Obama says he issued ultimatum to Putin on hacking

Warning halted Russia’s alleged cyber attacks, Obama says at year-end news conference

Obama says he issued ultimatum to Putin on hacking

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Barack Obama said Friday he issued an ultimatum to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year that ended Moscow’s alleged cyber attacks on the U.S.

Obama said he told Putin in September to “cut it out” during a meeting in China, and that if the Russian leader did not comply “there were going to be some serious consequences” for Russia.

“In fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process,” he told reporters before leaving Washington for his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

Obama said he had a similar conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping and warned him against cyber activities that target “trade secrets and proprietary technology”.

That warning has been less successful in stopping the activity, however, Obama said.

“What we've seen is some evidence that they have reduced but not completely eliminated these activities,” he said.

Washington has long accused China of attempting to steal government and business secrets to benefit Beijing.

More recently, the Obama administration has engaged in a public blame game with Russia for hacking that lead up to the presidential election, saying Moscow tried to influence the outcome of the Nov. 8 polls by hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and later the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Russia adamantly denies any connection to the cyber attacks and has challenged Washington to produce evidence to back up its claims.

Obama has ordered a full review of Russian hacking going back to the 2008 election he wants completed by the time he leave office Jan. 20, and has urged patience until it is finished.

He said President-elect Donald Trump, who also dismissed the claims despite findings from America's intelligence community, should be "similarly concerned" about Russia's alleged activities and that the matter should not be "a political football".

At times during his campaign, Trump reflected positively on Putin and once encouraged Moscow to hack his opponent's email.

Obama said former President Ronald Reagan, who is idolized by the Republican Party, "would roll over in his grave” at the apparent deference some Republicans, including top lawmakers, have shown to Putin.

Switching to Syria, Obama said he personally felt responsible for the carnage wrought by Syria's ongoing conflict, now on its sixth year.

"I felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers," he told reporters. " I felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced."

The American president acknowledged the shortcomings of his policy to end the conflict, and that he "cannot claim that we've been successful" in attempting to end the war through diplomatic and political means.

"That's something that, as is true with a lot of issues and problems around the world, I have to go to bed with every night," he said.

Still, he insisted that given his options, he chose the path that was best for the U.S. “given what realistically we could get done.

"Unless we were all in and willing to take over Syria, we were going to have problems," he said.

Obama has long shirked from the large-scale military interventions of his predecessor, George W. Bush, opting to instead rely on smaller contingents of special operations forces and local partners to combat threats.

Americans have grown similarly weary of major military endeavors following a more than decade-long foray into Afghanistan and an invasion of Iraq that continues to pose unintended consequences for the U.S.

Obama maintained that culpability for ongoing abuses in Syria lies squarely with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, principally Russia who he blamed for thwarting international efforts to end the conflict.

Last Mod: 17 Aralık 2016, 01:49
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