Obama on Russian Hack Review: 'We Were Playing this Thing Straight'

Posted: Dec 16, 2016 3:18 PM

At his final press conference of the year before leaving for his Hawaii vacation, President Obama said matter-of-factly that the Russians were “responsible” for hacking the DNC.

With that declaration, an AP reporter wondered if Obama was prepared to call out President Vladimir Putin by name for allegedly giving the green light for hackers to intervene in the U.S. election?

Obama said he told President Vladimir Putin in September when they met in China to “cut it out” or there would be serious consequences. After that, he said he and his administration did not see further tampering of the election process.

“We allowed the intel community to do its job,” he said. “We briefed all parties involved.”

When they had a consensus, they announced their findings through the intel communities and allowed the public to make an assessment.

“We were playing this thing straight,” the president concluded.

Obama added he is “surprised” the media is now wondering if Russia’s actions disadvantaged Hillary Clinton. “This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage” way before this week, he recalled.

As a consequence of the alleged hacking, Obama said it is important to “review all elements of that to prevent cyber attacks in the future.”

That, he said, should be a bipartisan issue and he hopes it doesn’t become a “political football.”

He reminded Russia that the U.S. can “do stuff” to them as well. His comments corroborate what he told NPR Thursday night.

Asked repeatedly if the hacking disadvantaged Hillary Clinton, Obama said he’s “going to let the political pundits” discuss the election results.