THEY KNEW…YET THEY DID NOTHING TO STOP IT…
Barack Obama and his regime knew as early as December 2015 that the Russians were likely responsible for the hacking the DNC computers. So, why are we just now getting indictments on 12 Russian Intelligence officials responsible for the hacking, and why are the Democrats still trying to tie the hacking to President Trump and his campaign?
According to Yahoo News, the Obama White House’s chief cyber official testified Wednesday that proposals he was developing to counter Russia’s attack on the U.S. presidential election were put on a “back burner” after he was ordered to “stand down” his efforts in the summer of 2016.
The comments by Michael Daniel, who served as White House “cyber security coordinator” between 2012 and January of last year, provided his first public confirmation of a much-discussed passage in the book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” co-written by this reporter and David Corn, that detailed his thwarted efforts to respond to the Russian attack.
CIA Director John Brennan was angry. On Aug. 4, 2016, he was on the phone with Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the intelligence agency that succeeded the KGB. The phone call was one of their regularly scheduled ones, the main subject once again the horrific civil war in Syria. By this point, however, Brennan had had it with the Russian spy chief. For the past few years, Brennan’s pleas for cooperation in defusing the Syrian crisis had gone nowhere. And after they finished discussing Syria — again with no progress — Brennan brought up two other issues not on the official agenda.
First, Brennan raised the problem of Russia’s harassment of U.S. diplomats — an especially pressing matter at Langley after an undercover CIA officer had been beaten outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow two months earlier. The continuing mistreatment of U.S. diplomats, Brennan told Bortnikov, was “irresponsible, reckless, intolerable and needed to stop.” And, he pointedly noted, it was Bortnikov’s own FSB “that has been most responsible for this outrageous behavior.”
Then Brennan turned to an even more sensitive issue: Russia’s interference in the American election. Brennan was now aware that at least a year earlier Russian hackers had begun their cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee. We know you’re doing this, Brennan said to the Russian. He pointed out that Americans would be enraged to find out Moscow was seeking to subvert the election — and that such an operation could backfire. Brennan warned Bortnikov that if Russia continued this information warfare, there would be a price to pay. He did not specify the consequences.
Bortnikov, as Brennan expected, denied Russia was doing anything to influence the election. This was, he groused, Washington yet again scapegoating Moscow. Brennan repeated his warning. Once more Bortnikov claimed there was no Russian meddling. But, he added, he would inform Russian President Vladimir Putin of Brennan’s comments.
This was the first of several warnings that the Obama administration would send to Moscow. But the question of how forcefully to respond would soon divide the White House staff, pitting the National Security Council’s top analysts for Russia and cyber issues against senior policymakers within the administration. It was a debate that would culminate that summer with a dramatic directive from Obama’s national security adviser to the NSC staffers developing aggressive proposals to strike back against the Russians: “Stand down.”
They came during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing into how the Obama administration dealt with Russian cyber and information warfare attacks in 2016, an issue that has become one of the more politically sensitive subjects in the panel’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and any links to the Trump campaign.
The view that the Obama administration failed to adequately piece together intelligence about the Russian campaign and develop a forceful response has clearly gained traction with the intelligence committee. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the panel, said in an opening statement that “we were caught flat-footed at the outset and our collective response was inadequate to meet Russia’s escalation.”
That conclusion was reinforced Wednesday by another witness, Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for Europe during the Obama administration. She told the panel that she had been briefed as early as December 2015 about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee — long before senior DNC officials were aware of it — and that the intrusion had all the hallmarks of a Russian operation.