On Friday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama is having his intelligence team investigate the cyberattacks that may have affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Obama is ordering his intelligence team to have a final report on his desk in the Oval Office before his presidential term is over with on January 20th, 2017.
Officials have already put most of the blame for the attacks on Russia. It is believed that the Russian government, particularly Russian President Vladimir Putin, wanted Donald Trump to win the election because he liked him far more than Hillary Clinton. So, the theory is that the Russians conducted a malicious cyber-attack on numerous electronic voting systems in the United States in order to favor Trump over Clinton.
The other theory, which is more widely accepted, is that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s database in order to destabilize Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the election. There have already been vote recount requests in many of the key battleground states where the results were close, such as Wisconsin and Michigan. But it is unclear if the hacks may have affected the outcome in these states. It probably couldn’t have affected Michigan though because they use paper ballots rather than electronic ballots.
It is unknown if the final report will be made public once it is made available to President Obama. Unless there is something substantial in the report which shows Trump benefited tremendously from the hacks, then it will likely be kept confidential. If there were any hacks, it wouldn’t be the first time that a foreign government tried to interfere in a U.S. election. In 2008, Chinese hackers were suspected of interfering with the election between Obama and Senator John McCain. But all they were after were emails and internal policy papers of the candidates’ top advisers.