Biden chief of staff says hack response will go beyond ‘just sanctions’
22 Dec 2020

The incoming White House chief of staff said on Sunday that President-elect Joe Biden’s response to the massive hacking campaign uncovered last week would go beyond sanctions.

Ron Klain said Biden was mapping out ways to push back against the suspected Russian hackers who have penetrated half a dozen U.S. government agencies and left thousands of American companies exposed.

“It’s not just sanctions. It’s steps and things we could do to degrade the capacity of foreign actors to engage in this sort of attack,” Klain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Options being mulled by the Biden administration to punish Moscow over its alleged role include financial penalties and retaliatory hacks on Russian infrastructure, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

The Kremlin denies any role in the hacking. Speaking at an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised its work, saying he was impressed by the “difficult professional operations that have been conducted.”

Biden, who becomes president on Jan. 20, would likely have bipartisan support for a muscular reaction to the espionage campaign, lawmakers indicated on Sunday.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said the data breach was “extraordinarily damaging” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“This demands a response,” he said. “This is something we have to address as soon as possible.”

By Raphael Satter, Reuters, 20 December 2020

Read more at Reuters

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