The Obama administration shut down a luxury retreat for Russian diplomats on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on Thursday as part of its response to U.S. intelligence reports that Russian hackers sought to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
The Soviet Union purchased the 45-acre property near Centreville in 1972, and Russian officials said diplomats and their families used the site as a recreational facility for decades, featuring a mansion, tennis courts and a swimming pool, CBS News reported Friday. U.S. officials believe the retreat has been used for “intelligence collection activities,” according to the Baltimore Sun.
The Obama administration also shut down a retreat on Long Island, New York, sanctioned two Russian intelligence services and ordered 35 Russian government officials to leave the country within 72 hours, The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday.
Russian operatives are suspected of hacking into computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager as well as leaking information to the public through sites like Wikileaks, The Baltimore Sun reported. Investigators believe a hacking unit known as APT28 targeted Democratic Party officials with “malicious emails last spring that tricked recipients into changing their passwords,” CBS reported.
Alison Davis, who lives nearby the Russian retreat, told CBS the locals don’t interact with the diplomats much, but they “coexist peacefully.”
“We see the diplomat tags driving here all the time, very friendly,” Davis said. “We see them biking, say hello.”
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