A vocal group of lawmakers is criticizing the Obama administration for a lack of a White House response to a suspected Russian government-backed cyber campaign to interfere with U.S. elections. They say the absence of any retaliation emboldens Russian hackers to manipulate the election process as campaign season is in high gear as the election approaches, raising further concerns about an electoral system that had already come under criticism as flawed.

Cyber policy experts and former government officials say any response from the presidential candidates before the election will have unpredictable consequences for their campaigns in the run-up to the vote.

"Both candidates are going to be asked what their position is and what should be done about it," said Ed McAndrew, a former DOJ national security cyber specialist. "I think that the response, unless it is a strong response, is going to create more potential issues than it's going to solve, and that [is] certainly so for the candidates."