Obama Set To Announce Economic Sanctions And "Covert Cyber Ops" Against Russia For "Election Hacking"

Tyler Durden's picture

Just a week after Obama held a press conference announcing that he sent a stern warning to Vladamir Putin regarding his alleged "election hacking" efforts (see "Obama Told Putin To "Cut It Out" On Hacking"), the Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration is close to announcing a series of economic sanctions and other measures to punish Russia for its "interference" in the 2016 presidential election.  Quoting "U.S. officials," WaPo said that an announcement from the Obama administration could come as early as this week and would likely include "covert cyber operations."

According to WaPo's "sources", the delay in sanctions against Russia have come from Obama's inability to take unilateral actions under current laws.  While Obama previously signed an executive order that would allow him to freeze the assets in the United States of people overseas who have engaged in cyber acts, it only applies to actions that have threatened U.S. national security or financial stability.  Further, per a "senior administration official," use of the existing law would require (1) actual election infrastructure to be designated as 'critical infrastructure' and (2) the administration to prove that such infrastructure was actually "harmed," conditions which the National Security Council say have not been met. 

The White House is still finalizing the details of the sanctions package. Holding up the announcement is an internal debate over how best to adapt a 2015 executive order that gave the president the authority to levy sanctions against foreign actors who carry out cyberattacks against the United States.


The order was used as the “stick” in negotiations over a highly-publicized 2015 agreement with China that neither nation would hack the other for economic gain.


But officials concluded this fall that the order does not cover the kind of covert influence operation that the Intelligence Community believes Russia carried out during the election — hacking political organizations and leaking stolen emails with the goal of influencing the outcome.


The April 2015 order allows the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of individuals or entities who used digital means to damage U.S. critical infrastructure or engage in economic espionage.


The National Security Council concluded that it would not be able to use the authority against Russian hackers because their malicious activity did not clearly fit under its terms, which require harm to critical infrastructure or the theft of commercial secrets.


“You would (a) have to be able to say that the actual electoral infrastructure, such as state databases, was critical infrastructure, and (b) that what the Russians did actually harmed it,” a senior administration official told The Post. “Those are two high bars.”

Obama Putin


Of course, laws are merely suggestions for an Obama administration that has grown quite comfortable legislating through executive action from the White House.  As Zachary Goldman, a sanctions and national security expert at New York University School of Law, points out the current laws simply require the Obama administration to "engage in some legal acrobatics to fit the DNC hack into an existing authority, or they need to write a new authority."

“Fundamentally, it was a low-tech, high-impact event,” said Zachary Goldman, a sanctions and national security expert at New York University School of Law. And the 2015 executive order was not crafted to target hackers who steal emails and dump them on WikiLeaks or seek to disrupt an election. “It was an authority published at a particular time to address a particular set of problems,” he said.


So officials “need to engage in some legal acrobatics to fit the DNC hack into an existing authority, or they need to write a new authority,” Goldman said.


Administration officials would like Obama to use the power before leaving office to demonstrate its utility.

And, not surprisingly, another administration official points out that “part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or communicated to Congress in a form that would be difficult to simply walk back."  Yes, that is the problem with legislating through executive action rather than acknowledging the will of the American people and trying to work with Congress.

And while Obama and Democrats continue their crusade to deligitamize the Trump administration, we would point out once again that, despite all the rhetoric, not a single person has gone on the record and/or presented a single shred of tangible evidence to confirm Russian involvement in the DNC and/or John Podesta email hacks

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) Dec 27, 2016 7:30 PM

So I guess this means that Russians won't be able to order any pizza online, & no more mail order brides.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

Mr president, can you pls explain to me how covert ops work when you announce them publiclly?

BaBaBouy's picture

Just Disapear Already And Play GOLF in those Flowery Shorts ...

Skiprrrdog's picture

Those were actually one of his daughters shorts....

CheapBastard's picture

I guess shooting down their airplane was not enough for Soweeto's blood thirsty appetite.

eatthebanksters's picture

Despite public assurances for a smooth transition, Obozo is bound and determined to fuck things up as much as he can brfore Inauguration Day. What a small time, petulant loser.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Solidifying his legacy as the first menstruating US president.

Mano-A-Mano's picture
Mano-A-Mano (not verified) Shemp 4 Victory Dec 27, 2016 9:20 PM

Then Trump will be the douche.

tazs's picture

They're messing with Russia as payback for protecting Israel's perceived enemies. Trump will do the same.


Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Continue in the same spirit, and you will be sent on the yellow brick road is far and long!

roadhazard's picture

Just like Pizzagate was bullshit so was ZH crying Pootin didn't try to fuck with the elections. Obama would not install new sanctions if it were not true. ZH is a propaganda news Juggernaut.

Orly's picture


The MIC/Bushies are throwing everything they can to mess up as much stuff as possible to have their agenda last just a little longer than expected.


overbet's picture

Hang in there folks he is nearly gone. Of course he has to stomp his feet and squeal on his way out. What else should we expect from a whiny little bitch.

CheapBastard's picture

"If you want to keep your smooth transition, you can keep your smooth transition. I promise!"


~ Soweeto bin Bama

Perimetr's picture

Get this sonofabitch out the White House

rwe2late's picture

 don't forget that the buffoons

in Congress almost unanimously support this farce.

monk27's picture

Somebody tell this clown that his show has ended back in November ! He's acting now like a spoiled kid who feels he has to trash the playground before being taken home kicking and screaming.

One more time, Obozo confirms he's just a narcissistic idiot...

monk27's picture

Sorry, double post...

FreedomGuy's picture

The question is how many wars can he start before he leaves? Maybe he can do something in Ukraine, S. China Sea, Syria and Turkey all at once. Maybe he can crash the economy and put every place off limits for commerce.

His sand castle legacy will be washed away with the incoming tide.

Blankone's picture

Until Putin grows a pair it will continue.

B ythe way, they have taken down 3 of russia's planes recently.  Maybe killed their ambassador and killed Putin's favorite driver.

Putin should have had to forsight to declare a nofly zone over Syria from day one.  And to have entered Syria at least a year earlier. And to have the competence to actually remove ISIS.  For comparison - the US wanted to eliminate the Iraqi regular army and so no Iraqi tank or armored vehicles were intact a few weeks later.  They damn sure were not driving from town to town carrying 4,000 troops.  Yet Putin cannot find or eliminate groups of tanks, armored troop carriers, heavy artillery, columns of trucks with heavy machine guns etc..

Of course, maybe Putin wants Syria destroyed so his group can break off a piece of it for themselves.  You know, let Syria be destroyed so they are so weak they have to accept Putin's terms or be wiped out.

WTFUD's picture

UTTER drivel is that! Putin & Russia are consolidating Power numbnuts. The Rat's are abandoning Vichy DC's Plantation.

Kina's picture

Man are you ignorant.


and as for no-fly zones.  The USA or Russia will not put in no fly zones when you have big boys in the area.

USA will do it when Russia or China not around, since they don't care to shoot down some Somali plane.

But Russia or USA shoot down their planes in a NFZ is suicide and fucking great way to lose control.

CheapBastard's picture

This is a no win situation for the average Americans. Now that China is also funding Assad it's only a Big Fat Subsidy of the MIC and Bankers who love war in the EU and USA.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Lethargic ravings and bleatings of a candidate for State Department grants.

You have a stupid training manual.

Truther's picture

Blankone, you have blanks for brains.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Until Putin grows a pair"

Huh? I stopped reading after that nonsense.

Nexus789's picture

Maybe? Don't you know. You seem so well informed.

fleur de lis's picture

Yep it's looking more and more like Obama and his CIA concubines had something to do with that plane.

The whole Democrat party has gone insane.

It looks like they want to wreck everything they can't control.

Not that anyone heeds the UN but that resolution only served to put the cat amongst the pidgeons in DC and Tel Aviv and set everybody off.

Then Obama even took a swipe at Hellish and said that if he had been the candidate the Dems would have won.

And he ramped up the processing for illegals before Trump is sworn in.

The Dems are only sabotaging and vandalizing as they leave.

Has anyone seen Victoria Neudelmann? 

She's probably looting the State Dept kitchen.



Omen IV's picture

In 1967 the blacks burned down Newark and looted the stores of Pampers a& TV sets - this is modern version on the way out


this guy is the worst

We Are The Priests's picture

OMG!!  Is Obomber going to start twerking?


Bumpo's picture

How does Obama get to decide when to impose sanctions and when not? WTF, doesn't Congress determine that shit.

yogibear's picture

Less than a month of Obama, thank god!!!!!

NoDebt's picture

Unsrprising that Obama would act like the 3rd world tinpot dictator he really is at heart.  Blame others in another country for all your problems.

Just sucks that he's going to stay in Washington and be a thorn in everyone's side for the next 4-8 years until he runs for President again.  No, I'm not kidding.  He'll run again.  His ego is that big.



Blankone's picture

Obama is following instructions.  He has never been in control on the bigger issues.  His social comments may be his.

Giant Meteor's picture

Announcing the "covert" cyber ops ....

After all, Big Brother always announces the most important covert ops ..



not openly acknowledged or displayed: (or announced)

"covert operations against the plebes, alternative media, rational thought, truth, whistleblowers, etc"

synonyms: secret · furtive · clandestine · surreptitious · stealthy · [more]

WTFUD's picture

Most likely unless without the 50 strong Security Detail around his Bubble an opportunity presents itself, on the golf course perhaps, maybe elsewhere, when a burning tyre is thrown around his neck and he is clubbed around the head with a 3 iron before it's shoved up his ring-piece.

His venom , anger at being more or less a Stooge to Putin reflects his insecurities. Skip Town while the going's good you POS.

markar's picture

He wasn't eligible to run the first time.

Cruel Aid's picture

sheriff joe made that case clear. O is not one of us and we will have to endure his bullshit from the sidelines doing his organizing. A rediculus job, rabbel rousing is a friggin job!

Scuba Steve's picture

I kind of get the feeling that you havent heard the last of ol Joe ... i think his life mission is to see the demise of lil Barry's legacy like a hound on a fox.

Pava's picture

he has no children of his own

knukles's picture

These people are gonna get us all killed if that's what's necessary to advance the NWO Globalist Agenda.

greenskeeper carl's picture

God damn, obama. Can you PLEASE just stay on vacation for a few more weeks, play some more golf, do whatever it is that you do? We almost got out of your reign of error without another conflagaration of some type, but thats not good enough for you. You have to create one out of thin air less than a month before we are finally rid of you?

knukles's picture

He's trying His Best to Be the Messenger of the Chaos from Which Order Flows According to the NWO Globalists.
This is what he was elected to do.

Wakie wakie!

Scuba Steve's picture

I can just hear the globalists sitting around the table scheming after their dinner of children ...

"lazy fukkin kenyan, we knew we couldnt rely on that black fag and his husband. Should of aborted that POS when we bred that dum whore in Hawaii to the monkey from Kenya. Where were you on that one Sir Evelyn, dipschit."

nmewn's picture

"Mr president, can you pls explain to me how covert ops work when you announce them publicly?"


yogibear's picture

No Russian Vodka for your gay bath house parties Obama!

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Is Obola's Covert Ops retaliation like Dean Verner's "Double-Secret Probation"?