“News of apparent Russian interference into the 2016 election has dominated the media and political conversations as Capitol Hill readies itself for a new administration. Did Russia’s hacks flip the election?
Both Democrats and Republicans have decried the cyberattacks over the past year as an affront to the American democratic process, insisting on further probes into Russia’s activities — but there isn’t much public discussion of what should happen next. And with only days left in Obama’s presidency, the next moves are on the Trump administration.
Responding to high-profile cyberattacks on the U.S. political system puts the U.S. in unfamiliar territory where the rules of engagement aren’t quite clear.” MORE
The Obama administration is preparing to announce a series of retaliation measures against Russia for meddling in the US election, according to American officials briefed on the plans.
The actions are expected to include expanded sanctions and diplomatic measures, the officials said, in what the administration deems a proportional response to a Russian operation that went beyond the cyber hacking activities common among nations.
Some of the steps are expected to name individuals associated with a Russian disinformation campaign that US intelligence officials say used hacked information from mostly Democratic Party organizations and officials to attack Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
US officials have also said the federal government plans some unannounced actions taken through covert means at a time of its choosing.
President Barack Obama said evidence of political hacking stopped after he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t” end the cyberintrusions in the United States. Obama said he met with Putin in September on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in China. Obama said he insisted Putin “cut it out.”
The comments came Friday in a wide-ranging year-end news conference.
Obama also said that:
- Naming Russia as the culprit behind the hacking of Democratic emails “requires us not to re-litigate the election, it requires us not to point fingers, it requires us to just say, here’s what happened, let’s be honest about it, and let’s not use it as a political football but let’s figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future.”
- “Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave” over the recent GOP praise of Russia. The President attacked Republicans for siding with an arch-enemy of the United States because of their dislike of Democrats.
- His transitional conversations with President-elect Donald Trump “have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way.” There is no “squabbling” between the incoming and outgoing administrations.
- The Syrian regime, along with Moscow and Tehran, are responsible for the slaughter of civilians in Aleppo. “We have seen a deliberate strategy of surrounding, besieging and starving innocent civilians,” Obama said. “The blood for these atrocities is on their hands.”
- Hillary Clinton was “treated unfairly” in the presidential contest. “I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling.”