US retaliates Russia for Election hacks

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington D.C.: The Obama administration announced a series of sanctions on Russia on Thursday as a retaliatory action against the country after the US intelligence community had unanimously confirmed that Russia is involved in the election hacks, which allegedly influenced the 2016 US presidential elections.

The administration banished 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence agencies. Further, it has released names of four top officials from Russia’s key intelligence unit known as G.R.U. and penalized them.

The sanctions are unprecedented in terms of their harshness. Earlier in 2014 the US has imposed sanctions on North Korea in the case of Sony hacks, which leaked confidential information from Sony Pictures Entertainment, but those sanctions were mild.

Reacting to these sanctions, President-Elect Donald Trump, who earlier has dismissed the involvement of Russia by saying that the attacker could be China or a 400-pound guy sitting in a bed somewhere, said that it is “time to move on.”But Trump pledged that he would get intelligence briefing on the matter next week.

President Obama has used his executive power in order to lay sanctions on Russia.“All Americans should be alarmed by the Russia’s actions,” he said in a statement earlier from Hawaii. The US has laid sanctions on Russia earlier when the country had occupied Crimea and tried to destabilize Ukraine. The present sanctions are much harsher than the earlier ones.

However, Donald Trump can lift these sanctions as president using the same powers if he decides to do so. He has been criticizing CIA recently and has casted doubts about its findings. He hasn’t conceded yet even after 16 US intelligence agencies unanimously confirmed Russians involvement in the hackings of Democratic National Committee and emails of John Podesta, chairman to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Trump also hasn’t been taking daily briefings from the intelligence and said that he wouldn’t take as president, even as vice president-elect and secretary of the state are taking the briefings daily. No other president in the past had done so. Trump is at odds with majority Republicans who after classified briefings have called for an investigation into the Russian involvement.

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