Obama Authorized Cyberstrikes Against Russia Through Secret Program That Continues Under Trump

General view of Angra Nuclear power plant in Angra dos Reis Brazil Wednesday Aug. 31 2011

John McCainJohn McCainFrustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response Coats: Trump seemed obsessed with Russia probe The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Ariz.), who supports tougher sanctions Russia, said in a statement Friday that the administration "abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression" and "failed to impose any meaningful costs on Russia".

The compounds, which had been used for decades as retreats for Russian diplomats, were shut down by the Obama administration as part of a package of punitive measures in response to Russia's meddling in the election.

The Obama administration announced on October 7 that the theft and release of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails was part of a widespread campaign "intended to interfere with the US election process".

A legal review of the cyberweapons, developed by the NSA, determined their use would be a "proportional" response (as required under worldwide law) to a variety of scenarios involving Russian cyberattacks targeting, for instance, the next presidential election or the United States power grid.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that the US move wasn't constructive and warned of possible retaliation.

According to the Washington Post, the CIA told four members of the Obama administration as far back as August 2016 they had intelligence that suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin had plans to "defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump".

US says it shot down Iranian-made drone in Syria
That incident followed two others involving U.S. fire against pro-regime forces on the ground as they came close to the garrison. You are not just fighting Bashar al-Assad", Murphy said. "And we have to understand what we're getting involved in, right".

But eventually, some time after Trump's stunning election win, Obama settled on "a modest package" combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russian Federation for other issues with economic sanctions "so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic". Without any response from the White house, Russian Federation continued its hacking campaign. There were also concerns that any action would be interpreted as politically motivated on behalf of Obama's fellow Democrat, potentially fuelling Trump's repeated claims that the election would be rigged.

Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley of OR asserted that Obama had no good options leading up to the election. "If we weren't upset about it, we have no right to complain in the future".

"It is that hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend", said another former Obama administration official.

Obama and many of his senior advisors have publicly defended their handling of the investigation. "But I think that was a mistake because if voters don't trust the integrity of the electoral system, we've got nothing left".

Tony Blinken, Obama's former deputy national security adviser, said Friday that the administration took significant action to prevent Russian Federation from interfering with the electoral system itself.

A former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russian Federation said: "It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend, I feel like we sort of choked".

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