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President Obama Issues Sanctions on Russia over US Election Hack

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A few weeks ago news broke of a possible hack of the election held just recently. FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have both reportedly agreed with the CIA’s report that Russian agents hacked the November presidential election and did so to the benefit of the GOP candidate, Donald Trump, as well as to undermine public confidence in the US electoral system.

Related Story: US Elections Hacked? FBI backs CIA’s Claims

The Washington Post cites a message reportedly sent by CIA Director John O. Brennan to his staff that states,

“Earlier this week, I met separately with (Director) FBI James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election.”

An official White House release stated today that, President Barack 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.

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The Sanctions Include 

President Obama 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)
  • 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).

By this the President essentially 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 and put to an immediate halt to Russian Cyber activities in the US.

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