Thursday, December 29, 2016
Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking
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.
The administration also sanctioned four top officers of one of those services, the military intelligence unit known as the G.R.U., which the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
The expulsion of the 35 diplomats was in response to the harassment of American diplomats in Russia, officials said. None of those officials are believed to be connected to the hacking, they said. In addition, the State Department announced the closing of two “recreational facilities” — one in New York, another in Maryland — that it said were used for Russian intelligence activities, although officials would not say whether they were specifically used in the election-related hacks.
In a sweeping set of announcements, the United States also released samples of malware and other indicators of Russian cyberactivity, including network addresses of computers commonly used by the Russians to launch attacks. Taken together, the actions amount to the strongest American response ever taken to a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at the United States.