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Susan Rice Says The Press Should Have Focused More On Russian Hacking

"The fact that they did not focus on this issue to the extent that we thought they would and they should is something that I think the press needs to do some introspection about," she tells the hosts of BuzzFeed's Another Round podcast.

Posted on December 28, 2016, at 8:46 a.m. ET

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

National Security Advisor Susan Rice

President Barack Obama's national security advisor Susan Rice criticized the press for the way it covered the 2016 presidential campaign and said the media "needs to do some introspection."

Rice, who made the comments during an interview with BuzzFeed's Another Round podcast, said the press should have given more coverage to "an unprecedented statement" on Oct. 7 from the US intelligence community saying it strongly believed the Russian government was behind hacks aimed at influencing the election.

"I do think that the fact that the press found it more interesting at the time to report on Secretary Clinton's emails or President-elect Trump's, you know, videotaped comments about women, or a large number of other issues, is in retrospect probably a missed opportunity," said Rice said.

"The fact that they did not focus on this issue to the extent that we thought they would and they should is something that I think the press needs to do some introspection about," she added.

Rice said she was frustrated that reporters focused on the contents of hacked emails, rather than the hacking itself.

"For the press not to give it the sustained attention that it deserved, and meanwhile continue to give great attention to the product of these hackings, I think is something that we all need to be concerned about and look back on and ask ourselves what we can learn from that," Rice said.

Rice, who has served in the White House as national security advisor since 2013, said she's also concerned about the rise of fake news, which "is gaining a degree of currency without criticism that is dangerous."

"People are consuming the news that is comfortable for them, not necessarily the news that is real or that they need to know," she said.

Rice said that despite the hacking, she believes "the mechanics of the election" were unaffected. "What's harder to measure is the extent to which it affected people's perceptions and judgements," she said. "But it should not be a casual consideration that a foreign government, particularly a largely adversarial government, attempted to have an influence."

Rice wouldn't comment on whether she thinks President-elect Donald Trump is equipped to deal with Russian interference. She did say the US needs to be "a much more cohesive, resilient, unified body politic to withstand the kinds of challenges that are coming at us from all kinds of international actors."

Asked how the US might retaliate toward Russia, as Obama has indicated it will do, Rice said: "We will respond in an appropriate manner at a time and a place of our choosing."

"We're going to respond appropriately, and just because something doesn't go bang doesn't mean that we haven't done what needs to be done."

Listen to the full Another Round episode here, and subscribe on iTunes for more.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.