The White House on Friday accused the Russian government of orchestrating attacks designed to interfere in U.S. democratic elections.
We've all been saying for months that Putin has been behind a series of cyber-attacks on U.S. entities, including the Democratic National Committee and certain high-ranking individuals. On Friday, the Obama administration officially pointed the finger at Russia.
White House officials have accused Russia of leaking emails on WikiLeaks and other sites that “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” according to a statement by the director of national intelligence, James Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security.
“Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there," the statement said. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."
While Clapper didn't explicitly name Putin, we're not sure how else we're supposed to interpret that.
It wasn't the only time the statement seemed to be hedging its bets. It referred to recent “scanning and probing” of election systems, saying that they “in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company.” No explicit mention of the Russian government there, but is there anyone who thinks good ol' Putin didn't have a hand in the whole mess?
Rumor has it that White House aides have been debating a number of responses, including economic sanctions and targeted action against the servers from which the attacks originated. No word yet on what course of action President Obama has decided on, if any.