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Biden administration sets the stage for retaliation against Russia over SolarWinds, election interference: report

  • The Biden administration finished an intelligence report on alleged Russian meddling, Bloomberg reported.
  • The review could lead to retaliatory action against Russia over the SolarWinds hack and election interference, according to the report.
  • Last month, Biden announced sanctions against Russian officials over the treatment of Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden administration completed an intelligence review of alleged Russian meddling in the SolarWinds cybersecurity attack and interference in US elections, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The review could set the stage for possible retaliatory actions like enacting sanctions or expulsion of Russian intel officers in the US, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. 

Now that the intelligence review is complete, the US could respond by “singling out people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as agencies linked to election interference,” Bloomberg reported.

In January, a joint US intelligence task force issued a rare initial public statement to the SolarWinds hack that it was “likely Russian in nature,” Insider’s Azmi Haroun reported.

Last month, a declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Russia was among the countries that authorized covert influence operations aimed at altering the outcome of the 2020 election, which ended up being unsuccessful, according to Insider’s Sonam Sheth.

Representatives from the White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the State Department declined to comment.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the review in a press briefing on January 21, saying it was intended “to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions.”

“And to this end, the President is also issuing a tasking to the intelligence community for its full assessment of the SolarWinds cyber breach, Russian interference in the 2020 election, its use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the alleged bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

The news of the review comes after President Joe Biden announced sanctions against Russian officials last month over the arrest and alleged poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny, but has not yet acted upon the other three areas Psaki mentioned in January.

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