistake for Obama not to come out more definitively against the hacks before the election last month.

"I do think it was a mistake," Schiff said. "I think it was a mistake even earlier frankly not to react more forcefully when North Korea hacked us because I think those that lack of deterrence invited the Russians to meddle and consider they could do this with impunity."

Schiff said that he hopes that there can be a nonpartisan joint investigation with the intelligence communities.

"This ought to be a nonpartisan issue.  This is not about re-litigating the election. it's about getting good information to the American people about what happened and preventing it and deterring the Russians in the future," Schiff added.

Obama requested on Friday for there to be a full review into the hacking earlier this fall, CNN reported.

"The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders," White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters Friday. "This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing."

White House spokesperson Eric Schultz also noted on Friday during the press briefing that the review would also include malicious cyber activity related to U.S. elections dating back to 2008.