US vows ‘pro­por­tional’ re­sponse to Rus­sian hack­ing

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


The United States will give a mea­sured re­sponse to what it be­lieves to be Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the US elec­tion process, in­clud­ing the hack­ing of Demo­cratic Party com­put­ers, a White House spokesman said yes­ter­day.

“We ob­vi­ously will en­sure that our re­sponse is pro­por­tional,” spokesman Josh Earnest told re­porters trav­el­ing with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Air Force One. “It is un­likely that our re­sponse would be an­nounced in ad­vance,” he added. The warn­ing to Rus­sia came four weeks be­fore the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion to pick a suc­ces­sor to the Demo­cratic pres­i­dent. Last Friday, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for­mally ac­cused the Rus­sian govern­ment of try­ing to “in­ter­fere” with the Amer­i­can elec­tion, and vowed to re­spond at an undis­closed time and place. The as­ser­tion against Rus­sia came with re­la­tions al­ready frayed over NATO de­fenses and stalled ef­forts to end the bloody civil war in Syria. Earnest high­lighted the United States’ ca­pac­ity for re­spond­ing to cy­ber at­tacks.

“The pres­i­dent has talked be­fore about the sig­nif­i­cant ca­pa­bil­i­ties that the US govern­ment has to both de­fend our sys­tems in the United States but also carry out of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions in other coun­tries,” he said. The US state­ment, is­sued Friday, said the Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity “is con­fi­dent that the Rus­sian govern­ment di­rected the re­cent com­pro­mises of emails from US per­sons and in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing from US po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

It also said the dis­clo­sures of al­legedly hacked emails on Wik­iLeaks and other web­sites and by the on­line per­sona “Guc­cifer 2.0” were “con­sis­tent with the meth­ods and mo­ti­va­tions of Rus­siandi­rected ef­forts.” Hil­lary Clin­ton, the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, has ac­cused Rus­sia of try­ing to tilt the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Re­pub­li­can ri­val Don­ald Trump’s fa­vor through a se­ries of email hacks.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ap­peared pru­dent about the way it re­sponds to hack­ing and com­puter at­tacks, seek­ing to avoid an es­ca­lat­ing cy­ber war. The line some­times is dif­fi­cult to draw be­tween tra­di­tional es­pi­onage­which the United States also prac­tices, and must thus tol­er­ate-and full-blown cy­ber as­saults.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­peat­edly de­clared its right to re­spond with all the means at its dis­posal, and not only through tech­nol­ogy mea­sures. Af­ter North Korea hacked Sony Pic­tures in 2014, Obama re­sponded with eco­nomic sanc­tions against the regime. —AFP

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