Obama issues new sanctions over Russia's election meddling

President Obama.
(Image credit: ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury responded to Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election by announcing sanctions against six individuals and five entities — including two Russian intelligence services and three companies — thought to be involved in "malicious cyber-enabled activities." The economic penalties followed President Obama's issuance of an executive order expanding the government's authority to address cybersecurity issues in the wake of the FBI and CIA's determination that Russian cyberattacks in the U.S. presidential election were intended to help Donald Trump.

"These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," Obama said in a statement. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security backed up the sanctions with a 13-page report explaining how it was determined that Russian government-sponsored hackers were behind the breaches targeting various Democratic Party organizations and officials. The sanctioned individuals and entities will be added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control's list of Specifically Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.

Also Thursday, the U.S. expelled 35 diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to "Russian harassment of American diplomats," a senior U.S. official told Reuters. Somewhat predictably, the Russian government was not pleased by the Obama administration's actions Thursday, and responded quite unabashedly via the official Twitter account for its embassy in the U.K. — see the message here.

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