US expels 35 Russian intel agents over vote hacking

US expels 35 Russian diplomats, blacklists 9 Russian entities, individuals as it sanctions Russia over the voting scandal

US expels 35 Russian intel agents over vote hacking

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. on Thursday applied wide-ranging penalties on Russia for its alleged role in hacking related to this year's presidential race. 

A set of sanctions target nine entities and individuals, including Russia's main intelligence directorate, the GRU, and its Federal Security Service, the FSB. 

President Barack Obama said in a statement the move follow "repeated private and public warnings" to Russia, "and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.

"All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions," he said, likely referring to his forthcoming successor, Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia is culpable for a series of hacks targeting the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee in the race, Hillary Clinton. 

The Obama administration publicly announced in October it had assessed that Russia was responsible for the attacks.

For its part, the Russian government has adamantly denied the charges.

In addition to the blacklistings, the State Department is expelling 35 Russian diplomats and shuttering two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, which were being "used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes", Obama said.

The actions were being taken in retaliation for "a pattern of harassment of our diplomats overseas that has increased over the last four years, including a significant increase in the last 12 months," State Department Mark Toner said. 

Those actions have "involved arbitrary police stops, physical assault, and the broadcast on State TV of personal details about our personnel that put them at risk," he said. 

Obama stressed in his statement that the moved announced Thursday "are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities.

"We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized," he said. 

The Obama administration has long maintained that some of its responses to Russia's alleged cyberattacks would not be publicly disclosed.

Obama has ordered a review of Russia's actions going back to the 2008 presidental election, and said that the results of the investigation would be reported to Congress "in the coming days". 

 

Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2016, 23:56
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