WASHINGTON — Since the Obama administration formally accused Russia about a week ago of trying to interfere in the election, there has been intense speculation about whether President Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to conduct a retaliatory cyberstrike.
The strongest hint so far has come from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who either revealed American plans for a strike or engaged in one of the better bits of psychological warfare in recent times.
Taping an interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Biden was asked whether the United States was preparing to send a message to the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Days before, the American intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security declared that the Russian leadership was responsible for attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the leaking of stolen emails.
“We’re sending a message,” Mr. Biden told Chuck Todd, the show’s host. “We have the capacity to do it.”
“He’ll know it,” Mr. Biden added. “And it will be at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”
Later, after Mr. Biden said he was not concerned that Russia could “fundamentally alter the election,” Mr. Todd asked whether the American public would know if the message to Mr. Putin had been sent.