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WASHINGTON D.C. — The White House on Thursday announced sanctions against Russia in retaliation for their hacking of the 2016 Presidential Elections, according to the New York Times.
As part of the sanctions, 35 Russian intelligence operatives were ejected from the US. In addition, sanctions were imposed on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, including four top intelligence officers, who the White House believes ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
The sanctions, in addition to punishing Russia for hacking into the DNC, also boxed in President-Elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly cast public doubt on the findings that it was Russia behind the hacks. He now faces a decision as to if he will overturn the sanctions when he takes office next month, which would be him effectively rejecting the findings of the intelligence community.
The White House will also release a detailed report from the FBI, with intelligence from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, which will be released in parts within the next three weeks.
President Obama released a statement about the sanctions, saying “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.”
This is a breaking story, we will update with the latest information as it becomes available.