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US to review 'malicious cyber activity' intended to interfere with elections

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies in the country to conduct a "full review" into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and to have the report ready before he leaves office Jan. 20, 2017.

The move comes after the intelligence community, in the high confidence assessment released in October, determined that there was "malicious cyber activity intended to interfere" with the elections, and that the activity was "directed by the highest levels of the Russian government." The review will also encompass elections held before 2016.

The press briefing noted that the review is unrelated to requests by Congress, and "is something the President directed his national security team to conduct."

Meanwhile, a secret assessment conducted by the CIA led it to conclude that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election to boost Donald Trump's chances of winning, The Washington Post reported Dec. 9, citing "officials briefed on the matter."

The New York Times said the same day that U.S. intelligence agencies had "high confidence" that Russia was involved in the cyber attacks. The paper cited senior administration officials as saying that they are confident that Russians broke into not only the Democratic Party's computer systems, but also into Republican National Committee computer systems. However, the officials added, the hackers did not release information they found on the Republican systems.

Intelligence agencies have found that the thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee that were provided to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election came from people connected to the Russian government, the Post noted.