Saturday, October 08, 2016

What Options Does the U.S. Have After Accusing Russia of Hacks?

By DAVID E. SANGER and NICOLE PERLROTH
OCT. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — Now that the White House has formally accused Russia of meddling in the presidential election with cutting-edge cyberattacks and age-old information warfare, devising a response might seem fairly easy: unleash the government’s cyberwarriors to give the Kremlin a dose of its own malware.

Technologically, that would not be too difficult, American officials say. But as a matter of strategy and politics, formulating the right kind of counterstrike is not that straightforward.

President Obama’s options range from the mild — naming and shaming the Russians, as he did on Friday — to the more severe, like invoking for the first time a series of economic sanctions that he created by executive order after North Korea’s attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Justice Department could indict the Russians behind the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the email accounts of prominent individuals, as it did with members of China’s People’s Liberation Army, who have been charged with stealing industrial secrets.

Or Mr. Obama could sign a secret intelligence finding — similar to many he has issued to authorize Central Intelligence Agency efforts in Syria or drone strikes against the Islamic State — to attack and disable Russian computer servers or expose the financial dealings of President Vladimir V. Putin and his oligarch friends.

(More here.)

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