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Obama says he underestimated impact of Russian hacking

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Barack Obama also said that he was not taken in by Russian hostility to the United States.

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10th-Jan-2017       Readers ( 99 )   0 Comments
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AFP, Washington :
President Barack Obama on Sunday admitted that he "underestimated" the impact misinformation and hacking can have on democracies, following an intelligence report on Russian meddling in the US presidential election.
In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Obama also warned his Republican successor Donald Trump, who takes office in less than two weeks, about the difference between governing and campaigning, saying the president-elect won't be able to run his presidency "the way you would manage a family business."
The interview, which was taped Friday, took place the same day that US intelligence agencies released an unprecedented report saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign of hacking, leaking, and media manipulation aimed at undermining Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and boosting Trump.
Although Obama said he was not taken in by Russian hostility to the United States, "I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyber hacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating."
Obama ordered the intelligence report, released to the public Friday, partly "to make sure that we understand this is something that Putin has been doing for quite some time in Europe, initially in the former satellite states where there are a lot of Russian speakers, but increasingly in Western democracies."
"We have to pay attention," he said of upcoming elections in European ally nations, warning of possible interference.
Russia initially aimed its unprecedented cyber campaign at damaging a potential Clinton presidency, and then turned to supporting Trump after his victory appeared possible, the report from the Director of National Intelligence said.
Trump, who met the country's leading intelligence agency chiefs to hear the full report, has accepted the possibility of Moscow's involvement in hacking US targets, including the Democratic National Committee, but rejected the conclusion that Russia interfered in the election.
Trump's transition team on Sunday doubled down on its claim that Democrats are to blame for allowing their email accounts to be hacked, flatly rejecting any notion Russia may have affected the election.
"Any attempt, any aspiration to influence our elections failed," Trump's senior aide Kellyanne Conway told CNN.
The president-elect has ridiculed US intelligence agencies over their findings and promised he would establish closer ties to Moscow.
However, Obama urged him "to develop a strong relationship with the intelligence community."

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