Before the ink is dry on the accusations that Russia hacked the election and helped Donald Trump win, President Obama is working to adapt a 2015 executive order to punish Russia through economic sanctions and diplomatic censure.
In 2015, Obama issued the executive order to hold people accountable who use hacking as a weapon to gain control over American systems for financial gain or use systems to cause security faults for the USA.
The way the executive order is written, Russia can not be punished for their supposed involvement in the electoral hack. As Total Patriot reported on December 12th, the FBI has not found any substantial proof that Russia was behind the Wikileaks or a direct assault on the election. Russia has denied any involvement in the hacking.
So to move forward with the amendment of the April 2015 Executive Order, President Obama is trying to label the electoral system part of the US’s infrastructure.
One clear way to use the order against the Russian suspects would be to declare the electoral systems part of the “critical infrastructure” of the United States. Or the order could be amended to clearly apply to the new threat — interfering in elections.
And because Obama has put his reputation on the line by vowing to respond to Russia, he and his administration officials are trying to make the implementation hard to reverse.
“Part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or communicated to Congress in a form that would be difficult to simply walk back,” said one senior administration official.
If the amended executive order goes through, officials have crafted it in such a way that sanctions would be an appropriate response. They feel like sanctions are a nice in-between between bombing a country and sending a cable to the offending nations.
According to the Washington Post, even the threat of sanctions has the intended effect.
Officials and experts point to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s agreement with Obama last year that his country would stop commercial cyberspying. Xi came to the table after news reports that summer that the administration was preparing to sanction Chinese companies.
US Representative Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee said that even as far back as September, the US should have been suggesting sanctions.
I also think the process of sanctioning Russia should have begun far earlier, and we should have worked with our European allies to impose costs on Russia. That would have also telegraphed to the American people how serious [the suspected hacking] was.
The actions of politicians across the board trying to craft a response to Russia do indicate there might have been a foreign entity involved in breeches of security. However as Obama is stepping down from office, there is also a strong suspicion that this false flag is being raised to detract from Donald Trump taking office. The lack of proof against the Russians is the key here, but Obama already has put the entire blame on Putin. It’s not within Obama’s nature to admit mistakes, so it seems this might be a last gasp for relevance or even setting up Donald Trump for conflict as soon as he sits down in the Oval Office.