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U.S. Expands Sanctions, Takes Other Steps in Response to Russia’s Election-Related Cyber Operations

January 4, 2017, Covington Alert

President Obama announced several actions on December 29 to respond to Russian cyber operations that the U.S. intelligence community previously had concluded were intended to influence the U.S. presidential election. Specifically, the President revised and expanded an earlier executive order that blocks the property and interests in property of persons that engage in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities, and designated 5 Russian entities and 6 Russian individuals for sanctions pursuant to the revised and expanded order. The President also released a report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) containing declassified information attributing cyber attacks to Russia, expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and barred Russian access to two compounds in the United States. Additionally, today, the U.S. Commerce Department added the five designated Russian entities involved in Russia’s election-related cyber operations to the Entity List, which prohibits the export, reexport, or transfer of any item subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to the listed entities, absent Commerce Department licensing. Although these actions are politically significant, they do not expand the U.S. sectoral sanctions against Russia and should have a limited near-term economic effect.

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