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Thread: Yawn! Obama sworn in

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    What a loser!

    Obama announces sanctions for Russian election hacking

    Posted Dec 29, 2016 by Kate Conger (@kateconger)

    Next Story

    The Obama administration announced today that it will impose sanctions on Russian intelligence services and officials in response to the hacks of American political institutions during the election season.

    The sanctions cover nine individuals and organizations in Russia, and will prevent four officials from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, from traveling to the U.S. or keeping assets here. But the sanctions may not have a significant impact, the New York Times reports, since GRU officials do not often visit the U.S. Thirty-five Russian intelligence operatives will also be forced to leave the U.S.

    Three companies were also singled out in the announcement of the sanctions: the Special Technologies Center, Zor Security, and a group called the “Autonomous Non-commercial Organization Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems” that reportedly provided training to hackers.

    “I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations. In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information,” President Obama said in a statement. “The State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and is declaring ‘persona non grata’ 35 Russian intelligence operatives.”

    Obama expanded an executive order issued after the Sony hacks in order to sanction the officials and agencies, adding language that allows sanctions for undermining the election process. Hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager during the election season led to leaks that damaged the campaign.

    President-elect Donald Trump will have the power to alter the sanctions once he takes office, and it’s unclear whether the sanctions will stick under his administration. Trump, who has repeatedly dismissed intelligence community reports that Russia tampered with the U.S. election process, told reporters last night that he didn’t believe the sanctions are necessary.

    “I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind, the security we need,” Trump said.

    In addition to the sanctions, the Obama administration has also suggested that it will take retaliatory action in secret. His administration has been criticized for responding to Russian hacking too slowly, a charge that Obama rejected during a recent press conference.

    “These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized,” Obama said in his statement, adding that his administration will report to Congress about Russia’s interference during this election season, as well as other hacking attempts on previous elections.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security issued a brief overview of the hacks of the DNC and published a list of IP addressed believed to be associated with the attacks.



  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    And the Russian reactions really made him look like a fool. So pathetic.

    ‘RIP’: Medvedev says Obama’s policies towards Russia, initially promising, end in agony

    Published time: 30 Dec, 2016 13:11Edited time: 30 Dec, 2016 13:28

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev © Ekaterina Shtukina / Sputnik

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed his disappointment over US President Barack Obama’s decision to introduce restrictions against Russian diplomats, as a reply to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election.

    It is sad that the Obama administration, which started its life with restoring cooperation, ends it in anti-Russian agony. RIP.” Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his Twitter page on Friday.

    Печально, что администрация Обамы, которая начинала свою жизнь с восстановления сотрудничества, заканчивает ее антироссийской агонией. RIP
    — Дмитрий Медведев (@MedvedevRussia) 30 декабря 2016 г.

    The comment came on Thursday after the Obama administration announced that it was introducing new sanctions against Russian diplomats, officials, and organizations as a reply to what it described as “malicious cyber-enabled activities” allegedly orchestrated by the Russian government.

    The head of the Upper House Committee for International Relations, Senator Konstantin Kosachev, has also described the latest US move as “agony.”

    Read more

    Obama’s sanctions ‘gesture of despair, poisoned gift’ for Trump admin – Russian senator

    The departing President Obama is betting on the US’ reputation as a civilized country that guarantees succession in its policies when the highest officials are replaced. This is the kind of agony not even experienced by lame ducks, but by political corpses,” Kosachev said in comments with TASS.

    He also noted that when Russia introduces reciprocal measures, it should consider that they would come into force under a different administration that might cancel Obama’s unfriendly policies.

    Last edited by pywong; 2nd January 2017 at 03:30 PM.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Happy New Year, America! The Message of Putin's Response to New US Sanctions

    Read more:

    15:26 31.12.2016Get short URL

    Topic: US Sanctions Russia Over Alleged Interference in Election (32) 307959760 After the US decided to expel 35 Russian diplomatic personnel from the country, a symmetric response was expected from the Russian government. However, President Vladimir Putin ruled out any tit-for-tat expulsion of American diplomats. Before the new sanctions were officially announced by the United States, certain media outlets published leaks on the issue. It was expected that restrictions would be particularly aimed against Russian security and intelligence services. But it was not expected that the United States would resort to expelling Russian diplomats.

    On December 29, outgoing US President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closing of two Russian diplomatic compounds and new sanctions against six Russian individuals and five entities, including the GRU (the Main Intelligence Directorate) and FSB (the Federal Security Service), over Moscow's alleged interference in the November US presidential election, which the Kremlin has denied.

    In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed to expel from Russia 31 personnel of the US Embassy in Moscow and four personnel of the US General Consulate in St. Petersburg.

    However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not expel anyone as a response to US sanctions against Moscow over alleged hacking. "Reserving the right to retaliate, we will not resort to the level of irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy and further steps toward the restoration of Russian-US relations will be built on the basis of the policy carried out by the administration of President Donald Trump," the president said.

    Putin added that Moscow will determine further steps in restoring ties with the US depending by the policies of President-elect Donald Trump.

    Putin also sent New Year greetings to the people of the United States and Donald Trump. "I congratulate both the president-elect, Donald Trump, and the entire US nation! I wish you to be well and prosper," the Russian leader was quoted as saying by the Kremlin press office. The Russian president also extended greetings to Obama and his family, but added he regretted his decision to expel Russian diplomats. 'Amazing Move' In turn, Donald Trump praised the decision by President Vladimir Putin not to expel US diplomats from Russia in response to Obama’s sanctions. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!" the US president-elect wrote on his Twitter account. Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 30 декабря 2016 г. ​Putin’s unexpected response was also discussed by mainstream media outlets.

    For example, an article in The New York Times read: "Mr. Putin has a flair for smart, unexpected tactics, and his announcement on Friday appeared to be in keeping with that. To some observers, the sudden shift seemed carefully stage-managed, a way of building up suspense before Mr. Putin’s surprise announcement, helping portray him as a wise leader above the fray."

    "Putin's decision was the culmination of a hectic 18 hours in US-Russia relations," a report by CNN noted. CNN’s former Moscow bureau chief and Russia analyst Jill Dougherty said called Putin’s move "amazing." "It's an amazing move and it's classic Putin, I would have to say – he's a master of doing things that are unexpected, and this is truly unexpected," Dougherty was quoted as saying by CNN. The analyst added that Putin’s response was an "enormous insult" to Obama. "Putin’s move confirmed that Moscow is pinning its hopes on President-elect Donald Trump to help rebuild ties – which have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War – when he takes office next month," an article in The Guardian read. Acting 'Beyond Ethical Standards' The history of the Cold War contains a number of examples of intelligence personnel working legally or illegally in embassies around the world.

    Sometimes, the line between diplomacy and intelligence is very thin. Diplomats and intelligence personnel have certain common functions, including protecting national interests, collecting information and establishing contacts.

    Usually, if the government of a country wants to expel a diplomat it informs the accrediting state and hold consultations to reach a compromise. For example, such a diplomat can be replaced without making the issue public. Traditionally, declaring a diplomat a persona non grata is a demonstrative gesture aimed to fuel a scandal or take on the accrediting government. As for the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US, Washington seems to desirea new rise in bilateral tensions. In 1986, Ronald Raegan’s administration declared personas non grata 80 Soviet diplomats, in response to the expulsion of 30 US embassy staff suspected of espionage.

    After the collapse of the USSR, Washington used the same tactic in 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2008. For example, in 2001, Washington expelled 56 Russian diplomatic workers after the disclosure of FBI agent Robert Hanssen. According to the US authorities, Hanssen spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the US for 22 years.

    By expelling Russian diplomats, Washington did not violate any international norms, said Alexei Ispolinov, head of the international law department of the law school at the Moscow State University. "As a sovereign state, the United States has the right to introduce sanctions. On the other hand, the reasons for such a move are unclear," Ispolinov told RT. According to the specialist, the diplomatic law lacks a regulatory mechanism to impartially assess the validity of such claims. "The government of the receiving country can accuse diplomats of everything. But the situation around Russian diplomats is an example of behavior beyond ethical standards. They expelled diplomats just before New Year… No comment," he pointed out. 'Anti-Russian Agony'

    Moscow has provided an adequate response each time Washington decided to expel Russia diplomatic staff.

    Earlier, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would take adequate measures in response to Obama’s decision. Then, CNN quoted a US official briefed on the matter as saying Thursday that Russian authorities ordered closure of the Anglo-America School of Moscow, as part of retaliation for the new US sanctions. "It is a lie. Apparently, the White House went completely mad and started coming up with sanctions against their own children," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page. The Obama administration has sadly changed its course from restoring ties with Russia in its early days to "anti-Russian agony" as it enters its final month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday. "Sadly, the Obama administration, which began its life with the restoration of cooperation, ends it with anti-Russian agony," Medvedev wrote on Twitter. According to Peskov, the outgoing US presidential administration wants to finally ruin the ties between Moscow and Washington and undermine the foreign policy strategy of the new US president and his team.

    As for Donald Trump, his reaction to Obama’s sanctions against Russia was reserved.

    The US must "move on to bigger and better things," Trump's team said, but in order to uphold the American people's interests he will consult with the intelligence community about their recent findings on the Russian spying allegations. On December 26, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said that after the inauguration on January 20 Donald Trump would overturn 60-70 percent of Obama’s executive orders. US media suggested that the new US president may fail to overcome the anti-Russian opposition in Congress. Trump’s intention to normalize ties with Moscow has not been shared by a large part of Democrat and Republican congressmen. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump’s plan to partner with Russia is unlikely to be endorsed by the Republicans who see Russia as a threat. Obama Wants to Fix His Reputation

    "An adequate response to expulsion of diplomats is a routine. But it would not be rational to impose sanctions against the US before the inauguration of Donald Trump. I think that the Russian government will wait until spring and see what the new US presidential administration will do. The right for an adequate response will be Russia’s trump card," historian and specialist in US studies Timur Nelin told RT.

    According to the expert, any sanctions against US diplomats in Russia would be a big concern for the American establishment. "As a result, Trump would risk losing the scope for maneuvering. At the same time, the possibility of a major thaw between Moscow and Washington is not that strong," Nelin underscored. "At first sight, the new US sanctions look like Obama’s hysteria. The outgoing president wants to undermine dialogue between Trump and Putin. To a certain extent, that’s right. But Obama also wants to achieve personal goals. He wants to be remembered as a strong leader fighting to the end," the expert suggested.

    Nelin said that the Kremlin should not expect that Trump’s administration will take intense efforts to end the regime of sanctions.

    "US sanctions are a bargaining chip in geopolitical terms. They are an instrument of pressure. The US needs sanctions to resolve its geopolitical issues," he pointed out. Nelin noted that normalization with Russia is not the priority goal of Trump’s administration, but part of the plan to "make America great again." "Look at Trump’s team. It includes both pro-Russian and anti-Russian politicians. For the US, Russia always was kind of a scapegoat country," he concluded.


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