Obama: Washington Will Retaliate against Moscow over Election Meddling

Obama: Washington Will Retaliate against Moscow over Election Meddling
Fri Dec 16, 2016 22:46:03

US President Barack Obama has vowed to retaliate against Russia for its alleged meddling in America's election process, dramatically upping the ante in a dispute between US and Russia.

Obama made the pronouncement during an interview on US National Public Radio (NPR), broadcast on Friday morning, after the White House accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of direct involvement in cyber attacks designed to influence the last month’s US presidential election.

"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action," Obama told NPR. "And we will, at a time and place of our own choosing."

“Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be," he stated.

Obama’s remarks came after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday that based on the views of US intelligence officials, it was "pretty obvious" that Putin was directly involved in the hacking operation aimed at meddling in the November election.

Asked if Washington believes Moscow successfully rigged the US election, Earnest said there were a "variety of potential explanations, and that's more of a question for analysts of politics than it is for analysts of intelligence."

The White House press secretary censured the suspected act by the Russian administration, arguing that the cyber attacks undermined America's democratic system and favored President-elect Donald Trump in edging out his rival, Hillary Clinton.

"I don't think anybody at the White House thinks it's funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber activity to destabilize our democracy. That's not a joke," Earnest said.

"Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity that was helping him and hurting Secretary Clinton's campaign," he noted.

In response to Earnest’s comments, the billionaire businessman vehemently rejected a reported assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that Russia had paved the way for his election victory and blasted the report as "ridiculous.”

Trump said in a tweet that, "If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”

The assessment by the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Moscow was involved has been accepted throughout the US government and by top Republican Senators.

The outgoing president has repeatedly said both the Democratic and Republican National Committees were well aware of the hacking and the Russian threat before the election Day.

Moscow has time and again denied any interference in the presidential election, calling the allegations absurd and an attempt to distract US voters from pressing domestic issues.

In 2011, Clinton – then US secretary of state – publicly challenged the integrity of the Russian parliamentary elections, and reportedly attempted to incite street protests against the government of Putin. The American officials claimed that the Russian leader has never forgiven Clinton over these anti-Russian moves.

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