Obama’s response to Russian hackers, not far enough, experts say


President Obama launched 35 Russian intelligence officers and sanctions as part of a “necessary and proportionate response” to Russia’s alleged interference in the November elections Thursday. But experts question whether it is strong enough to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t think you have much of an impact at all,” said the former un Ambassador John Bolton on Friday morning in an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends”.

Bolton said, taking into account the State Department’s lead in a Trump administration, Russia’s actions were an “attack on our constitutional order,” and “it is not enough to say, and people should be very careful to not say about this, well, it really has an impact on the election.”

The reaction from Capitol Hill, echoed Bolton’s assessment.

Republican Sens., John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a joint statement by the characterization of the sanctions issued as a “long overdue” to pay a “small price for Russia for its brazen attack on American democracy.

McCain, who is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has time to work, plan a consultation to foreign cyber threats for next Thursday, and intends to intensify the sanctions.

On Twitter, Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said the sanctions were “a good start”, but added that the “Congress-used sanctions.”

Russian officials initially condemned the sanctions and promised to take revenge. But Russian President Vladimir Putin later in a statement, said he was reserving “the right to revenge.”

The statement read that Russia “would bend over nt to the level of the ‘kitchen’ irresponsible diplomacy.”

Olga Oliker, Director of the Eurasia program at the center for Strategic and International studies, says retaliation will have a direct impact, by proof of a “what can be done,” such as the imposition of sanctions against companies dealing with the Russian intelligence.

“In terms of the measures as a reaction to the harassment of U.S. diplomats, the real proof of the pudding Russians actions go forward,” she said

Other security experts agree the Obama to react to a decision, sends a message, but the extent to which it remains an influence on Putin is unclear.

“I’m not sure we will see the impact in relation to Russia back down. This is more a public move by the Obama administration to serve, note that we will respond to cyber-attacks,” Anup Ghosh, founder & CEO of the Virginia-based cybersecurity firm Invincea, Inc. said

“I expect Putin to continue with his propaganda campaign and the attempts to influence the discussion of the Manipulation of public opinion. At the same time, it is the greeting of the Trump administration”, he added.

The executive order was based largely on the findings of a joint Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, which had alleged Russian civil and military services, “part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations, addressed to the U.S. government and its citizens.”

According to the report, the goal of the Russian cyber offensive was not limited to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The campaign attempted to infiltrate government organisations, critical infrastructure, persons, think tanks, universities, political organizations and companies.

New York Republican Lee Zeldin, said the report, which was, along with Obama’s executive order “miserably short” and lacked the level of detail sought by the Congress.

“It uses large font and pictures, and leaves certain holes in it that is larger than the paper it is written on. Honestly, there are more questions than he answers” about the Russian activities.

Zeldin believes that the intelligence briefings President Trump will receive next week could help his strategy in the direction of dealing with Putin.

Experts say, the direction of the Donald Trump want in the direction of Russia is likely to determine whether Putin is deterred from further aggressive behavior.

Susan Hennessey, Brookings Fellow in National Security Law, told that Trump has to flip the authority of the executive order should he decide to do this.

But to do this she adds, “would be politically expensive because of the Congress, including the majority of Republicans, in favor of taking tougher measures against Russia.”

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