US President Donald Trump considers signing an executive order as soon as Wednesday September 12th that will impose sanctions on any foreign firms or individuals who interfere in US elections, in the light of intelligence agency conclusions.
According to Reuters, the move comes as intelligence and law enforcement agencies prepare to defend the November 6th congressional elections from probable attacks despite Trump slamming the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
Sanction targets could involve individual people or entire companies accused of meddling in US elections by cyber-attacks or other means, a US official said.
“The administration is keen to set a new norm in cyberspace,” the official added. “This is a first step in stating boundaries and publicly announcing our response for bad behaviour.”
The order is due to be the latest in a range of Trump administration efforts to look tough on election security before voting in November that will decide whether Trump’s Republican Party can keep its majorities in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate.
The order will put many agencies in charge of deciding if interfering occurred, led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and including the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Homeland Security Department, the sources said.
Based on a recent draft of the order reviewed by the US official, it will require any federal agency aware of election interference by foreigners to take the information to the office of Director of National Intelligence.
Congress approved a Russia sanctions bill more than a year ago. Some lawmakers - including some Republicans as well as Democrats - have slammed what they saw as the administration’s reluctance to implement it. Trump signed the bill only after Congress passed it with huge majorities.