United States rolls out more sanctions over 2016 election interference, cyber attacks
16 March, 2018, 01:56 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
The new sanctions - against five entities and 19 individuals - come following mounting criticism of President Trump's failure to firmly confront and aggressively counter alleged Russian attacks on allied soil and continued efforts to destabilize US politics.
In enacting the sanctions, the administration is finally meeting a congressional mandate to impose measures punishing Moscow for its cyber intrusion. Interference in our elections and active measures to sow divisions and chaos inside our country must be met with swift and severe consequences.
The name at the top of the sanctions list is the Internet Research Agency LLC (IRA), a so-called "troll farm" operated out of Sankt Petersburg, involved with the proliferation of fake news and the creation of several controversial organizations that attempted to sway the outcome of the 2016 United States election.
The US Treasury has concluded that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) "tampered with or altered information in order to interfere with the 2016 US election" by creating and managing fake online personas on social media, posting advertisements that reached millions of people.
Prigozhin and others mentioned in the sanctions were indicted in Mueller's probe, which is also examining possible links between Trump's campaign and Russian interference.
And Democrats homed in on the fact that the list of Russians hit with sanctions included all of those indicted by Mueller. Hackers also targeted the nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing industries, according to the advisory, which gives a detailed rundown on the attacker's tactics and tools.
The United States has imposed sanctions against Russian entities for the NotPetya ransomware outbreak, cyber-attacks on the U.S. power grid, and their attempts to influence the 2016 USA presidential election process.
In an announcement, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said the entities and individuals were designated under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as well as Executive Order 13694.
"It is an assault on the United Kingdom's sovereignty and any such use by a state party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of worldwide law". "If President Trump believes that today's action sufficiently addresses the sanctions package Congress sent to respond forcefully to Moscow's election interference, then he is sorely mistaken".
The U.S. said Russian Federation, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has targeted the American power grid. "I spoke with the Prime Minister and we are in deep discussions". The sanctions will prevent the named entities from entering the USA, and will freeze any assets they have on American soil. He said it showed no "new work" on the part of the Trump administration.
Thursday's sanctions came through the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which Trump signed a year ago but missed deadlines to produce lists of potential targets.
The administration missed both by several weeks, claiming necessary work was underway at the State and Treasury Departments to complete the lists. The subpoena is a sign that the Mueller investigation continues to pick up steam, even as Trump decries remaining questions about potential coordination between his associates and Russian Federation. Members of Congress expressed frustration that their law, which passed nearly unanimously, wasn't being enacted.
Has there been a sea change in the White House about Russian Federation?
"We're going to increase pressure until they change their behaviour and become a responsible member of the global community", said a senior United States national security official. "We've got make sure they know whether it's Russian Federation or other near-peer adversaries that there will be consequences".
On Thursday, administration officials insisted the new measures weren't the end of their efforts to punish Russian Federation. "By no means will this constitute the end of our ongoing campaign to instruct Mr Putin to change his behaviour".
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