Thursday, December 29, 2016

BREAKING: United States declares 35 Russian diplomats in New York and San Francisco "persona non grata" they have 72 hours to leave U.S.

Notice: Be sure to read Update 3

This is Obama's response to alleged Russian hacking.

This is a developing story, return to this post for more details.


Paul Ryan responds in neocon anti-Russia fashion:
Statement on Russia Sanctions
—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration's announcement of new sanctions against Russia:
"Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world. While today’s action by the administration is overdue, it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia. And it serves as a prime example of this administration's ineffective foreign policy that has left America weaker in the eyes of the world." 


White House statement:
Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.

All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions. In October, my Administration publicized our assessment that Russia took actions intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.  These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year.  Such activities have consequences.  Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response.

I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners.  Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals:  the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.  In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.  The State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and is declaring “persona non grata” 35 Russian intelligence operatives.  Finally, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are releasing declassified technical information on Russian civilian and military intelligence service cyber activity, to help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities.

These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized. In addition to holding Russia accountable for what it has done, the United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behavior, and interfere with democratic governance. To that end, my Administration will be providing a report to Congress in the coming days about Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous elections.


The following statement was issued by the Treasury in conjunction with Obama's statement. Note well: The two sanctioned appear to be bad actor common criminals using cyber techniques and having nothing to do with the Russian government or US elections. Looks like a bit of Obama-Treasury misdirection going on here by adding this to the hacking response.

WASHINGTON – Building on the authority previously provided to the Secretary of the Treasury, the President amended Executive Order 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” which was issued by President Obama on April 1, 2015 to authorize sanctions against individuals and entities that threaten the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States through involvement in malicious cyber-enabled activities that constitute tampering with, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.  In an Annex to the amended E.O., the President imposed sanctions on five entities and four individuals in response to the Government of Russia’s interference with U.S. elections and processes in recent months.

In a parallel action, today, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on two Russian individuals for engaging in malicious cyber-enabled activities pursuant to E.O. 13694.  Specifically, Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan are being designated for their activities related to the significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for private financial gain.  As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons within U.S. jurisdiction must be blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

“The integrity and stability of our electronic systems are of utmost importance to our national security and we will hold accountable those who seek to compromise or tamper with those systems,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.  “Treasury will use all of its financial tools as part of the U.S. Government’s effort to counter those who engage in malicious cyber activities against our financial system or our national institutions.”

Today’s actions are the first sanctions imposed under this authority.  These measures reflect the continuing commitment of the United States Government to counter and deter the most significant cyber threats we face, including those who use cyber means to undermine democratic processes or institutions or to steal the financial and personal information of innocent individuals.

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev was designated for having engaged in significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of financial information for private financial gain.  Bogachev directly benefited from and enabled other cybercriminals to conduct their malicious cyber-enabled activities utilizing the Zeus malware, which he played a significant role in developing.  He managed the distribution and sales of the Zeus malware, as well as tailoring subsequent versions of Zeus to meet his clients’ needs.

Bogachev is also directly responsible for the development and use of Cryptolocker, a form of ransomware, which is known to have held over 120,000 U.S. victims’ data hostage for financial gain.  Bogachev and his cybercriminal associates are responsible for the theft of over $100 million from U.S. financial institutions and government agencies.

Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan

Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan engaged in the significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of personal identifiers for private financial gain.  Belan compromised the computer networks of at least three major United States-based e-commerce companies.  Belan used his unauthorized access on the e-commerce company networks to steal user data, including email addresses, customer names, and encrypted passwords, belonging to approximately 200 million accounts worldwide.  Belan actively engaged in successful efforts to sell the stolen information for private financial gain.


  1. Very interesting "last throes" from Obama. Man, he really is a an errand boy sent by grocery clerks...

  2. "To that end, my Administration will be providing a report to Congress in the coming days about Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous elections."

    Previous elections too. Justin Amash doesn't sound like he has been briefed on that. Obama has not briefed Congress in my evaluation. A dozen shiny balls tossed to the media that have no basis by which to evaluate their validity.

  3. In 1981 CIA Director William Casey was quoted as saying, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    When Obama made his grand entrance at the 2004 Democratic convention I remember thinking, he was overly polished and downright spooky at the same time. As he nears the end of his time on the world stage, I have to say he has grown creepier each year. A creepy errand boy indeed.

  4. Thank GD Trump was elected over Hillary. WW3 would've been the ruin of us all!