Obama promises action against Russian hacking

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 10. On Thursday, Obama told National Public Radio in an interview that the United States will retaliate against Russia for cyberatacks involving the 2016 presidential election. They talked for 90 minutes on a range of issues as the power transition starts. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) — President Barack Obama promised retaliation against Russia for its involvement in November’s presidential election.

In an interview Thursday to be broadcast Friday by National Public Radio, Obama said, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will at a time and place of our own choosing.” Of potential responses, Obama added, “Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be.”

Hackers employed by Russia invaded the Democratic National Committee’s computer network and the private email accounts of John Podesta, adviser to Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, intelligence officials in the CIA and the FBI concluded. In the interview, though, Obama did not comment on the CIA’s conclusion that the Russia effort was designed to help elect Republican Party candidate and President-elect, Donald Trump.

“There are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the agencies, and so when I receive a final report, you know, we’ll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations. But that does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately, that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign. There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC.”

Obama’s comments suggest he intends, in the final weeks of his presidency, to retaliate against Russia, CNN said. He and Russian President Vladimir Putin conferred about cybersecurity at September’s G20 summit in China, and officials have said Obama used the opportunity to tell Putin of potential responses.


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