Attorney General Jeff Sessions has established a cyber task force to evaluate and study efforts to interfere with U.S. elections, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday,
The so-called “Cyber-Digital Task Force” will evaluate how DOJ is fighting cyber threats and how it could do so better.
Sessions said the task force will prioritize research on efforts to interfere with U.S. elections and also study attempts to hack into infrastructure, violent propaganda, and corporate theft.
The group will issue a report by the end of June.
The announcement comes days after special counsel Robert Mueller’s office charged more than a dozen Russian nationals with an elaborate plot to sow political discord and disrupt the 2016 election through false or misleading online activity.
A federal grand jury indicted 13 Russians and three Kremlin-linked companies, and charged them with a years-long multi-million dollar effort to meddle in the U.S. election and help President Trump win the White House.
The U.S. intelligence community announced its assessment regarding the Russian campaign to influence the election in a report more than a year ago.
Intelligence leaders recently warned about Russia’s intentions to interfere in the 2018 elections.
Despite the dire warnings from officials, Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia’s role in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails and other efforts to influence the U.S. election.
He falsely claimed in an early Sunday morning Twitter post that he never rejected the notion that Russia interfered.
“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,’” Trump wrote. “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia — it never did!”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the President’s stance on Russia’s cyber attacks.
“He’s angered that anybody would meddle in our system,” she said at Tuesday’s press briefing. “Again, it’s important to remember that we are looking forward to figuring out the best ways to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.”