Russian Federation could plant 'cyber bomb' in upcoming U.S. elections: Rep. Conaway

Russian Federation could plant 'cyber bomb' in upcoming U.S. elections: Rep. Conaway

Yolanda Curtis
March 21, 2018

The Trump administration announced extensive sanctions against Russia on Thursday morning, which included sanctions on the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that produced divisive political posts on American social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. officials said the hackers chose their targets methodically, obtained access to computer systems, conducted "network reconnaissance" and then attempted to cover their tracks by deleting evidence of the intrusions.

The Trump administration has issued its toughest sanctions yet against Russian Federation for a host of actions, including election meddling and an attempt to interfere with the nation's energy grid.

On one hand, top officials, publicly and privately, stake out a hawkish line toward Moscow and endorse the intelligence agency assessments that Russian Federation meddled in the election to help Trump. The administration has not yet responded, a spokesman for Cantwell's office said on Thursday.

A former senior DHS official familiar with the government response to the campaign said that Russia's targeting of infrastructure networks dropped off after the publication in the fall of Symantec's research and an October government alert, which detailed technical forensics about the hacking attempts but did not name Russian Federation.

"We did not see them cross into the control networks", DHS cyber security official Rick Driggers told reporters at a dinner on Thursday evening.

A day after United Nations envoy Nikki Haley delivered a tongue lashing to Russia in the Security Council, the administration signed up to a statement alongside Britain, France and Germany, castigating Russia over the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the sleepy English cathedral town of Salisbury.

But the decision heaps pressure on Moscow as it faces separate punitive measures for an alleged attempt to kill a Russian-born British informant with a nerve agent west of London. Something that should never, ever happen.

"I spoke with the prime minister and we are in deep discussions - a very sad situation".

After all, the U.S. president has always been regarded - during the Cold War and afterward - as the leader of the West and remains the dominant power in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the guarantor of Western Europe's security.

The sanctions are the first use of the new powers that US Congress passed past year to punish Moscow for interfering in the election that Trump won over former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Menendez also said the Obama administration had already sanctioned many of those on the Trump administration's list. The Russian threat also demands that the Trump administration push much harder to obtain funding, intelligence and other support for states seeking to secure their election systems.

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov suggested that the Trump administration had timed the action to taint this weekend's presidential election in Russia, in which Putin is expected to win an overwhelming victory. However, there are still multiple investigations looking into any ties between Trump's campaign associates and Russians during 2016. On Thursday the Treasury Department announced it was imposing sanctions for the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election.

"I think that's something that Russia's going to have to make that determination", Sanders said.

It also marked the first publicly known occasion on which Mueller has demanded documents related to Trump's business.

The penalties also partly mirror the investigation pursued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But, he added, "We know that there is intent there".

Russia's role in the election quickly overshadowed the relationship.

Even so, Trump warned in a New York Times interview previous year that he would draw a "red line" if Mueller probed family business dealings not related to Russian Federation.

And signs that Mueller is deepening his investigation will do nothing to slake the Russian Federation fever gripping Washington.

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