Obama told Putin to “Cut it out” over election hacking
US President Barack Obama on Friday said that he ordered Russia’s Vladimir Putin in person to “cut it out” in a conversation about email hacking ahead of the US election.
The outgoing President said that Putin knew about the hacks. Obama said, “Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.” Obama added that he had warned Mr Putin of serious consequences at a summit in September.
President Obama has vowed to retaliate against Moscow over the cyber-meddling, which US intelligence says was designed to help Republican Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, a Putin critic.
Obama has promised a “proportional” response to the hacking of the Democratic Party and of emails belonging to defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
He appeared to suggest that the US could go on the offensive with its own cyber muscle, stating, “Whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them.” Obama’s comments came during his last news conference of the year.
“Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you,” the US president said.
“In early September when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t,” Obama added.
Regarding specific acts of retaliation, Obama said some would be carried out publicly, but that in other cases, “the message will be directly received by the Russians and not publicised.”