The administration of US President Barack Obama is set to announce measures created to retaliate against what Washington considers Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which gave NY billionaire Donald Trump control of the White House, a report says.
On Dec. 15, President Obama voted to take punitive action against Russian Federation for its alleged tampering in the election, telling NPR that his administration would take action "at a time and place of our own choosing".
The Washington Post cited officials as saying the steps set to be announced as early as this week include economic sanctions, diplomatic censure and covert action - likely including cyber operations.
The U.S. Intelligence community has accused the Putin government of hacking and distributing data from both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the email of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.
Intelligence officials believed Russian Federation was involved in the hacking of Democratic servers last summer. Two months earlier, White House press secretary Josh Earnest had told reporters at a campaign stop in North Carolina that the US was considering a "proportional" response to Russian Federation.
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"Let the new Congress and the new president deal with Russian Federation, pass new sanctions, much tougher than the ones we already have", Sen.
However, officials concluded that the order did not give the president authority to respond to Russian meddling in American elections, prompting a last-ditch effort within the administration to expand the president's authority on the matter.
Obama issued the executive order in April 2015, which allows the government to freeze the assets in the U.S. of people overseas who have engaged in cyber-acts that have threatened United States financial stability or national security. The US could use the order against Moscow by declaring the electoral systems as part of the "critical infrastructure" of the US.
How to respond to the growing problem of cyber attacks carried out or sponsored by foreign powers has bedeviled Obama, whose eight years in office witnessed a torrent of major hacks against the US government and private organizations that were attributed to China, North Korea, Iran and Russian Federation.