US Retaliates Against Russia For “Hacking The Election”: Expels 35 Diplomats, Unveils Sanctions

As promised, in retaliation for “Russian hacking” of the US elections, Obama kicks out 35 Russian diplomats and imposes sanctions

Obama Retaliates Against Russia For Hacking The Election

Obama Retaliates Against Russia For Hacking The Election

As promised (or threatened), the Obama administration has unveiled – via the US Treasury – new sanctions against Russia over election hacking allegations (that as yet have not been supported by any actual evidence). Despite president-elect Trump’s comments that “we ought to get on with our lives,” the sanctions apply to five entities and six individuals, and also including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland  in retaliation for “hacking the election” and in response to a campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Amusingly, one of the entities is Russia’s FSB, aka the Federal Security Service, i.e. the Russian spy service, to the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Which, perhaps, means that previously the US would look the other way when known spies would enter the US.

The move against the diplomats from the Russian embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco is part of a series of actions announced on Thursday to punish Russia for a campaign of intimidation of American diplomats in Moscow and interference in the U.S. election.

The Russian diplomats would have 72 hours to leave the United States, the official said. Access to the two compounds, which are used by Russian officials for intelligence gathering, will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the senior U.S. official added.

“These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice,” the official said .The State Department has long complained that Russian security agents and traffic police have harassed U.S. diplomats in Moscow, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

“By imposing costs on the Russian diplomats in the United States, by denying them access to the two facilities, we hope the Russian government reevaluates its own actions, which have impeded the ability and safety of our own embassy personnel in Russia,” the official said.

As for proof, well just trust Obama, who said that “data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.” And Iraq had WMD, or something….

The outgoing president finally threatens that he will continue to take more sanctions against Russia, without noting in advance just what they will be. He better hurry: Obama has 23 days left as US president.

From RT:

US issues more sanctions on Russia over alleged election hacking

President Barack Obama has issued new sanctions against Russian people and companies that the US government has accused of hacking American institutions ahead of the election.

The Treasury Department announced the new sanctions against five entities and four individuals on Thursday afternoon.

In the executive order, which Obama signed Wednesday night, the president said he was taking “additional steps to deal with the national emergency with respect to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities… in view of the increasing use of such activities to undermine democratic processes or institutions.”

The five institutions are: the Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems, an autonomous noncommercial organization; Federal Security Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti or FSB); Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoe Razedyvatelnoe Upravelenie or GRU); Special Technology Center; and Zorsecurity, formerly known as Esage Lab or Tsor Security.

The four people are Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, the first deputy chief of the GRU; Sergey Gizunov, the deputy chief of the GRU; Igor Korobov, chief of the GRU; and Igor Kostyukov, the first deputy chief of the GRU. The Treasury Department also added two additional people, Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan and Evgeniy Mikhaylovich Bogachev, to the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) “for malicious cyber-enabled activities.”

The US has also expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives, giving them 72 hours to leave the country, in response to harassment of US diplomats in Moscow, the White House announced.

“These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities,” the president warned, adding that the US still has a number of tools in its arsenal that it can use “at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized.”

The administration will also provide a report to Congress “about Russia’s efforts to interfere with our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous elections,” Obama said.

Ahead of that report, the FBI and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center released a joint document on Thursday that outlined the “technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence services” to interfere in the election. That 13-page joint analysis report is called “Grizzly Steppe.”

President-elect Donald Trump spoke to journalists about reports of the impending sanctions outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Wednesday.

“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly,” Trump said. “The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind, the security we need.”

Trump could rescind Obama’s executive order once he is sworn into office on January 20, a move that one senior US official described as inadvisable, Reuters reported.

The president-elect released a statement Thursday evening reiterating that the country needs to “move on to bigger and better things.”

“Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated about the facts of this situation,” Trump continued.

In mid-December, the FBI announced it agreed with the conclusion made by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the CIA that Russia interfered with the 2016 US presidential elections partly in an effort to help Donald Trump win the White House. The US spy agency has reportedly identified those connected to Russia who provided WikiLeaks with hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee and who took other steps aimed at slashing Democrat Hillary Clinton’s chances to win.

“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions,” Obama said Thursday. “These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year.”

“Such activities have consequences,” the president added.

Russia has repeatedly denied any accusations that it interfered with the elections in any way, as has WikiLeaks.

Russia’s Response:

Kremlin: New sanctions underline Obama admin’s ‘unpredictable & aggressive’ foreign policy

The new US sanctions against Russia are another manifestation of the unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy by the Obama administration, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press-secretary, said.

In our point of view such actions of the US current administration are a manifestation of an unpredictable and even aggressive foreign policy,” Peskov told the journalists.

We regret the fact that this decision was taken by the US administration and President Obama personally,” he said.

As it said before, we consider this decision and these sanctions unjustified and illegal under international law,” the presidential spokesman added.

The US restrictions won’t be left unanswered by Moscow, Peskov said, promising “adequate, reciprocal” reaction “that will deliver significant discomfort to the US side in the same areas.”

However, he added that “there’s no need to rush” with the countermeasures against Washington.

“Considering the current transition period in Washington, we still expect that we’ll be able to get rid of such clumsy actions… of behaving like a bull in a china shop, and that we’ll be able to make mutual joint steps to enter on the path of normalization of our bilateral relations,” the spokesman said.

Earlier Thursday, Obama announced a set of countermeasures in response to what he called “the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election.”

Obama has humiliated the American people by his decision, as it has complicated the political transition for the new US government, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

“Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own President. Not by international terrorists, not by enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote.

She also promised “official statements, countermeasures and much more” to come from Moscow on Friday.

Thirty-five Russian diplomats have been expelled from the US, with the president calling them “intelligence operatives” and also announcing the closure of two Russian compounds, in New York and Maryland.

According to Obama, nine Russian entities, including the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) and the FSB (Federal Security Service), have been sanctioned.

Four individual GRU officers and three companies that

The Obama administration and the losing Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, have accused Moscow of being behind cyberattacks that targeted Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, during their campaign.

They said that the whistleblower website WikiLeaks obtained the damaging hacked emails, which dashed Clinton’s chances to win, from Russian intelligence agencies.

The claims were denied by both WikiLeaks and Moscow on numerous occasions, with Peskov earlier calling them “nonsense” in an interview with RT.

* * *

Full statement from President Obama:

Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.

All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions. In October, my Administration publicized our assessment that Russia took actions intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year. Such activities have consequences. Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response.

I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners. Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations. In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information. The State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and is declaring “persona non grata” 35 Russian intelligence operatives. Finally, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are releasing declassified technical information on Russian civilian and military intelligence service cyber activity, to help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities.

These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized. In addition to holding Russia accountable for what it has done, the United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behavior, and interfere with democratic governance. To that end, my Administration will be providing a report to Congress in the coming days about Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous elections.

White House Fact Sheet:

FACT SHEET: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Today, President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016.  Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the U.S. government.  These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Sanctioning Malicious Russian Cyber Activity

In response to the threat to U.S. national security posed by Russian interference in our elections, the President has approved an amendment to Executive Order 13964.  As originally issued in April 2015, this Executive Order created a new, targeted authority for the U.S. government to respond more effectively to the most significant of cyber threats, particularly in situations where malicious cyber actors operate beyond the reach of existing authorities.  The original Executive Order focused on cyber-enabled malicious activities that:

  • Harm or significantly compromise the provision of services by entities in a critical infrastructure sector;
  • Significantly disrupt the availability of a computer or network of computers (for example, through a distributed denial-of-service attack); or
  • Cause a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain (for example, by stealing large quantities of credit card information, trade secrets, or sensitive information).

The increasing use of cyber-enabled means to undermine democratic processes at home and abroad, as exemplified by Russia’s recent activities, has made clear that a tool explicitly targeting attempts to interfere with elections is also warranted.  As such, the President has approved amending Executive Order 13964 to authorize sanctions on those who:

  • Tamper with, alter, or cause a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.

Using this new authority, the President has sanctioned nine entities and individuals:  two Russian intelligence services (the GRU and the FSB); four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.

  • The Main Intelligence Directorate (a.k.a. Glavnoe Razvedyvatel’noe Upravlenie) (a.k.a. GRU) is involved in external collection using human intelligence officers and a variety of technical tools, and is designated for tampering, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with the 2016 U.S. election processes.
  • The Federal Security Service (a.k.a. Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti) (a.k.a FSB) assisted the GRU in conducting the activities described above.
  • The three other entities include the Special Technology Center (a.k.a. STLC, Ltd. Special Technology Center St. Petersburg) assisted the GRU in conducting signals intelligence operations; Zorsecurity (a.k.a. Esage Lab) provided the GRU with technical research and development; and the Autonomous Noncommercial Organization “Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems” (a.k.a. ANO PO KSI) provided specialized training to the GRU.
  • Sanctioned individuals include Igor Valentinovich Korobov, the current Chief of the GRU; Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov, Deputy Chief of the GRU; Igor Olegovich Kostyukov, a First Deputy Chief of the GRU; and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, also a First Deputy Chief of the GRU.

In addition, the Department of the Treasury is designating two Russian individuals, Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan, under a pre-existing portion of the Executive Order for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.

  • Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is designated today for having engaged in significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of financial information for private financial gain.  Bogachev and his cybercriminal associates are responsible for the theft of over $100 million from U.S. financial institutions, Fortune 500 firms, universities, and government agencies.
  • Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan engaged in the significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of personal identifiers for private financial gain.  Belan compromised the computer networks of at least three major United States-based e-commerce companies.

Responding to Russian Harassment of U.S. Personnel

Over the past two years, harassment of our diplomatic personnel in Russia by security personnel and police has increased significantly and gone far beyond international diplomatic norms of behavior.  Other Western Embassies have reported similar concerns.  In response to this harassment, the President has authorized the following actions:

  • Today the State Department declared 35 Russian government officials from the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Russian Consulate in San Francisco “persona non grata.”  They were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status. Those individuals and their families were given 72 hours to leave the United States.
  • In addition to this action, the Department of State has provided notice that as of noon on Friday, December 30, Russian access will be denied to two Russian government-owned compounds, one in Maryland and one in New York.

Raising Awareness About Russian Malicious Cyber Activity

The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation are releasing a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) that contains declassified technical information on Russian civilian and military intelligence services’ malicious cyber activity, to better help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities.

  • The JAR includes information on computers around the world that Russian intelligence services have co-opted without the knowledge of their owners in order to conduct their malicious activity in a way that makes it difficult to trace back to Russia. In some cases, the cybersecurity community was aware of this infrastructure, in other cases, this information is newly declassified by the U.S. government.
  • The report also includes data that enables cybersecurity firms and other network defenders to identify certain malware that the Russian intelligence services use.  Network defenders can use this information to identify and block Russian malware, forcing the Russian intelligence services to re-engineer their malware.  This information is newly de-classified.
  • Finally, the JAR includes information on how Russian intelligence services typically conduct their activities.  This information can help network defenders better identify new tactics or techniques that a malicious actor might deploy or detect and disrupt an ongoing intrusion.

This information will allow network defenders to take specific steps that can often block new activity or disrupt on-going intrusions by Russian intelligence services.  DHS and FBI are encouraging security companies and private sector owners and operators to use this JAR and look back within their network traffic for signs of malicious activity. DHS and FBI are also encouraging security companies and private sector owners and operators to leverage these indicators in proactive defense efforts to block malicious cyber activity before it occurs. DHS has already added these indicators to their Automated Indicator Sharing service.

Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges the United States faces today.  For the last eight years, this Administration has pursued a comprehensive strategy to confront these threats.  And as we have demonstrated by these actions today, we intend to continue to employ the full range of authorities and tools, including diplomatic engagement, trade policy tools, and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter the threat posed by malicious cyber actors, regardless of their country of origin, to protect the national security of the United States.

***

More details from the NYT:

The Obama administration struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, including four top officers of the military intelligence unit the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

In a sweeping set of announcements, the United States was also expected to release evidence linking the cyberattacks to computer systems used by Russian intelligence. Taken together, the actions would amount to the strongest American response ever taken to a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at the United States.

The sanctions were also intended to box in President-elect Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has consistently cast doubt that the Russian government had anything to do with the hacking of the D.N.C. or other political institutions, saying American intelligence agencies could not be trusted and suggesting that the hacking could have been the work of a “400-pound guy” lying in his bed.

Mr. Trump will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions on the Russian intelligence agencies when he takes office next month, with Republicans in Congress among those calling for a public investigation into Russia’s actions. Should Mr. Trump do so, it would require him to effectively reject the findings of his intelligence agencies.

As Bloomberg reports, among those targeted were officials of GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, which cybersecurity experts in the U.S. have linked to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and party officials through a group they have nicknamed APT 28 or Fancy Bear. The U.S. also is sanctioning some Russian state institutions and cyber companies associated with them.

The NYT adds that the Obama administration is also planning to release a detailed “joint analytic report” from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security that is clearly based in part on intelligence gathered by the National Security Agency. A more detailed report on the intelligence, ordered by President Obama, will be published in the next three weeks, though much of the detail — especially evidence collected from “implants” in Russian computer systems, tapped conversations and spies — is expected to remain classified.

In the most amusing twist, even the NYT admits that “despite the fanfare and political repercussions surrounding the announcement, it is not clear how much real effect the sanctions may have.”

And while we are confident Putin is thoroughly amused at this moment by Obama’s last ditch effort to posion US-Russian relations, we eagerly await the Russian response.

From the US Treasury

Issuance of Amended Executive Order 13694; Cyber-Related Sanctions Designations

12/29/2016

Today, the President issued an Executive Order Taking Additional Steps To Address The National Emergency With Respect To Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.  This amends Executive Order 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.”  E.O. 13694 authorized the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities that result in enumerated harms that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.  The authority has been amended to also allow for the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.  Five entities and four individuals are identified in the Annex of the amended Executive Order and will be added to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).  OFAC today is designating an additional two individuals who also will be added to the SDN List.

Specially Designated Nationals List Update


The following individual has been added to OFAC’s SDN List:

  • ALEXSEYEV, Vladimir Stepanovich; DOB 24 Apr 1961; Passport 100115154 (Russia); First Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
  • BELAN, Aleksey Alekseyevich (a.k.a. Abyr Valgov; a.k.a. BELAN, Aleksei; a.k.a. BELAN, Aleksey Alexseyevich; a.k.a. BELAN, Alexsei; a.k.a. BELAN, Alexsey; a.k.a. “Abyrvaig”; a.k.a. “Abyrvalg”; a.k.a. “Anthony Anthony”; a.k.a. “Fedyunya”; a.k.a. “M4G”; a.k.a. “Mag”; a.k.a. “Mage”; a.k.a. “Magg”; a.k.a. “Moy.Yawik”; a.k.a. “Mrmagister”), 21 Karyakina St., Apartment 205, Krasnodar, Russia; DOB 27 Jun 1987; POB Riga, Latvia; nationality Latvia; Passport RU0313455106 (Russia); alt. Passport 0307609477 (Russia) (individual) [CYBER2].
  •  BOGACHEV, Evgeniy Mikhaylovich (a.k.a. BOGACHEV, Evgeniy Mikhailovich; a.k.a. “Lastik”; a.k.a. “lucky12345”; a.k.a. “Monstr”; a.k.a. “Pollingsoon”; a.k.a. “Slavik”), Lermontova Str., 120-101, Anapa, Russia; DOB 28 Oct 1983 (individual) [CYBER2].
  •  GIZUNOV, Sergey (a.k.a. GIZUNOV, Sergey Aleksandrovich); DOB 18 Oct 1956; Passport 4501712967 (Russia); Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
  •  KOROBOV, Igor (a.k.a. KOROBOV, Igor Valentinovich); DOB 03 Aug 1956; nationality Russia; Passport 100119726 (Russia); alt. Passport 100115101 (Russia); Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
  •  KOSTYUKOV, Igor (a.k.a. KOSTYUKOV, Igor Olegovich); DOB 21 Feb 1961; Passport 100130896 (Russia); alt. Passport 100132253 (Russia); First Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).

The following entities have been added to OFAC’s SDN List:

  •  AUTONOMOUS NONCOMMERCIAL ORGANIZATION PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DESIGNERS OF DATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS (a.k.a. ANO PO KSI), Prospekt Mira D 68, Str 1A, Moscow 129110, Russia; Dom 3, Lazurnaya Ulitsa, Solnechnogorskiy Raion, Andreyevka, Moscow Region 141551, Russia; Registration ID 1027739734098 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7702285945 (Russia) [CYBER2].
  •  FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE (a.k.a. FEDERALNAYA SLUZHBA BEZOPASNOSTI; a.k.a. FSB), Ulitsa Kuznetskiy Most, Dom 22, Moscow 107031, Russia; Lubyanskaya Ploschad, Dom 2, Moscow 107031, Russia [CYBER2].
  •  MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE (a.k.a. GLAVNOE RAZVEDYVATEL’NOE UPRAVLENIE (Cyrillic: ??????? ???????????????? ??????????); a.k.a. GRU; a.k.a. MAIN INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT), Khoroshevskoye Shosse 76, Khodinka, Moscow, Russia; Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Frunzenskaya nab., 22/2, Moscow 119160, Russia [CYBER2].

  •  SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER (a.k.a. STC, LTD), Gzhatskaya 21 k2, St. Petersburg, Russia; 21-2 Gzhatskaya Street, St. Petersburg, Russia; Website stc-spb.ru; Email Address stcspb1@mail.ru; Tax ID No. 7802170553 (Russia) [CYBER2].
  • > ZORSECURITY (f.k.a. ESAGE LAB; a.k.a. TSOR SECURITY), Luzhnetskaya Embankment 2/4, Building 17, Office 444, Moscow 119270, Russia; Registration ID 1127746601817 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7704813260 (Russia); alt. Tax ID No. 7704010041 (Russia) [CYBER2].

*  *  *

Additionally:

  • U.S. TO CLOSE TWO RUSSIAN COMPOUNDS IN MARYLAND AND NEW YORK USED FOR INTELLIGENCE-RELATED ACTIVITIES – U.S. OFFICIAL
  • U.S. EXPELS 35 RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS IN WASHINGTON AND SAN FRANCISCO, GIVES THEM 72 HOURS TO LEAVE – U.S. OFFICIAL

Bloomberg reports that The FBI and Homeland Security Department will release a report Thursday with technical evidence intended to prove Russia’s military and civilian intelligence services were behind hacking attacks during this year’s presidential campaign, according to a U.S. official.

The documentation will be offered in tandem with sanctions that the Obama administration announced Thursday in retaliation for the breach of Democratic National Committee e-mails as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were campaigning for the White House. The Russian government, which has denied responsibility for the hacking, has vowed to respond to any new sanctions with unspecified counter-measures.

The joint report will include newly declassified information exposing the internet infrastructure that Russia used in the cyberattacks, including malware and computer addresses, according to the official who asked asked not to be identified before the report is made public.

The release is intended to serve two purposes: to help prove the Russian government carried out the hacking while also frustrating officials in Moscow by exposing some of their most sensitive hacking infrastructure, the official said.

And now we await as Putin retaliates, which he will momentarily, just as promised

Anticipating the sanctions Wednesday, Russia accused Obama of acting out of spite, and pledged retaliation.

“People in the White House need to understand clearly that if Washington really takes new hostile steps, then it will receive a response,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a video statement.

As The New York Times reports,

The sanctions were also intended to box in President-elect Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has consistently cast doubt that the Russian government had anything to do with the hacking of the D.N.C. or other political institutions, saying American intelligence agencies could not be trusted and suggesting that the hacking could have been the work of a “400-pound guy” lying in his bed.

Mr. Trump will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions on the Russian intelligence agencies when he takes office next month, with Republicans in Congress among those calling for a public investigation into Russia’s actions. Should Mr. Trump do so, it would require him to effectively reject the findings of his intelligence agencies.

Obama’s executive order is below.

Some portions of this article originally posted on Zero Hedge

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*