New details on the Russian election meddling dating as far back as June of 2016 before the election suggest that the former National Security Adviser under Barack Obama told White House cybersecurity investigators to stop looking into Russia during the campaign.
According to investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the White House knew of some Russian involvement in the election well before it took place, but were asked to stop looking into it by Susan Rice, the former national security adviser.
“Don’t get ahead of us,” Rice reportedly said, according to former White House Director of Cybersecurity Michael Daniel, who said he was the one regularly bringing up the meddling to Rice.
Daniel said Rice also told him to “knock it off” in regards to his digging on the matter, as early reports that emerged in the summer of 2016 suggested Russia planted actors in multiple states across the nation to interfere with voting, according to a Business Insider report.
Daniel reportedly told his aides of Rice, “That was one pissed-off national security adviser,” after the meeting, where he was also told to stay out of the issue so it would not affect then-President Obama’s end of term and the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
According to an unnamed source, White House officials told cybersecurity officials they did not plan to look into the meddling until they had more evidence, an also had “timed its response so as to not provoke the Russians into materially affecting the outcome of the election.”
Daniel told Bloomberg that the evidence at first was overwhelming, and he even had other staffers beneath him regularly update him on the situation despite the fact that Rice would not hear them.
“I wanted to send a signal that we would not tolerate disruptions to our electoral process,” Daniel said, according to the book. “The Russians are going to push as hard as they can until we start pushing back.”
Reports claim the cybersecurity team knew of few instances where Russian hackers gained access to financial records of at least one campaign, as well as getting direct access to the software programs used to collect and count votes used on Election Day.
- Report from BI
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