Sunday, June 25, 2017

Got the Hacking Goods on Putin-Russia: Now the GOP Blames Obama — WTF

“Election hacking; Where; Who?” I only see some 400-lb guy or Witch

Denial, Mr. Trump, is more than the name of a river in Egypt

This major update just in and related directly to the following posted earlier. It addresses the Trump-GOP blame game shift and deflect everything away from Trump and point blank to Mr. Obama. That is why I call this a WTF moment… This update is here from USA TODAY… the highlights follow in this WTF moment, and it is truly amazing in scope, context, and from the President of the United States stated this way:

WASHINGTON — President Trump appeared to acknowledge that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election, but only so he could blame former president Barack Obama. Trump tweeted on Friday, June 23 re: the Washington Post article: Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?

And, on his fav show, FOX and FRIENDS, Trump reinforced his tweet by telling FOX this on the show:The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election. The question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it.”

This is a rare instance where the president has acknowledged what the intelligence community and bipartisan members of Congress already have, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the presidential election. And until now, Trump has remained vague about whether he believes the Russians meddled. Earlier this week the president said on Twitter that conversations regarding the alleged meddling were “all a big Dem HOAX and excuse for losing the election!

Right on cue from Trump administration and the party line: “I have not sat down and talked with him about that specific thing,” W/H Press Secretary told reporters after being asked if Trump believed the Russian government interfered. Now and following that explosive Washington Post article, Trump seems to have changed his approach and tune (but not his tweeting tune).

I conclude that Trump and the GOP cannot fathom or grasp this critical part: While Obama did authorize a cyber operation that would make it possible to retaliate against Russia, it was still in the early stages when Trump took office. And caution was the operative word 100%.  Plus, that decision was probably the hardest decision for Mr. Obama since he ordered the raid that nailed bin-Laden.

THE ORIGINAL POST STARTS HERE: From the very beginning of this story, Donald J. Trump, et al did not and many still do not believe our own intelligence agencies about Russian hacking to turn the election to Trump’s favor, cause chaos, disruption, other dis- or misinformation information to cause great harm to our entire electoral system.

Quick Headlines and short Introduction: The Washington Post via here dropped a “bombshell” Russian hacking story that leads with this (with my emphasis): 

Early last August (2016), President Obama was handed an “Eyes Only” memo from the CIA that described how evidence clearly showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally and directly involved in a cyber campaign to not only disrupt the U.S. presidential race, but to help throw the victory to Donald Trump. Defeat or at least damage the Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump,” Putin had told his operatives.

(I insert: This massive story in the original format is below (my emphasis is added therein but does not change the original article in substance).

WASHINGTON – Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.
Inside was an intelligence bombshell, “a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government” that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in “a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.”
But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives – “defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.”
At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. “Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year.” In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates.
And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks. But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence.
The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad.”
The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin-Laden raid.
It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view.
Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August and which Putin was working to elect Trump.

Over that five-month interval, the Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyber-attacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin, and sanctions that officials said could “crater” the Russian economy.
I insert: this lag and for the reasons stated above (e.g., It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view) is what is pushing the GOP and their rightwing outlets to blast Obama and take the heat off of Trump right now. Will it work? Only time will tell … what everyone needs are the facts, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as most honestly believe is our core values.
And, yes, “We the People” do have a compelling need to know the whole truth – painful and unvarnished truth – and that which IS NOT any political spin from any side, and certainly not the current on-going farce trying to pass as a show when in fact I estimate it to have one goal right now: To deflect, deceive, dodge, duck, and deny anything factual and honest.

This excellent exposé is broken into 11 chapters and includes time lines, charts, and other interactive graphics that lay out the story’s astonishing details. You should read it, but it will take you a while – but worth the journey. 

Here are the six key points:

1.  Calling Russia’s interference in the election “the crime of the century,” the report says that despite U.S. officials knowing a year ago what was going on, the Russians to this day have yet to face any consequences “because of the ways President Barack Obama and President Trump handled it.

2.  Through interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials, The Post’s Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Adam Entous tell the inside story of how the Obama administration handled the Kremlin’s meddling in the election;

3.  U.S. intelligence agencies had “sourcing deep inside the Russian government capturing Putin’s direct instructions in the operation;”

4.  Before he left office, Obama launched a covert operation to deploy “implants” in Russian networks, which the authors describe as “digital bombs that could be triggered in a retaliatory cyber-strike in the event of Moscow aggression.” And as if handing off the cars keys to his successor, Obama left it up to incoming-President Trump to decide to use the bomb or not;

5.  CIA Director John Brennan first alerts the White House in early August that Putin was personally involved in the election-hacking operation; but because the material was so sensitive, Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief and included instructions with the package that it be returned immediately after it was read;

6.  In subsequent meetings, Obama and his intelligence team met under top-secret conditions in the Situation Room, following the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin-Laden raid. 

I conclude and note that point #3 is the most-critical point. It most surely had a bearing on the timing of the Obama public statement, i.e., he and the IC did not want to reveal or uncover or give away the source or method inside the Putin camp. That point is always paramount in these highly sensitive and top secret cases.

Source and methods must always be protected, and especially human sources (called HUMINT: human intelligence which is always considered the best and most reliable in the sum of all data collected). Their lives are always in danger and they must be protected at all costs from exposure.

Thanks for stopping by.

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