Enlarge / This is how we used to mess with the results of elections. The Internet has made it a lot easier. (credit: US Air Force photo)

Even if the Russian government was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and various other political organizations and figures, the US government’s options under international law are extremely limited, according to Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and former US assistant attorney general.

Goldsmith, who served at the Justice Department during the administration of George W. Bush and resigned after a dispute over the legal justifications for “enhanced interrogation” techniques, spoke on Tuesday about the DNC hack during a Yale University panel.

“Assuming that the attribution is accurate,” Goldsmith said, “the US has very little basis for a principled objection.” In regard to the theft of data from the DNC and others, Goldsmith said that “it’s hard to say that it violates international law, and the US acknowledges that it engages in the theft of foreign political data all the time.”

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Thanks, Internet! Messing with elections not just for the CIA anymore