US to give ‘proportional response’ to Kremlin attacks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama as they meet during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTX1WI5J

Washington—The U.S. on Tuesday suggested that its response to cyber attacks allegedly carried out by Russian hackers will not be limited to the cyber domain.
“The range of responses that are open to the president extend beyond just the cyber realm,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
Potential retaliation includes sanctions and other unspecified diplomatic efforts “that could make clear our concern for this with Russia’s nefarious behavior in cyberspace”, he added.
Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that the U.S. would respond to the hacks “at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin will “know it” when it happens, he said. The admission has fueled speculation that President Barack Obama has already authorized or will authorize covert action against Russia following a series of hacks that have targeted Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the Obama administration has blamed on Moscow.
Asked about Biden’s comments, Earnest said the vice president “certainly understands the need for caution and prudence when considering potential responses.” “But he also is somebody who has his own deeply ingrained sense of what’s necessary to protect the American people and to protect the United States of America,” he said.
Earlier this month, American intelligence agencies directly blamed Russian leaders for an attack on the Democratic National Committee and the resultant leak of emails that caused an upheaval at the committee, including the ouster of former president Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Earnest stressed that the U.S. response would be “appropriate” and “proportional”.—Agencies