The Hill reports: Pressure is growing on the White House to respond to Russia’s apparent hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), placing President Obama in a delicate political position.
Evidence has mounted that the Russian government was behind the theft of tens of thousands of damaging internal emails from the DNC, leading prominent lawmakers from both sides of aisle to call for some form of response.
The ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee have all issued calls for Obama to “seek justice” for the alleged attack.
But should Obama publicly point the finger at the Kremlin, it could expose covert intelligence capabilities and damage already touchy discussions over Russia’s behavior in Syria and Ukraine, experts say.
That dynamic reflects one the central challenges the White House faces in responding to cyberattacks. Without any international rules of engagement, officials must weigh a response to each attack individually.
The FBI has opened an investigation into the hack, but because of the risks, experts say, the public is unlikely to ever know the results, even if it is able to prove Russia’s guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Obama has a slate of possible responses at his disposal, but each carries its own set of problems.
“They are really in between a rock and a hard place. Everything they do has a downside,” said Herb Lin, a senior research scholar who studies cyber policy and security at Stanford. [Continue reading…]