US Slaps Sanctions On Russia–But Is It Too Little, Too Late? (Video)

The United States is under attack.

It is not an attack with missiles, bombs, or soldiers.

It is not a conventional “hot war.”

It is an attack on our sovereignty through our infrastructure, our elections, and the internet.

Yesterday the United States imposed sanctions on 19 Russian individuals and five groups that include Moscow’s intelligence services, for cyber attacks and interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated more sanctions will follow but did not say when.

In a statement, Mnuchin said:

“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure. These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the nefarious attacks emanating from Russia. Treasury intends to impose additional…sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the US financial system.”

The sanctions target the Russian nationals special council Robert Mueller charged on February 16 for tampering with our elections, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and six individuals working for GRU.

But hackers successfully infiltrated other critical infrastructure.

A Treasury Department statement asserts:

“[Russian government hackers] have also targeted U.S. government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.”

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an alert confirming the cyber-attack began last March. They urged other organizations to review cyber security measures.

The alert warned:

“DHS and FBI characterize this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing and gained remote access into energy sector networks. After obtaining access, the Russian government cyber actors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to industrial control systems.”

A senior administration speaking on condition of anonymity, said:

“It is the judgment of the DHS than Russian government cyber hackers were behind the hacking of organizations in the energy sector. We were able to identify where they were located within those business systems and remove them from those business systems.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat argued the sanctions do not go far enough given the Russian assault’s scope and impact on the election.

Schiff said in a statement:

“The sanctions today are a grievous disappointment, and fall far short of what is needed to respond to that attack on our democracy, let alone deter Russia’s escalating aggression, which now includes a chemical weapons attack on the soil of our closest ally.”

Schiff added the Obama administration had already authorized many of the sanctions, and argued the new sanctions are simply because of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump ties to Russia.

He said:

“It appears that Mr. Mueller is doing more to place consequences on Russia’s behavior than the rest of the administration.”

In January, President Trump refused to implement Russian sanctions Congress compelled him to sign into law.

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.