Obama Administration to Announce Official Response to Russian Election Hacking

The Obama administration is reportedly planning to announce a number of “retaliatory measures” against Russia in response to targeting and hacking US individuals and institutions in its effort to help elect Donald Trump as the next US president.

Reuters has cited sources to report that the Obama administration is planning to reveal actions including targeted economic sanctions, indictments and even leaking information to embarrass Russian officials or oligarchs in response to the alleged Russian hacking of multiple US political Democrat institutions and individuals.

Perhaps more notably, the Obama administration could even impose restrictions on Russian diplomats visiting the United States.

These measures will be discussed before a decision is made as to what the sanctions are.

The decision that has already been made, according to Reuters sources, is to avoid any move to exceed the severity of the Russian election hacking. The call was made to avoid the risk of escalating a cyber conflict that could worsen diplomatic relations. An example of such an excessive move would be to interfere with internet messaging in Russia.

Thus far, the FBI, the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the CIA are all in agreement that Russia was responsible for the hacks of the Democratic Party organizations.

In an interview with NPR earlier this month, President Obama said, “We need to take action and we will”, against Russia for the hacks.

Previous instances of state-sponsored cyber attacks have seen US officials publicly blame North Korea as well as indict members of China’s military for hacking.

To this, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has promised retaliation against Washington if Russia faces new economic sanctions.

For its part, Russia has constantly denied any involvement in any of the hacks involving US political organizations or individuals.

If sanctions are enforced by the Obama administration, it remains to be seen if the upcoming Trump administration could reverse those measures upon taking office.

Image credit: White House.