According to U.S. intelligence officials, the White House has requested the CIA draw up plans for a “clandestine” cyberattack on Russia to “embarrass” Kremlin leaders.
Sources told NBC News that the agency has already decided who to target and has obtained information using cybertactics that, if made public, would show the crude political and militaristic maneuverings of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s well know that there’s a great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs,” said retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis. “It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen” from Russia.
Intelligence sources also divulged that the Obama administration’s goal is to protect against Russian manipulation of the U.S. election system and retaliate against the Kremlin for past transgressions.
The U.S. government formally accused Moscow on Friday, Oct. 7, of authorizing the hack of Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign email accounts “to interfere with the U.S. election process.” Both Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have since dismissed the claim.
On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the U.S. is “sending a message” to Putin which “will be at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”
However, top administration officials reportedly disagree whether to follow through and authorize the operation, which has been a long-held White House pattern in regard to Russia.
“We’ve always hesitated to use a lot of stuff we’ve had, but that’s a political decision,” said a former CIA officer.
Early last week, the White House said President Obama was considering a “proportional response” to Moscow’s cyberattacks on the U.S., a public announcement that Russian press secretary Peskov said was “unprecedented”.
Both WikiLeaks, which has been accused of working with the Kremlin to obtain Democratic Party emails and documents, and exiled former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, dismissed the White House’s strategy on Twitter, pointing out that a “clandestine” or “covert operation” would not have been announced publicly.
[NBC News] [Reuters] [RT News] [Photo courtesy Inquisitr]