US prepped for massive cyber assault on Russia
The Obama administration is threatening to launch a vast cyber war against Russia in response to the country’s alleged interference with the presidential election.Vice President Joe Biden told NBC News Friday that “we’re sending a message” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the wide-ranging “clandestine” cyber operation will take place.
“We’re sending a message,” Biden said during an interview with “Meet the Press” that will air on Sunday. “We have the capacity to do it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact,”
The vice president belittled Russia’s alleged interference in the US election but stressed their efforts, however futile, would be responded in kind.
“Their capacity to fundamentally alter the election is not what people think,” Biden said.
“And I tell you what, to the extent that they do we will be proportional in what we do.”
It was not clear whether the American public would be alerted when or if an attack actually took place. When asked about whether the public would even be aware an attack took place Biden simply said “Hope not.”
Intelligence officials told NBC News that CIA has already begun “opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation.”
James Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the supreme allied commander at NATO, told NBC that the CIA should “embarrass” the Kremlin by exposing financial dealings of Putin and his cronies.
“It’s well known that there’s great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs,” Stavridis said. “It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen” in the recent hacks into US political figures and committees.
The US publicly blamed Russia last week for the recent cyberattacks against Democratic Party organizations.
“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement last Friday. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
The talk of an impending cyber war between the two countries takes place while the powers struggle to collaborate in the war against ISIS and inside Syria.
The ultimate decision on whether to launch to cyber attack would rest with President Obama, officials said. Sources told NBC News that there are diverging view within the administration about how to proceed.
“I think unless we stand up to this kind of cyber attack from Russia, we’ll only see more and more of it in the future,” Admiral Stavridis said.