The Obama administration said it has seen no evidence of hackers tampering with the 2016 presidential election, even as recount proceedings began in Wisconsin.
“We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” a senior administration official told POLITICO late Friday.
“The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day,” the official added. “We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”
Green Party candidate Jill Stein on Friday filed for a recount in Wisconsin and has several days to file for recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two other states whose results she has called into question, citing hacking fears. The three normally Democratically leaning states were crucial to Donald Trump's victory.
Stein’s campaign began fundraising efforts to file for recounts in those states following a report from New York magazine that said prominent cybersecurity experts were urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to contest the results there. The leading voting security specialist from that group later clarified that there was no actual evidence of hackers meddling with the vote tallies, and said they were simply encouraging an audit just to be sure.
On Saturday, the Clinton campaign broke its long silence on the issue with a statement from the campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias.
In a post on Medium, Elias confirmed that independent experts had briefed the campaign on potential irregularities that could be the result of hacking, but he said that ultimately the campaign found no “actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.”
Still, he said, the campaign is joining Stein’s challenge in Wisconsin and will do the same if she requests recounts in the other states.
The senior Obama administration official reiterated the government’s accusation that Russia had directed its hackers to go after U.S. political organizations and political operatives’ email accounts with the goal of interfering in the election.
Moscow, the official said, “probably expected that publicity surrounding” leaked emails and documents “would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect.”
The official had earlier provided the statement to The New York Times.