President Barack Obama said there will be retaliation against Russia for allegedly hacking into the Democratic National Committee's emails.
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections ... we need to take action,” Obama told NPR. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be."
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Obama also acknowledged that the world's “big powers” spy on each other and the U.S. on a regular basis, including U.S. allies like Israel and Great Britain.
"There's a difference between that and the kind of malicious cyberattacks that steal trade secrets or engage in industrial espionage, something that we've seen the Chinese do,” Obama explained. “And there is a difference between that and activating intelligence in a way that's designed to influence elections."
Although U.S. government officials have been going on the record for months blaming Russia for the DNC leaks, Obama did not endorse the secret CIA assessment first reported on by the Washington Post that alleged Russian hackers were behind those leaks, and instead said he would wait for a more thorough intelligence report.
"There are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the agencies," Obama said. "And so when I receive a final report, you know, we'll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations.”
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Obama added that the he doesn't believe the emails hacks ultimately swayed the election to President-elect Donald Trump.
“But that does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately — that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign,” Obama said. "There's no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary's emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC.”