Courtesy of Politico:
Widespread paralysis in the Obama administration prevented the U.S. from developing an effective response to combat Russian hacking in the 2016 election, according to a new, bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The panel found that the U.S. government “was not well-postured to counter Russian election interference activity with a full range of readily-available policy options.”
The Obama administration issued “high-level warnings of potential retaliation” to Moscow, however the Kremlin “continued its cyber activity, to include further public dissemination of stolen emails, clandestine social media-based influence operations, and penetration of state voting infrastructure through Election Day 2016.”
The response to the digital assault was also “tempered … over concerns about appearing to act politically on behalf of one candidate, undermining public confidence in the election, and provoking additional Russian actions,” the panel found.
Okay, I take issue with much of this.
President Obama was stuck in a no-win situation at the time, with Trump openly questioning the validity of he upcoming election, and the administration trying to protect us from Russian interference while not appearing to be stacking the deck on Hillary’s behalf.
And let’s not forget one of the main reasons that Obama felt his hands were tied.
The 54-page, partially redacted report does show that the administration felt constrained by partisanship, not only on the campaign trail, but in Congress. It details resistance by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to issuing a bipartisan statement in 2016 about the Russian effort.
Former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco recalled a conversation with McConnell where he stated “you security people should be careful that you’re not getting used,” which she interpreted as the GOP leader doubting the intelligence concluding Russia was attempting to interfere.
In other words McConnell was voicing distrust in the intelligence saying the Russians were behind the hacks and also signaling that he was prepared to the American voters that the whole thing was a partisan attempt to destroy the Republicans candidate’s chances of winning.
What exactly was President Obama supposed to do?
What he did do was make sure that internal investigations were started and that they would continue after he was no longer in office.
And do you know what?
The Republicans attacked him for doing that, and suggested that it was also a kind of election interference designed to damage the Trump presidency after he won.
So no, I do not think that this was Obama’s fault in the least.
He did all that he could with what he had to work with.
The blame for why the Russians were successful in 2016, and the reason they might be successful in 2020, lies fully on the shoulders of the Republican party, who actually do not really care so long as it benefits their candidate.