DNC Convention before hack Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Kremlin and the US Election

In an election that turned on 100,000 votes in three key states, some observers argue that Russian cyber interference in the political process – if not in the voting process itself – may have had a significant impact. Can such Russian behavior be deterred in the future?

CAMBRIDGE – In early November, US President Barack Obama reportedly contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin personally to warn against cyber attacks aimed at the American presidential election. The previous month, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, publicly accused Russia’s most senior officials of using cyber attacks to “interfere with the US election process.”

In the aftermath of the November 8 election, no firm evidence has emerged that hacking interfered with voting machines or other electoral machinery. But in an election that turned on 100,000 votes in three key states, some observers argue that Russian cyber interference in the political process may have had a significant impact.

Can such Russian behavior be deterred in the future? Deterrence always depends on who and what one is trying to deter.

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