At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the US election were increasingly apparent.
"It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack", said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly - and often tauntingly - denied that his government interfered in the 2016 USA presidential race.
Putin had given specific instructions, the Central Intelligence Agency report added, aimed at defeating or at least damaging Clinton and boosting Trump. "I feel like we sort of choked".More news: Liberal Steve Thomson BC's new Speaker in likely short-lived government
They included "cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could "crater" the Russian economy", the Post reported.
The implants, developed by the National Security Agency (NSA), are created to hit Russian networks deemed "important to the adversary and that would cause them pain and discomfort if they were disrupted", a former U.S. official told the Post.
But it was not until January that it issued a separate declassified intelligence report that assessed Moscow was attempting to tip the election in t Trump's favor - and only in December did Obama approve a modest package of retaliatory sanctions and expel a compound of Russian diplomats. Another measure, the planting of cyberweapons in Russia's infrastructure, was still in the planning stages when Obama left office.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that the US move wasn't constructive and warned of possible retaliation.
US President Donald Trump has consistently called allegations of Russian hacking "fake news". And on July 22, almost 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.More news: Mourinho accused of 3.3mn euro tax fraud in Spain
Johnson defended the White House's response, arguing the administration repeatedly banged the drum on election cybersecurity throughout the summer and fall but was appropriately leery of undermining trust in the integrity of the election.
"We weren't able to put all of those pieces together in real time", former White House deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told WaPo. "Importantly, we did that".
Elsewhere, the Post described how Obama's team regretted his "modest" response to the Russian Federation allegations, including confronting Putin to tell him "we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else", during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China.
"It's also important to establish what happened and what they attempted to do, so as to ensure that we take the steps necessary to stop it from happening again".
Said Michael McFaul, the USA ambassador to Russian Federation from 2012 to 2014: "The punishment did not fit the crime".More news: Cosby trial accuser thanks supporters for love, kindness