Obama vows re­tal­i­a­tion against ‘Rus­sian hack­ing’

‘We will take ac­tion at a time and place of our own choos­ing’

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON: Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is promis­ing that the US will re­tal­i­ate against Rus­sia for its sus­pected med­dling in Amer­ica’s elec­tion process, an ac­cu­sa­tion the Kremlin has ve­he­mently de­nied.

As the White House grew more bullish about sug­gest­ing Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin was per­son­ally in­volved, Obama said he’d spo­ken di­rectly to Putin about his con­cerns about Rus­sian med­dling. He said when­ever a for­eign gov­ern­ment tries to in­ter­fere in US elec­tions, the na­tion must take ac­tion “and we will at a time and place of our own choos­ing.”

“We have been work­ing hard to make sure that what we do is pro­por­tional, that what we do is mean­ing­ful,” Obama said in an NPR News in­ter­view air­ing yesterday.

Obama’s re­marks were the clear­est in­di­ca­tion that what­ever re­sponse the US is plan­ning, it hasn’t hap­pened yet. The White House has in­sisted for months that when the US did re­tal­i­ate, it might not be made pub­lic, a po­si­tion that has cre­ated un­cer­tainty about the strength and tim­ing of any re­sponse.

Obama was ex­pected to face ques­tions about the hack­ing and his re­sponse dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at the White House yesterday af­ter­noon. White House of­fi­cials said it was “fact” that Rus­sian hack­ing helped Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign against Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton. White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest on Thurs­day also as­sailed Trump him­self over his re­fusal to ac­knowl­edge the hack­ing and his at­tacks on the US in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

The tough talk from the White House fell flat in Moscow, where Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the ac­cu­sa­tions base­less and in­ap­pro­pri­ate. “They should ei­ther stop talk­ing about that, or pro­duce some proof at last,” Peskov told re­porters yesterday. “Oth­er­wise it all be­gins to look un­seemly.”

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