Senators Call for Investigation into Russia’s Cyber Influence on U.S. Election

Media Division | December 21, 2016

Due to the recent suspicions of Russian hackers influencing the presidential election, a collaboration has been called for between Republicans and Democrats to form an investigative panel to look into this matter.  The allegations toward Russia are in regard to the hacking of Democratic emails during the presidential campaign which caused significant turmoil.  While the alleged Russian influence will be the focus of the panel, it is also being requested for the overall investigation of foreign cyber attacks.

Several senators have stated their support in creating such an investigative committee.  Both Republican John McCain and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer stated separately that a select committee was needed to ensure focus upon this matter.   Schumer emphasized the seriousness of the hacking and influencing of our political system, and he also stated that the committee should look into other country sourced hacking, which included Iran and China.  The senators sent a letter requesting this select panel to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina both also signed the letter in support.

McConnell has stated that he will support investigative efforts into the possible Russian influence.  A spokesperson from his office also stated that he would review the letter from the senators.  Though, no official adjudication upon the forming of the panel has been made, McConnell may face criticism if he were to turn it down.  This is due to the fact that it may appear he is avoiding a significantly important issue.

The Value of a Dedicated Investigative Panel

The benefits of a committee like this would be many.  The senators stated that a dedicated panel like this would allow there to be a focused investigation while circumventing jurisdictional overlap.  Jurisdictional overlap would occur if there were several panels conducting their own separate investigations into the matter.  According to the New York Times, the senators stated in the letter, “Cybersecurity is the ultimate cross-jurisdictional challenge, and we must take a comprehensive approach to meet this challenge effectively.”

The issue has angered President-elect Trump, as he states that he won the vote fairly.  While this very well may be the case, the matter nonetheless needs to be reviewed as a possible national security issue.  Accusations of influencing the United States election have been denied by Russian officials.  There have also been accusations of a collusion between Trump party members and Russia, though there is currently no concrete evidence to support these claims.  Though, in regard to the alleged hacking from Russia, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had tried to influence the election through breaches of different parties.

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