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Cyber Security: Obama Administration Responds to Alleged Russian Hacking With Cyber Sanctions

Media Alert

WASHINGTON, January 10, 2017 - On December 29, 2016, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on eleven Russian individuals and entities in response to their alleged participation in cyber activities supporting Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The implementation of these sanctions marks the first use of existing authority to impose sanctions in response to attributed malicious cyber activity.  The introduction of bipartisan sanctions legislation in the Senate is expected to occur on January 10th.

Baker Botts International Trade and Privacy & Data Security lawyers are available to comment.

In addition to the implementation of these sanctions, the U.S. Government prohibited Russian diplomats from accessing two Russian recreational compounds in the U.S. and declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non-grata, revoking their diplomatic status and visas in the United States. U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security also added the two Russian intelligence agencies and three Russia-based entities to the Entity List, imposing licensing restrictions for exports, re-exports, and in-country transfers under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”).

The future of these and other U.S. sanctions against Russia is uncertain in advance of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Congressional hearings have evinced support for maintaining existing sanctions against the Putin government or strengthening these, while an advisor to the President-elect has publicly questioned whether these most recent sanctions represent a proportional response to Russia’s alleged actions. As these sanctions were authorized by and implemented through executive orders, they may be removed or amended by the president, without the advice or approval of Congress.


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