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Russia Criticizes 'Unprecedented' U.S. Threats Over Alleged Cyberattacks

RFE/RL October 16, 2016

Russia has criticized the United States for what it has described as "unprecedented" threats over alleged cyberattacks.

Moscow's objections came after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on October 14 that a "message" would be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian cyberattacks on American political institutions.

"The threats directed against Moscow and our state's leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the U.S. vice president," RIA Novosti quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on October 15.

"To the backdrop of this aggressive, unpredictable line, we must take measures to protect [our] interests, to hedge risks," Peskov also said.

In an interview with NBC News released on October 14, Biden was asked why the United States has not retaliated against Russia for meddling in the U.S. election by leaking the e-mails of top Democratic party officials and through other breaches.

"We're sending a message" and Putin will get it, Biden said. "We have the capacity to do it and the message will be sent. He'll know it, and it will be at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact."

NBC reported that the U.S. government was preparing a possible cyberattack against Moscow in response to Russia's alleged attempts to interfere in the U.S. election.

The American broadcaster, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, reported on October 14 that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was preparing options for President Barack Obama for a "clandestine" operation to "embarrass" Moscow.

The sources did not provide details about the measures the CIA was considering but said the agency had selected targets and was making other preparations for an operation.

NBC News reported that the agency had gathered documents "that could expose unsavory tactics" by Putin.

Biden said that in retaliating, U.S. actions will be "proportional" to the impact from leaks of documents hacked by Russia in recent months.

At the same time, he questioned whether the Russian hacks have had "the capacity to fundamentally alter the election" on November 8.

Biden indicated that the U.S. response to Russia will be clandestine, saying he "hopes" the public will not know about it.

With reporting by NBC News, AFP, and dpa

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-washington- cyberattack-hacking/28056583.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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