WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States Vice-President Joe Biden has dismissed suggestions that the White House has failed to respond to Russian meddling in the US election, cryptically stating that Washington would be sending Moscow "a message" regarding its alleged hacking.
In an NBC interview excerpt released on Friday (Oct 14), Mr Biden paused and gave a wry smile when asked why the US has not acted a week after US officials formally accused the Russian government of trying to interfere with the 2016 White House race.
"We're sending a message" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Biden said, smiling and nodding his head gently. "We have the capacity to do it and the message will be sent. He'll know it and it will be at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact."
Asked whether the public will know, Mr Biden responded tersely: "I hope not."
Officials have in the past said any cyberattacks on important US institutions would prompt a response, which could take the form of diplomatic or economic sanctions, or possibly cyber measures.
NBC later reported that the Central Intelligence Agency was preparing a retaliatory cyberattack "designed to harass and 'embarrass' the Kremlin leadership".
A joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence was the first official accusation by Washington against Moscow in a spate of e-mail hacks.