Obama Administration Issues Sanctions against Russia for Election Hacking

Thursday, President Obama announced that his administration is taking the extraordinary measure of imposing sanctions against Russia. President Obama explained that Russia had created “malicious cyber-related activities” and that the actions by Russia constituted a “national emergency” aimed at undermining “democratic processes.”

The administration’s statement said that, “Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government.” Continuing the administrations stated that, “These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The sanctions include nine entities and individuals linked to Russia’s largest foreign intelligence agency, GRU, and Russia’s primary security agency, FSB. Four individual, high-ranking officers of the GRU were also sanctioned, as were three companies provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations. Obama also ordered that also ordered the State Department to eject 35 Russian diplomats from the embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, with the instruction that they and their families have 72 hours to leave the United States for acting in a “manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status.”

Obama’s executive order included the sanctions of 4 individuals, Igor Valentinovich Korobov, the chief of a military intelligence agency known as the G.R.U., and three of his deputy chiefs — Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov, Igor Olegovich Kostyukov, and Vladimir Stepanovich Alekseyev. The sanctions also involved three companies and organizations including, Special Technologies Center in St. Petersburg, a firm known as either Zor Security or Esage Lab, and a group that provided specialized training for hackers known as the “Autonomous Non-commercial Organization Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems.” It is believed that these companies had direct knowledge of the computer hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

Donald Trump responds to sanctions
President Elect Donald Trump on Wednesday, continued to defend Russia and the attack the intelligence community about the results they found while investigating the computer infiltration that compromised the Democratic National Committee. Trump stated that, “I think we ought to get on with our lives.” Trump also stated that “the whole age of computers has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.”

For others who represent the Republican Party the intelligence community got this right. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, stated that the sanctions were “overdue” and “appropriate.” Ryan issued a statement that is at odds with Trump. The statement issued commented that “Russia does not share American interests. “In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability throughout 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.”

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