Obama Orders Sanctions Against Russia, Expels Operatives, in Response to Hacking

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The Obama administration announced sanctions Thursday against Russia’s intelligence services, while ejecting dozens of intelligence operatives from the U.S., as part of a response to what it says are efforts by Moscow to influence the 2016 election.

Using an executive order, President Obama sanctioned the GRU and the FSB — two of Russia’s intelligence services as well as other entities and individuals associated with the GRU. The cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack of its emails earlier this year concluded the hacking came from the Fancy Bear group, believed to be affiliated with the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

In addition to the sanctions, the State Department has declared 35 Russian intelligence operatives “persona non grata” in the U.S., giving them 72 hours to leave, and is shutting down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.

The Maryland property is a 45-acre property at Pioneer Point, and was purchased by the Soviet government in 1972. 

The New York property is on Long Island and is 14 acres and was purchased by the Soviet government in 1954.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in response to the announcement that Moscow will consider retaliatory measures.

“We think that such steps by a U.S. administration that has three weeks left to work are aimed at two things: to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, to deal a…

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