During his final press conference of 2016, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s response to the hacking of the DNC, arguing that the politics of the election had a significant impact in the administration’s decision to let the intelligence community lead the the charge and not to make any conclusions about the motives.
“I immediately ordered law enforcement as well as our intelligence teams, to find out everything about it and investigate it thoroughly and to brief the potential victims of this hacking, to brief on a bipartisan bases, the leaders of both the House and the Senate and the relevant intelligence committees. And, once we had clarity and certainty around what in fact it happened, we publicly announced that in fact, Russia has hacked into the DNC,” Obama said. “At that time, we did not attribute motives or any interpretations of why they had done so. We did not discuss the effects of it might be. We simply let people know and the public know.”
Obama argued that “in this hyper partisan atmosphere” he wanted to ensure the administration did not weigh in too heavily in advance of the election.
“At a time when my primary concern was making sure that the integrity of the election process was not in any way damaged, at a time where anything that’s said by me and seeing through the media lens, we are playing this thing straight, we are not trying to advantage one side or another, we are trying to let people know that this is taken place,” Obama said.
He said looking back “we handled it the way it should have been.”
“We briefed all relevant parties involved in terms of what was taken place. When we had a consensus around what had happened, we announced it not through the White House or through me but through the intelligence communities that carried out these investigations and then we allowed you and the American public to make an assessment as to how to weigh that going into the election.”