December 16, 2016
President Obama Vows Retaliation For Russian Election Hacking

With the end of his presidency looming ever closer, President Barack Obama has vowed retaliatory action in response to the ever-widening Russian election hacking scandal. The president promised that the U.S. would respond to the alleged Russian hacking, which the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was intended to help President-elect Donald Trump secure a November 8 victory while keeping Democratic rival Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

While an investigation into the alleged Russian election hacking is ongoing, President Obama hasn't minced words about the issue. As CNN reports, President Obama cut straight to the Russian election hacking chase on Thursday during an interview on National Public Radio. According to the POTUS, the U.S. won't tolerate the meddling.

Furthermore, while promising action against the perpetrators of the Russian election hacking conspiracy, President Obama also vowed that such action would happen on the U.S.'s timeline.
"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 and we will at a time and place of our own choosing."
According to Obama, when it comes to the way the U.S. chooses to respond to Russian hacking, the general public may not be in the loop for every part of the retaliation.
"...some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be."
President Obama confirmed during the interview that he has already spoken to Vladimir Putin directly regarding the alleged Russian election hacking. Reportedly, that interaction took place in September at the G20 summit in China. If fact, Obama spoke to the media about his cybersecurity concerns at the time.
"Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it."
While President-elect Donald Trump has claimed via Twitter that the Russian hacking scandal hadn't been brought up prior to the election, President Obama and his administration addressed the problem back in October. Further, Hillary Clinton mentioned the cyber threat during the third presidential debate and invited then-candidate Trump to disavow such behavior by the Russian government.
Back in October, President Obama and his intelligence team promised that they would enact a "proportional response" to the alleged Russian election hacking. They didn't explain what that response might be. Nor did Obama mention Thursday whether or not that response to Russian cyber activities has already begun.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest continued to be tight-lipped on Thursday when he spoke about the Russian election hacking debacle and whether or not the U.S. is actively retaliating against the encroachment of election sovereignty.
"The President determined once the intelligence community had reached this assessment that a proportional response was appropriate. At this point, I don't have anything to say about whether or not that response has been carried out."
Thursday's National Public Radio interview wasn't the first time in recent days that President Obama has addressed the Russian hacking scandal. Last Friday, it was confirmed by the White House that Obama has ordered an immediate and full-scale investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. Furthermore, the POTUS has ordered intelligence agencies to look into elections back to 2008, and he wants a report on what is discovered before he leaves office next month.
"The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders. This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing."
New details regarding alleged Russian hacking that may have tarnished the results of the 2016 election have been revealed over the course of this week. As CNN reports, a U.S. intelligence analysis has determined that the chain of command behind the Russian election hacking likely involved Russian president Vladimir Putin at least, according to a U.S. official with close ties to the investigation.
"We don't have Putin's fingerprints on anything or a piece of paper that shows he signed the order, but the nature of the operation was such that this had to be approved by top levels of the Russian government."
What's more, as The Hollywood Reporter reports, President Obama and the White House have alleged that President-Elect Trump was well aware of the Russian hacking prior to the election.
"Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity that was helping him and hurting Secretary Clinton's campaign."
Both Russian President Putin and Donald Trump have unequivocally denied that any Russian election hacking took place. According to the White House, the hacking is still ongoing. Following the statement of the White House Press Secretary directly alleging that the president-elect has -- and has had -- knowledge of the alleged Russian hacking activities, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway lashed back at the current administration.
"That is just remarkable. That is breathtaking. I guess he's auditioning to be a political pundit after his job is over soon. That is incredibly disappointing to hear from the podium of the White House press secretary. He essentially stated that the president-elect had knowledge of this, maybe even fanned the flames. It's incredibly irresponsible and I wonder if his boss, President Obama, agrees."
With the Electoral College electors meeting to confirm the results of the presidential election just days from now, the political rhetoric has gotten increasingly vehement on both sides of the aisle. The Russian hacking scandal has simply added fuel to that volatile fire.

President Obama has announced that he will hold a press conference at the White House on Friday afternoon; it is unknown if he will address developments regarding the alleged Russian election hacking, but he is expected to take questions on the subject.

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]