The Obama administration struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services.
The administration also sanctioned four top officers of one of those services, the military intelligence unit known as the G.R.U., which the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
The expulsion of the 35 diplomats was in response to the harrassment of American diplomats in Russia, officials said. But some individuals involved are believed to be linked to cyberactivity, according to two officials briefed on the intelligence. In addition, the State Department announced the closure of two “recreational facilities” — one in New York, another in Maryland — that it said were used for Russian intelligence activities, although officials would not say whether they were specifically used in the election-related hacks.