Russia’s Interference with the U.S. Elections – Is it Cyber Warfare?

14716089_1618245981809295_4331059096773208180_nRecent news stories report that Russian President Vladimir Putin is directly implicated in manipulating the 2016 presidential election. Yesterday, the New York Times published an article with a chronology of the events surrounding this allegation. What impact does this have on our right to sovereignty?  What laws are implicated? This complex international law question has been discussed by legal scholars in the past, and recent events have renewed this discussion. Has this happened in the past? According to a recent article by Dov H. Levin in the Washington Post, it has occurred at least twice by Russia. Russia’s behavior is not unique. Other countries have interfered with U.S. Presidential elections in the past including France and Germany. But the U.S. has also interfered with Japan’s and Nicaragua’s elections. Is this some form of cyber warfare? How do we prosecute the hackers? These questions have come to the fore recently and are widely written about.  The New York Times has recently updated an informative graphic on the “Russian Hacks.”


  1. Eric Lipton, et al, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. (Dec. 13, 2016)
  2. Andrew Fletcher, Russian Hacking and the U.S. Election: Against International Law? Mich. J. Int’l L.(Sept. 29, 2016)
  3. Dov H. Levin, Sure, the U.S. and Russia Often Meddle in Foreign Elections. Does it Matter? Wash. Post (Sept. 7, 2016)
  4. Following the Links from Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election, N.Y. Times (Dec. 13, 2016)
  5. Adam Goldman & Matt Apuzzo, U.S. Faces Tall Hurdles in Detaining or Deterring Russian Hackers, N.Y.  Times (Dec 15, 2016).

 Select further resources

Books @ Pace Law Library:

  1. Computer Network Attack and International Law / Michael N. Schmitt & Brian T. O’Donnell, eds.
  2. Cyberwar: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts / edited by Jens David Ohlin, Kevin Govern, Claire Finkelstein
  3. Cyber-attacks and the Exploitable Imperfections of International Law / by Yaroslav Radziwill
  4. Cyber Warfare and the Laws of War / Heather Harrison Dinniss
  5. Roosevelt’s Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War / Richard Moe

Research Guides:

  1. Election 2016 (Pace Law)
  2. Elections (Georgetown University)
  3. Elections (Oregon State University)
  4. Cyber Warfare, Cyber Terrorism, & Network Security: e-Books
  5. Cyberwarfare (U.S. Naval War College)

Select Databases:

  1. Google Scholar – Cyber Warfare
  2. Google Books- Cyber Warfare
  3. SSRN – Cyber Warfare

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