BELGRADE – The White House is considering launching a clandestine cyber operation against the Russian government to counter Moscow’s alleged interference in the US presidential election, media reported citing intelligence officials.
The Obama administration has directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to provide options for a cyber operation that would “embarrass” the Kremlin, NBC News reported on Friday.
Vice President Joe Biden said the United States will “send a message” to Russian hackers who it has accused of trying to influence the presidential election.
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 election by leaking the e-mails of top Democratic party officials and through other breaches.
“We’re sending a message” and Russian President Vladimir Putin will get it, Biden said, smile wryly. “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 White House is considering an “unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia” aimed at “embarrassing” the Kremlin leadership.
“The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation,” the report said.
Former intelligence officers, the report added, have claimed the CIA has gathered documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the White House’s threats to retaliate “bewildering.”