US expels Russian diplomats, closes compounds in cyber attack sanctions

President Barack Obama

The Obama administration has adopted stiff new sanctions against Russia aimed at its top intelligence services and officials in response to Moscow's alleged use of cyberattacks aimed at interfering with November's presidential election.

The targets of the sanctions include Russian government intelligence entities, including the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate, three companies and six individuals.

Among the individuals are top officials from the Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, and hackers already on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted list.

The State Department has expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Russian Consulate in San Francisco on Thursday. The officials and their families were given 72 hours to leave the US. 

The State Department also notified Russia that as of Friday Russia would be denied access to two Russian government-owned compounds—one in Maryland and one in New York.

President Barack Obama amended an executive order to allow for the sanctions on individuals and entities the US determines “to be responsible for tampering, altering or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.”

In a statement, Mr Obama says: “These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.”

Russia has denied it was involved with the hacks.

Mr Obama had promised to retaliate against Russia after US intelligence agencies determined that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Russia's response; and Syrian ceasefire
The Kremlin describes the sanctions as “a display of the unpredictability and…aggressive foreign policy” of the Obama administration and promises to respond by causing “considerable discomfort in the same areas."

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the White House had two aims: “To ruin once and for all Russian-American relations, which were already at rock bottom and, apparently, to strike a blow against the foreign-policy plans of the future administration and the new US president [Donald Trump].”

Mr Peskov says there's no hurry to respond but Russian President Vladimir Putin will formulate Russia’s reaction.

“The principle of reciprocity applies here absolutely without alternative,” Mr Peskov says.

Meanwhile, Mr Putin has announced a diplomatic coup with the Syrian government and nine opposition rebel groups agreeing to a ceasefire in the long-running civil war.

In his announcement, Mr Putin said operations by the Syrian armed forces will cease at midnight local time and the two sides had also agreed to enter peace talks.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier that Russia and Turkey would be guarantors to the agreement.


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At least Obama has the balls to do this

Of course the right wingers around the world will question what is wrong with hacking this data - it was only Hillary, the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic party - not that it doesn't matter who they hacked it is WRONG

The Israelis will probably now be hacking the National party emails and Bill English's emails after sanctioning and sponsoring the UN resolution - I bet the same people will have double standards if that happens.

There should only be one rule that everyone abides to - politics should not come into it

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Your comments are predicable and left wing, as usual.

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Ah yes left wing

Sorry for standing up and challenging what is clearly wrong.
Now the Russians have also hacked the USA power grid do we all bend over and say that was also a mistake
We now have Trump saying how clever Putin is .
What next?

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"What next?"

More fake news for the gullible seems like a good idea to me . You?

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If it's online and you are an interesting figure surely it will come out. It's just a matter of when!!

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The Israelis are widely regarded to be hacking everyone and anyone they wish to. Mossad is long known as an aggressive electronic intruder and is expected to behind the deployment of the destructive Stuxnet virus variant that destroys industrial machinery.

To date there is no hard evidence that has been presented that "the Russians" had anything at all to do with the disastrous Democratic email leaks, besides the clearly politically-motivated CIA claims. Hiliary Clinton's 'secret personal server' was apparently so compromised that more than 20 foreign agencies had accessed it by the time it was shut down.

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So true. But it is always easier to blame Russian hackers than admit to having ridicously poor security which allowed the leaks and which influenced the election outcome.

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Surely this action could wait for newly elected POTUS to decide. Seems childish for Obama to start a fight he is not going to be around to finish.

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Our backing of UN sanctions against Israel was not only appalling - it was stupid and underinformed. The Arab world s pledged to destroy Israel, and we have fallen into a well-planned trap.

As for Obama, going down in history as probably the most destructive, if not the feeblest and un-American President in history, one suspects this show of action is only because he is trying to win back some respect from the American people.

Too late for that.

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Most destructive President so far is widely regarded as James Buchanan - stats below - let's check in again in 2021....

James Buchanan, Jr., a Democrat, was the 15th President of the United States, and held this prestigious post from 1857 to 1861. His mandate began just before the onset of the American Civil War. Before taking the top job Buchanan had accumulated plenty of political experience after serving in the House of Representatives and Senate. Buchanan had even held the post of Secretary of State under President Polk. Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania, but was regarded as having Southern sympathies. President Buchanan not only failed to broker peace between a divided nation, but also ended up alienating members of both warring factions. Many still blame President Buchanan and his ineffective presidency for failing to prevent the outbreak of the Civil War, with some even referring to the devastating national conflict as “Buchanan’s War”.

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Looking like Trump will be the most destructive within 12 months

Has already alienated China and aligned with Russia - and is not even President yet
Next thing he will be buddies with Nth Korea - they need a Trump hotel and Casino to boost their tourism

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The meta data file leaked by "Guccifer 2.0" shows it was modified by a user called, in cyrillic, “Felix Edmundovich,” a reference to the founder of a Soviet-era secret police force. Another document contained cyrillic metadata indicating it had been edited on a document with Russian language settings.
All in all Is the evidence enough to put this hack on Russia beyond any reasonable doubt?

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Any professional hacker working at the level the Russians were supposed to have worked at, would not be dumb enough to leave telltale trails on the evidence.

If you believe that, you probably also believe it was santa that drank the beer and ate the cookies.

Blaming the Russians was probably a ruse to avoiding the truth.

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And they were so desperate to be remember they started acting out. I hope trump goes a little pyscho and hits the Russians and Chinese hard in the nose and is willing to take it to the brink. That's all they respect. Silly politics , theres...we could have all lived in peace but now more yearn for war

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