Clinton Compares Russian Interference in Election to 9/11

Hillary Clinton following her talk at the London Literary Festival at London's Royal Festival Hall on October 15. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has compared Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and her subsequent loss to Donald Trump with the devastation of 9/11.

"We have really well-respected security and intelligence veterans saying this was a kind of cyber 9/11 in the sense that it was a direct attack to American institutions," Clinton said, referring to the terrorist attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"That may sound dramatic but we know they tried to recruit into election systems, not just social media propaganda," she said on Sunday, at a talk streamed live by The Guardian where she presented her book to the Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival.

Clinton added that if she had been elected she would have called for an independent commission "to get to the bottom of it."

For his part, President Donald Trump has yet to explicitly acknowledge Russia's meddling in the election, despite special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into the matter and the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Even Trump's pick for ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman Jr., said at his Senate confirmation hearing there was "no question" Moscow interfered in the U.S. election.

The president has instead referred to it as a "hoax" and, in a recent interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, as an "excuse used by the Democrats" to explain their defeat.

"[Trump] is still trying to please Putin" Clinton said at the London event, held in a 2554-seat auditorium that sold out within two hours of public sale and that greeted the first woman to become the presidential nominee of a major political party with a huge roar, applause and a standing ovation.

Clinton warned the threat to American democracy coming from Russia is not over and that the new cold war will be partially carried out through cyber attacks. "The Russians aren't done, this is an ongoing threat and that is one of the reasons why I wrote the book and one of the reasons I'm talking about it," she said.