Washington, DC — According to a report by NBC News, U.S. intelligence officials say President Obama’s administration and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are together preparing a possible covert cyber attack against Russia.
The attack would be retribution for Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
Insiders claim the Obama administration has requested that the CIA develop and deliver covert plans to the White House. These plans are for a cyber action that will both humiliate Russian leadership in general and President Vladimir Putin in particular.
Informed sources have not divulged exactly what methods the CIA will use. But some preparatory actions are allegedly already taking place. These include breaking down cyber security, choosing targets, and developing tactics and strategies.
NBC News claims former U.S. intelligence officials have revealed that the CIA now has thousands of documents confirming Putin’s interference in the U.S. election as well as Russian hacks and leaks targeting American public opinion about the candidates and other issues.
NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, who is also NBC’s political news director, was told on October 16, 2016, by Vice President Joe Biden,
“We’re sending a message” to Putin. Biden confirmed, “It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.” He added when asked if the American public will be aware of the message, “Hope not.”
Meanwhile James Stavridis, retired U.S. Navy admiral and chairman of the board of the U.S. Naval Institute, says America needs to expose Putin’s financial dealings. The remarks were made to Cynthia McFadden, senior legal and investigative correspondent for NBC News. Stavridis thinks America should obtain information about Putin by targeting Russia’s internal Internet activity.
Regarding Putin’s finances, Stavridis remarked,
“It’s well known that there’s great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs.” He also pointed out, “It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen”
Former senior U.S. intelligence officer Sean Kanuck, who was previously in charge of monitoring and evaluating Russia’s cyber activities and capabilities, said there is a cost to failing to mount the response advocated by Stavridis.
“If you publicly accuse someone,” Kanuck stated, “and don’t follow it up with a responsive action, that may weaken the credible threat of your response capability.”
The idea of covert action against Russia is nothing new, according to NBC: there’s a long history of the administration asking the CIA to develop possibilities, including cyber strikes, but never moving forward with the agency’s plans.
According to a former CIA official,
“We’ve always hesitated to use a lot of stuff we’ve had, but that’s a political decision,”
“If someone has decided, `We’ve had enough of the Russians,’ there is a lot we can do.”
U.S. government officials say that there is currently some disagreement within the Obama administration about whether to take action and engage in the proposed cyber attack against Russian.
However, the ultimate authority, of course, lies with President Obama.