Washington, USA: Outgoing US President Barack Obama has said that the USA would strike back against Russian hacking after the White House made accusations against Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in cyber-attacks aimed at influencing the United States presidential elections.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action,” said Obama. “And we will, at a time and place of our own choosing.”
The remarks by the outgoing president Obama has escalated the dispute between the world’s nuclear powers over meddling that could have influenced November’s tight election in which businessman-turned-politician billionaire and Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it,” Obama’s top adviser Ben Rhodes earlier said Thursday.
Accusing Russian president Putin over meddling in the polls sets the White House on a confrontational course with Donald Trump. Trump has got isolated over questioning Russia’s involvement in allegations that hacking of Democratic Party’s communications and emails may have slowed momentum of Hillary Clinton’s poll campaign.
“Everything we know about how Russia operates and how Putin controls that government would suggest that, again, when you’re talking about a significant cyber intrusion like this, we’re talking about the highest levels of government,” Obama said. “And ultimately, Vladimir Putin is the official responsible for the actions of the Russian government.”
Obama will be pestered with questions about the accusations and pending subsequent action the time he convenes a news conference today (1915 GMT). Obama leaves for vacation in Hawaii later today.
Toeing the line, Josh Earnest, spokesman for the White House, said: “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. That’s not a joke.”