US May 'Retaliate' Against Russian Hacking Attempts: Official

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US May 'Retaliate' Against Russian Hacking Attempts: Official

There have been charges of alleged hacking by the Russians into the US electoral system.


Washington:  A top US official on Wednesday warned Russia of 'retaliation' against its hacking attempts to influence American presidential elections next month.

Responding to a question on alleged hacking by the Russians into the US electoral system, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told PBS that there would be retaliation from the American side.

"Well, people live in glass houses, I guess applies here," he said referring to the well know proverb.

However, the alleged Russian effort to influence the US election would not have much impact, he said.

"I don't believe so, but that's not an issue for the National Intelligence apparatus to decide. I think the strength for us, in this case, is the highly decentralised nature of our voting apparatus, which is, you know, run by states and local jurisdictions. They make it very hard, I think, to affect the outcome," he noted.

"In cases where voting machines are tied to the internet -- and, of course, that's the common denominator of the security weaknesses that we have. Your reference to hacking is germane," he added.

"If and when we do (retaliate) something, it will be time and place of our choosing. It may not necessarily be a symmetrical response. May be asymmetrical," he observed.

"I can recall instances where we got a big head of steam up about wanting to retaliate in a symmetrical manner. And you have to consider things like are we counterattacking through another nation state's infrastructure, which poses all kinds of legal issues. Lawyers get very agitated about that," Mr Clapper said.

"And then, of course, you need to think about the potential counter-retaliation to the retaliation you took, and how well you think -- and this applies to any nation state, how well you think we can withstand a counter-retaliation, and those get to be very complicated calculations," he said. Mr Clapper also described Russian President Vladimir as a throwback to "Tsar era".

"I think he's (Putin) somewhat of a throwback, not so much to the hay day of the Communist era, the Soviet Union, but a throwback to the Tsar era," he said.

"He has vision of Russia as a great power. It's extremely important to him that Russia be treated, respected as a global power on a par with the United States. I think that has a lot to do with impelling his behavior," Mr Clapper said.

 


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