According to a report from Bloomberg, the Biden administration is wrapping up its review of alleged Russian actions and could announce measures against Moscow soon.
One unnamed source told Bloomberg the moves could involve sanctions on individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the expulsion of Russian diplomats the US will claim have ties to Russian intelligence.
The actions would be framed as “retaliation” for the hack of the software firm SolarWinds and alleged election interference. Both accusations are entirely unfounded, as the US has failed to present evidence for either claim.
In January, US intelligence officials claimed the SolarWinds hack was “likely” Russian in origin without offering evidence, and the Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement. Congressional testimony from SolarWinds’ current CEO and former CEO revealed that the software firm’s password, which was “solarwinds123,” was publicly available on the internet for years. And a cybersecurity expert that used to advise SolarWinds said the hack “could have been done by any attacker, easily.”
Last month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an assessment that Putin ordered an influence campaign to “denigrate” President Biden during the 2020 election. Again, missing from the assessment was any evidence or an explanation of how US intelligence reached the conclusion.
Another issue that the Biden administration said it was reviewing early on was the claim that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan. This accusation first appeared in The New York Times last June. But since then, just about every US military leader said no intelligence corroborated the story, and the claim has essentially been debunked. The Russian bounty story has quietly dropped from the list of anti-Russian talking points coming from Biden officials.
President Biden also ordered a review of the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, which the US has already taken action over through sanctions.
The Bloomberg report hinted that the action could go beyond sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats. A report from The New York Times last month said the US was preparing cyberattacks against Russia over the SolarWinds hack.