Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, who is vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said that the Obama administration choked by not warning the American people of potential Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
During an interview with CNN’s “Global Public Square,” host Fareed Zakaria asked Warner if he thought the Obama administration choked and should have done more when it knew that the Russians were interfering.
“With the value of hindsight, yes,” Warner responded. “But I also know that most of the information, there were so many threads coming in from both signals intelligence, from human intelligence, from actions of the FBI. No one really put all of the pieces together until after the election.”
While there is no evidence that Russia changed the vote tallies or took voters off the registration roles, the Washington Post issued a detailed report about what former President Barack Obama knew about Russian interference and when it was brought to his attention.
The report highlighted how the Obama administration handled the situation, and examined whether or not the administration should have warned the American public immediately. It “was the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” one former official admitted to WaPo. “I feel like we sort of choked.”
Zakaria also asked Warner if it was justified for the Obama administration to withhold knowledge of Russian interference to the American people leading up to the election because of fears that it would seem partisan.
“An earlier warning to the American people would have perhaps put Americans more on guard but again that’s with the value of Monday morning quarterbacking,” Warner replied.
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