President Obama has just signed a four-page executive order imposing retaliatory sanctions against the Russian Federation for their government’s political hacking activities during America’s 2016 elections. President Obama’s new order (see in full below) expands the scope of sanctions to cover people and companies, the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) and the secret police, the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation), which succeeded the notorious KGB.
Additionally, President Obama announced that a “name and shame” campaign is coming, according to The Hill:
“These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities,” Obama said in a statement. “We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized.”
Further, Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security and FBI will declassify “technical information on Russian civilian and military intelligence service cyber activity” to help networks defend against “Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities.”
The sanctions target two of Russia’s main intelligence organizations — the GRU and the FSB — four individual GRU officers, and three companies who provided support to the GRU.
President Obama’s second hammer drop expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States and ordered the closure of Russian government compounds in New York and Maryland that are said to be involved in a campaign targeting American diplomats. CNBC reports:
“These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice.”
President Obama continues to signal that further retaliatory measures against Russia will be taken in the coming weeks, some of which may be covert. The Hill reports that the Democratic Senate minority leader approved of the measures.
“I hope the incoming Trump administration, which has been far too close to Russia throughout the campaign and transition, won’t think for one second about weakening these new sanctions or our existing regime,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
Although an executive order can be changed or revoked at any time by a future President, Democrats are clearly hoping that it would be a political loser for the incoming President-elect and cause an open revolt by the few Senators remaining in the Republican Party who actually oppose the Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition