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NEW YORK, January 1. /TASS/. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer has wondered whether the Obama administration’s response to the alleged Russian hacking against the US political institutions was justified and proportionate.
"I think one of the questions that we have is why the magnitude of this?" Spicer said in an interview with the ABC News channel speaking about the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two compounds owned by the Russian government.
"The question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken?" he said.
Spicer recalled the cyberattacks in 2015 against the US government and that Washington accused China of being behind them. "China took over a million records, sensitive data of people like me who had worked in the government at any time, classified or personal information, where we lived, things we had written down on our applications, our security clearances, and not, a White House statement wasn't even issued. No action publicly was taken," he said.
"So there is a question about whether there's a political retribution here versus a diplomatic response," Spicer said.
Spicer also confirmed that President-elect Donald Trump is due to meet with the heads of the US intelligence communities next week and "get a full briefing on what they knew, why they knew it, whether or not the Obama administration's response was in proportion to the actions taken."
The speculations on hackers, who allegedly act upon Russia’s instructions, have been regularly emerging in US mass media reports over the past months. In July, WikiLeaks published emails stolen by hackers from the systems of the US Democratic National Committee (DNC). The US administration claims that Russian hackers were tied to the cyberattacks.
On December 29, the outgoing US administration slapped new sanctions on Moscow over the alleged hacking into US political institutions. These sanctions apply to several Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, the US authorities declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata and shut down two recreational compounds in New York and Maryland owned by the Russian government.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would not expel US diplomats from Russia in response to "unfriendly actions by the outgoing US administration."
Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in cyberattacks. Commenting on the new sanctions, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they were a manifestation of aggression.