A new report has claimed that former President Barack Obama approved the use of cyber weaponry against Russia in retaliation to the latter’s cyberattack that severely disrupted the Democratic Party in 2016.
According to a report by the Washington Post, former President Obama and his intelligence chiefs saw enough evidence that President Vladimir Putin had directly ordered cyberattacks targeting the United States to sway the 2016 presidential elections to favor Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing some of which will not be publicized,” stated Obama in a public statement in December, upon unveiling sanctions against Russian entities and individuals. The diplomatic row also saw 35 Russian diplomats forced to vacate the United States.
According to the Post, the cyber operation is in its early stages and continues to this day, under new President Donald Trump. The mission has seen “implants” deployed in key Russian systems, the report reveals. The secret program is part of a joint operation with members of the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA and the US Cyber Command. More specifically, the implants embedded could be “triggered remotely as part of a retaliatory cyber-strike in the face of Russian aggression,” the report added.
The cyberweapons deployed would be a “proportional response” as mandated by international law, even in scenarios that could see the Russian cyber command targeting the likes of the US power grid or even the next presidential elections.
Perhaps notably, the inauguration of President Trump hasn’t hindered the progress nor the evolution of the program, according to the Post, nor has he made any attempt to stop the operation. In order to cancel the secret program, the report adds that Trump would have to “issue a countermanding order to stop it.”
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