In his final presser of 2016 calling it “the most wonderful press conference of the year” President Barack Obama did not mince words when he charged Russian Hackers of influencing the U.S. Presidential elections and promised a befitting reprisal.
“I have got a list of who’s been naughty and nice, to call on,” Obama said at the very start of his address to the press speaking from the White House.
Earlier in an interview, Obama had made his intentions clear that America would not tolerate interference by foreign governments in its internal matters especially when a foreign regime (read Russia) tries to meddle in the country’s elections.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said in a December 15 interview with NPR, “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”
The U.S. intelligence agencies including the C.I.A have no misgivings about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in the hacking and are confident that the main purpose of Russian intervention was to ensure a Trump victory.
Donald trump, however, continues to rebuke and ridicule the reports of seventeen intelligence agencies which have concluded that Russia and, potentially, Putin himself had a direct hand in manipulating the election and the hacking of Democratic officials.
Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, by the way, has dismissed the accusation as “laughable nonsense.”
Adding insult to injury the president’s spokesperson, Josh Earnest, told reporters that Trump had prompted Russia to “hack his opponent,” and it was very much likely, in fact, a certainty, Trump was aware that Russia was helping his campaign.
At a press conference, back in July, Trump addressed Russia telling them to locate Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails which he later said was said in jest.
“I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber activity to destabilize our democracy,” Earnest said. “That’s not a joke.
Before President Obama was ready to take questions from the attending press representatives on December 16, he spoke about the years of work that America had put in to bring about an end to the civil war in Syria and “alleviate human suffering.”
He had no hesitation in admitting that it was one of the hardest issues that he had faced as President and spoke about the world being united against the “savage assault by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies in the city of Aleppo,” mentioning that it was a “deliberate strategy of surrounding, besieging, and starving innocent civilians.”
However, the crux of his address to the press was to highlight the Russian hacking of the DNC, its influence on the U.S. presidential election outcome, and to ensure that such cyber attacks did not happen in the future.
It was a clear warning by Obama to “Russia or others, not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you.”
White House officials believe that Russian hackers assisted Trump’s campaign against the Democratic nominee in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton.
However, it is noteworthy that, as yet, no proof has been offered or made public about the Russian factor in the election outcome.
Among a host of disagreements between Washington and Moscow including Syria and Ukraine, the hacking accusations have added fuel to fire and relation between the two nations has further deteriorated.