The FBI is focusing efforts to procure the evidence required by the Department of Justice to indict some of the Russians that are alleged to be responsible for a spate of recent political hacks.
According to Reuters sources, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials are intensifying efforts to obtain evidence which would enable the Justice Department to indict some of the Russians behind the hacking of U.S. political parties and figures.
The endeavor will prove to be a difficult one because the best evidence against foreign hackers are often highly classified, according to the sources. However, State Department and White House officials still see legal action as the most effective way to respond to the growing number of Russian attacks. This, sources say, is the best way to respond to Russian attempts to disrupt the upcoming presidential elections in November without taking on Russian President Vladimir Putin in an open confrontation.
One U.S. official stated:
Doing nothing is not an option, because that would telegraph weakness and just encourage the Russians to do more meddling, but retaliating in kind carries substantial risks.
For its part, Russia has always denied that it sponsors or actively encourages any hacking activity.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest suggested that the FBI and the U.S. government faced a tricky situation. He noted the President’s objective of establishing interested norms while pointing to the evidence the FBI has complied over time.
“[A]s soon as they make a declaration like that, most people are going to be understandably be interested in seeing that evidence,” Earnest said. “And some of that evidence may not be something we want to show.”
Others have suggested different measures to combat the intrusions.
While not elaborating, FBI director James Comey recently stated:
Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean we’re not trying to change behavior.
Richard Clarke, a senior security official who has served under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush added public U.S. options would include openly outing Russian hackers and pressing for tougher economic sanctions on Russin companies, individuals and agencies linked to the cyber attacks.
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