Barack Obama suggests US could launch cyber weapon against Russia over hacking claims

'We can do stuff to you,' Obama told Vladimir Putin's government

U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Breifing Room at the White House December 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. In what could be the last press conference of his presidency, afterwards Obama will be leaving for his annual family vacation in Hawaii
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Breifing Room at the White House December 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. In what could be the last press conference of his presidency, afterwards Obama will be leaving for his annual family vacation in Hawaii

The US is about to launch cyber attacks against Russia, Barack Obama has suggested.

The country is intending to "do stuff" to the country in retaliation for what he said was Vladimir Putin's state's interference in the election.

President Obama said that the White House intends to send a clear message to Russia that intrusions into its elections and computer systems wouldn't be tolerated. But he didn't make clear what that response would be.

He said only that the US would look to “send a clear message to Russia, or others, not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you.” It's like that at least part of that response will remain secret, he said, claiming that "some of it we will do in a way that they will know, but not everybody will".

That was apparently a reference to the US's own cyber weapons and hacking capabilities, which have been expanded over recent years. But it could also refer to other efforts, including traditional intelligence work and spying or sanctions on President Putin's associates.

President Obama made the comments at his final press conference of the year, and potentially his last as the US President. In it, he addressed a range of issues but concentrated on intelligence reports claiming that the Russians had launched sustained and damaging hacking attempts on the US election – which Hillary Clinton has claimed helped win Donald Trump the Presidency.

President Obama said Russian hacking during the election was not "some elaborate, complicated espionage scheme." The unsophisticated nature of what transpired concerns him and "it should concern all of us," he said.

During the same conference, he said that he had spoken with President Putin and told him to "cut it out".

He also defended his own response to the hacking allegations when they were made at the time.

President Obama said with the "hyperpartisan atmosphere" of the election, his main concern was the integrity of the election process. He said he wanted to make sure the U.S. public understood that the White House was trying to "play this thing straight."

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