Biden’s Chief of Staff Says Response to Hack Will Go Beyond Sanctions

Sources told Reuters that the Biden administration is considering financial penalties and cyberattacks on Russia's infrastructure

The incoming White House chief of staff for Joe Biden said on Sunday that the next administration’s response to a recently discovered cyberattack that targeted several government agencies will be more than “just sanctions.”

“In terms of the measures that a Biden administration would take in response to an attack like this — I want to be very clear — it’s not just sanctions,” Ron Klain told CBS. “It’s also steps and things we could do to degrade the capacity of foreign actors to repeat this sort of attack.”

Since the hack on the software company SolarWinds was first reported, many in the media and in Congress were quick to blame Russia. Despite a lack of evidence that Moscow was involved, the Biden administration is reportedly mulling ways to retaliate against Russia. Sources told Reuters that options being considered are financial penalties and hacks on Russia’s infrastructure.

When asked if he believed Russia was behind the cyberattack, Klain did not answer directly and said the current administration should handle attribution. On Saturday, President Trump made his first public comments on the hack on Twitter and appeared to downplay the incident.

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control,” he wrote.

The president also downplayed the idea that Russia was responsible, shifting the blame to his favorite foreign bogeyman. “Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).”

The cybersecurity firm FireEye first reported the hack. FireEye, Microsoft, and the US government are currently investigating the incident and have yet to attribute blame.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.