Ignoring Donald Trump's advice to "forget it, Jake, it's Cybertown" President Obama announced a series of sanctions today against Russian intelligence services due to their involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Sanctions on nine different Russian individuals and entities were announced by the White House, in a statement that also specifically named people who the Obama administration believes were in charge of the DNC hacks. The GRU and FSB, both of which are Russian intelligence services, were hit with economic sanctions. As were the Special Technology Center, Zorsecurity, and the Autonomous Noncommercial Organization Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems, all of which are Russian companies accused of providing research and technical support for the hacking efforts.
As far individuals, GRU chief Igor Valentinovich Korobov, and Deputy Chiefs Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov, Igor Olegovich Kostyukov and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev were sanctioned as well.
The Obama administration also ordered 35 unnamed Russian intelligence officials out of the country, and closed two Russian intelligence compounds, one in New York and one in Maryland. The New York compound is a mansion in Glen Cove known as Killenworth. According to The Daily Beast a Soviet defector in 1982 claimed that the mansion's top floor was full of communications interception equipment, and that at least 15 technicians worked to listen in on American communications.
In addition to the sanctions and expulsions, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI released a joint security report showing how they believed Russian hackers working for APT 28 and APT 29 infiltrated DNC computer systems using phishing attacks.
"These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," President Obama wrote in a statement annoucing the sanctions. He continued, "All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions."
The Times points out that the sanctions are mostly symbolic, since none of the intelligence officials named by the Obama administration are likely to visit America anytime soon. Still, they put Donald Trump in a bind, as he'll either have to keep the sanctions up and potentially sacrifice better relations with the country or drop the sanctions and give credence to the weird idea that he's been in Russia's pocket for decades.
The reaction from Congressional Republicans was mostly in support of the sanctions, with some reservations. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan supported the sanctions in his statement, but called them "overdue" and "an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia."
Speaker Ryan says new sanctions on Russia are "overdue," adding, "it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia." pic.twitter.com/CXGuVOlCDB
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) December 29, 2016
War forever buddies Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham put out a joint statement that also said the sanctions were "long overdue" and promised to "lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia."
Unlike Ryan, Graham/McCain comment on Russia sanctions w/o a swipe at Obama pic.twitter.com/isZrcXVes5
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) December 29, 2016
On the other hand, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks praised the Russian hacking effort in an interview earlier today, claiming it accomplished "what the media should have done." I'm sure this is the same chill, pro-hacking attitude he'll have if RNC emails showing embarrassing infighting get leaked to the world.
As for Russia, their English embassy taunted Obama with "lame duck" image macro, following on their successful trolling of the US when the CIA claimed Putin was personally involved in the hacking efforts:
President Obama expels 35 🇷🇺 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl 🇺🇸 people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) December 29, 2016
Closer to home, the Russian Embassy to the United States tweeted this threatening map, as if to tell Americans they know where we live. In America:
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) December 29, 2016
As we enter a new meme-based Cold War, President-elect Donald Trump has yet to tweet about the sanctions, but you can damn sure believe the world can't wait to see what he has to say.