On December 15th, 2016 Donald Trump tweeted:

"If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"

Did the Obama Administration wait until after Hillary lost to complain, or did they complain before?

  • 10
    please limit the use of the "donald trump" tag for claims about trump and not by trump
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 16, 2016 at 16:03
  • 8
    The topic of Russia hacking the DNC was brought up in all debates.
    – ventsyv
    Dec 16, 2016 at 16:32
  • 5
    @DJClayworth: The claim you have given is only about the White House, not Democrats as a whole. If, say, Hillary Clinton had "complained" about hacking or otherwise acted upon it prior to the election, that would address the question that is currently in the title but not the original claim.
    – jwodder
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:57
  • 4
    Please clarify whether your question is about Democrats in general or specifically the White House. Trump's quote specifically mentions the White House, not Democrats in general.
    – reirab
    Dec 16, 2016 at 23:04
  • 1
    Democrat here. No.
    – djechlin
    Dec 16, 2016 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


No, according to reporting, they wanted everyone to know about it the hacks well in advance. Republicans wanted it kept quiet.

There were reports and concerns going back to 2015. In September, there was an official finding by the CIA (but not a unified finding by all 17 national security agencies because of disagreements on some of the details) that they were hacking, and hacking to influence a particular result (Trump). The Obama administration was grappling for some time with how to deal with this without appearing to be trying to skew the results, themselves. With the official finding and report, they felt that a unified, bi-partisan approach would be the way to go.

One difference between September and now that would account for the stronger statements, and not just the election result, is that our intelligence agencies have had more time to gather and analyze information.

In September, there were all the leaks of DNC and Clinton-related emails from hacks. They knew one side had been breached, they also knew there were some minor confirmed breaches on the other side, and several thwarted attempts. The GOP claimed the one-sided nature of the leaks was because their information was better secured.

What came out more recently is that intelligence agencies were able to confirm that the GOP was also breached/hacked in a similar manner, and much more information was taken. It's this information - that both sides were compromised, but only one side seems to have had their information leaked, that lead to the greater confidence of malicious, one-sided intent.

NY Times - Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, US Says

In a more recent briefing -

Agency briefers told the senators it was now "quite clear" that electing Trump was Russia's goal, according to officials....

All the Democrats were on board for a joint statement, and a few of the Republicans were. Only a couple Republicans were against, but one of them was Mitch McConnell who said he'd claim partisanship and make a huge political stink if anyone said anything about it. Yes, the same McConnell who now claims it's important to get to the bottom of this.

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (Washington Post)

To sum up - the White House knew about the hacking and wanted to make it known all along, but they also have much more information about intent that they couldn't support previously, so coming out with a stronger statement because they've gathered more proof, over time, can account for the fact that strong statements are being made after the election that weren't, before.

EDIT ALERT - had a typo in my quoted passage. Corrected it to say "NOW 'quite clear'", originally typed as "not 'quite clear'". That's a bit of a difference. Sorry about that.

  • 9
    Could you add some references? Preferably first person statements by government officials. Some second hand reports (attributed to anonymous officials) can be found here: npr.org/2016/12/12/505261053/…
    – ventsyv
    Dec 16, 2016 at 16:24
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    Also, throughout the election, the Clinton campaign was loudly talking about the DNC hacks having come from Russian intelligence. This was brought up during the second and third debates.
    – rougon
    Dec 16, 2016 at 16:48
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    Adding that the matter was raised in the presidential debates would make this an awesome answer. Dec 16, 2016 at 17:19
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    This WAPO article is hardly a reference, they present no sources or evidence, and they have written these kind of articles before (claiming sites like the Ron Paul Institute and others to be platforms for Russian propaganda, which they have now started back-tracking on after legal threats). So, I'm assuming this is fake news until we see some kind of evidence.
    – MetaGuru
    Dec 16, 2016 at 20:16
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    @ioSamurai The Post is reporting on a statement from the US government. If the government had not made that statement it would have refuted it. Dec 16, 2016 at 22:02

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