Obama orders sanctions against Russia, expels operatives, in response to hacking

The Obama administration announced sanctions Thursday against Russia’s intelligence services, while ejecting dozens of intelligence operatives from the U.S., as part of a response to what it says are efforts by Moscow to influence the 2016 election.

Using an executive order, Obama sanctioned the GRU and the FSB — two of Russia’s intelligence services as well as other entities and individuals associated with the GRU. The cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack of its emails earlier this year the hacking came from the Fancy Bear group, believed to be affiliated with the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

There was no immediate response from the Russian government.

In addition to the sanctions, the State Department has declared 35 Russian intelligence operatives “persona non grata” in the U.S., and is shutting down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.

The Treasury Secretary meanwhile has named two individuals it says were involved in “using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.”

putinvobama_small-2 Obama orders sanctions against Russia, expels operatives, in response to hacking World News

“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,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama also announced that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI will release declassified information on Russian cyberactivity to help “identify, detect and Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities.”

Obama also said that the administration will be providing a report to Congress “in the coming days” about Russian attempts to interfere in the election, as well as previous election cycles.

The president also hinted that his administration to do more to hold Russia accountable.

“These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities,” Obama said. “We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized.” 

U.S. intelligence services have concluded that the Russians interfered in the election to try and help President-elect Donald Trump win. Trump has dismissed the conclusions.

However, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. welcomed the move in a statement.

“Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world. While today’s action by the administration is overdue, it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia,” Ryan said. 

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  • Rickie Rhinurack

    Why would Obama make such an impactful decision right before he is about to leave, the Russia-blaming is about to die down, and Trump is to be inaugurated? Think about it. Next they’ll be saying the only way to stop sanctions is to invalidate the election, and you know where it goes from there…