Former President Barack Obama’s handling of Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election has come under repeated criticism — and now his own former national security adviser has gone on the record to say the former president should have done more.
In an interview with Politico, former National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon said that there’s “no doubt” that Obama should have been more aggressive in countering Russia’s attempts to influence the election.
Specifically, Donilon said that Obama should have been “pushing back harder and publicly” on the Russian government, whom American intelligence agencies claim stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and then leaked them to WikiLeaks.
Donilon said that Obama was reluctant to hit back too hard against Russia — despite the fact that Russia was “attacking a fundamental element of our democracy” — because he worried that Republicans would accuse him of using national security apparatus for partisan gain.
Donilon is the first top Obama administration official to go public with his criticism of Obama’s handling of the Russian hacks, although one anonymous former official told the Washington Post that he felt as though the administration had “choked” in responding to the attacks.