Obama retaliates against Russia for interfering in US elections

US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russian intelligence agencies and operatives in response to alleged interference in the 2016 US elections. 

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has implemented a set of retaliatory measures against Russia for its alleged hacking operation and interference in the 2016 US presidential election process.

“I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners,” Obama said in a statement on Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii.  

Using his executive order, Obama imposed sanctions against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Intelligence Agency (GRU) as well as against any individuals and entities working with either of the two intelligence agencies.

“Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals:  the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations,” continued Obama.  

“In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.”

The president also ordered the closure of two Russian compounds that were reportedly used for intelligence-gathering operations and for 35 Russian intelligence operatives to leave the United States within 72 hours.

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“The State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and is declaring ‘persona non grata’ 35 Russian intelligence operatives,” Obama said.  

He defended the new measures as reactive in nature to alleged violations of international norms on Russia’s part, saying, “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 US interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.” 

“In addition to holding Russia accountable for what it has done, the United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behavior, and interfere with democratic governance,” Obama added.

US Interference in Israeli Elections

Russia, which vehemently denies any involvement in the 2016 presidential election, was accused of conducting a hacking operation for Wikileaks, which exposed a number of e-mails belonging to Democratic National Committee officials. Democratic pundits have claimed that this alleged hacking operation by Russia sufficiently swayed the US election in favor of President-elect Donald J. Trump.

In July of this year, a US Senate inquiry found that approximately $350,000 of a grant provided by President Obama’s State Department to the OneVoice Movement NGO was used by the V15 campaign in Israel, which worked to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2015 elections. Jeremy Bird, the main architect of Obama’s grassroots and online efforts during his presidential campaigns, worked as a consultant for the V15 campaign during the 2015 campaign season.

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By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News