The White House is preparing to announce diplomatic censure and economic sanctions against Russia as punishment for its alleged interference in the 2016 election, reports the Washington Post.
That information comes from unnamed government officials who spoke with the media outlet.
According to those individuals, the Obama administration is assessing the allowances and limitations set forth in the 2015 executive order regarding cyber attacks against the United States.
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Election interference is not specifically stated as an activity that warrants punishment, but it appears there are possible paths for further action.
One is to amend the order.
Another involves the more challenging task of classifying Russia's act as damage to "critical infrastructure or the theft of commercial secrets."
In regards to that option, a senior official said to the Post, "You would (a) have to be able to say that the actual electoral infrastructure, such as state databases, was critical infrastructure, and (b) that what the Russians did actually harmed it. Those are two high bars."
CBS News reports that in his final year-end press conference, which was held on December 16, President Obama addressed the importance of ensuring that Russia be held accountable for its actions in a way that prevents future cyber attacks.
He also noted, "My hope is that the president-elect is going to be similarly concerned that we aren't going to have foreign interference in our election process."
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