Barack Obama has finally responded to evidence that Russia interfered with the presidential election with the intent to get Donald Trump in the White House — and he’s not taking their punishment lightly.
On Thursday, the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services — but that’s not all.
The administration also sanctioned four top officers of a military intelligence unit (known as the GRU) the White House believes to have ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee! Wow!
Obama described Russia’s continued efforts to meddle in the presidential race, despite multiple warnings from our government not to, as a threat to the democratic process. He said in a statement:
“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 U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.”
The President also suggested the nation-state may have aimed to affect previous elections through cyber-espionage, and suggested the U.S. would engage in covert retaliation activity.
Obama explained that his administration will soon “be providing a report to Congress in the coming days about Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous elections.”
According to U.S. intelligence agencies, Russia’s effort to infiltrate the U.S. government has been 10 years in the making — which would make their 5-year plan to groom Trump as the next Commander in Chief the ass-end of their overall scheme!
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement accusing Russia of a decade-long cyber campaign targeting American government, infrastructure and citizens in general.
Obama signed an executive order outlining economic penalties for parties involved in “tampering with, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.”
Of the “nine entities and individuals” these sanctions affect, Obama said:
“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.”
While these sanctions did not include Vladimir Putin, Obama strongly suggested the Russian President knew about the hacking activity because “these data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.”
Russia is most likely to respond by kicking out U.S. officials from its country, but the real question lies in if Trump will lift the sanctions after he is inaugurated later this month.
When asked on Wednesday night at his Palm Beach estate about reports of the impending sanctions, the President-elect told The New York Times:
“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind, the security we need.”
Ah, the response you’d expect from your local Verizon Fios cable installer. Trump also said he would start making America great again some time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. next Tuesday. Ha!
We’re not sure what he means by “get on with our lives,” as his life for the next four years will be entirely about responding to and dealing with foreign affairs and threats to our nation’s security.