WASHINGTON: Directly accusing Russia of trying to manipulate the 2016 US presidential election, the United States on Friday vowed to respond at a “time and place of our choosing.”
“We will take action to protect our interests, including in cyberspace, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing,” a senior administration official told Agence France-Presse, using language usually associated with military and counter-terror campaigns.
“The public should not assume that they will necessarily know what actions have been taken or what actions we will take.”
Earlier, in an unusual step, US intelligence and homeland security publicly accused the Russian government of directing cyber attacks on American political organizations.
A statement said a series of email hacks, leaked to DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks by an online entity known as Guccifer 2.0, were “intended to interfere with the US election process.”
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
The Kremlin labeled the allegations as “rubbish.”
Washington’s announcement brought instant, bipartisan demands from Congress for robust response.
“Russia must face serious consequences,” said Republican Senator Ben Sasse, who is tipped as a possible future Republican leader.
“Moscow orchestrated these hacks because Putin believes Soviet-style aggression is worth it.”