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US Treasury Eases Some Restrictions on Russian Security Agency


Cars drive past the headquarters of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB in central Moscow on Dec. 30, 2016.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it is easing some restrictions on business transactions with Russia's Security Service (FSB), despite cyber-sanctions put in place by former President Barack Obama.

The order published on the Treasury Department's website appeared to ease restrictions on some information technology products, and allow companies to pay up to $5,000 per year for permits or licenses that are issued by the FSB.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the move doesn't mean the U.S. is easing sanctions on Russia.

"We’re not easing sanctions. The Treasury Department, from what I understand, it’s a fairly common practice for the Treasury Department after sanctions are put in place to go back and look at whether or not there needs to be specific carve outs for different, either, industries, or products or services that need to be going back and forth but I would refer you back to the treasury department on that one," he said.

President Donald Trump was also asked about the development and said he is "not easing anything."

Former President Barack Obama strengthened the sanctions in December after U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russia of hacking computers connected to the Democratic Party as part of a broad campaign to undermine presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

U.S. intelligence agencies are still investigating the breach.