Democratic hysteria over alleged Russian hacking has reached a fever pitched in recent days as high-level party officials begin to question the integrity of this year’s presidential election. But Kremlin-backed cyber warfare is nothing new. In fact, the Obama administration knew about all of this months ago. So why didn’t the president or his underlings raise the alarm bells before? One word. Politics. Today, we are seeing the consequences of what happens when a presidential administration politicizes intelligence.
“For months, Obama administration officials have debated how to respond to Russian hacks they believed were intended to undermine the US elections. But they kept arriving at reasons not to respond publicly,” reports CNN. “In addition to a fear of sparking a wider cyber-conflict and an attempt to save talks with Russia over Syria, the administration did not want to give Donald Trump reason to cry foul following what they were certain would be a Hillary Clinton victory.”
Reread that. The great irony, of course, is that now Democrats are questioning Donald Trump’s victory. You can already hear the conversations behind closed doors. It must have been the Russians!
Naturally, the Obama administration is pushing back against claims that it refused to go public with what its intelligence services had learned. White House officials are arguing now that they just wanted the investigation to evolve on its own.
“CNN discussions with multiple administration, law enforcement and intelligence officials tell a different story,” asserts CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez.
Perez’s investigation reveals a disturbing truth: The Obama administration has been politicizing intelligence at the expense of the country. Perez explains:
White House officials worried that publicly outing Russia would appear to be an effort to help Clinton, and the deliberations coincided with Trump's complaints about a rigged election. Administration officials were sure Trump would lose in November and they were worried about giving him any reason to question the election results.
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies were aware of Russian cyber attacks against the United States in July.
“Over the next three months, during a series of meetings at the White House and on conference calls, national security officials at the White House and other government agencies debated over how to calibrate an appropriate response,” explains Perez.
It was only in October when officials went public with the information, disclosing for the first time that Russian hackers might be guilty of foul play. By then, it was clear to anybody following WikiLeaks on Twitter that Russian hackers were specifically attempting to make the Democrats look bad.
Selectively infiltrating and releasing Hillary Clinton and Co.’s emails, Kremlin-affiliated digital actors were keen on influencing the election by feeding into the American public’s already unfavorable view of the Democratic nominee.
To be clear, there is no evidence to suggest that the Russians hacked into our physical election process. This was a PR war that Hillary Clinton would have likely lost all on her own.
As October came and passed, Obama administration officials were still relatively tight-lipped about the extent of Russia's hacking activities. The futile and naive hope for a Syrian cease fire deal brokered by Russia only worked to incentivize the administration's lack of transparency.
Now that Donald Trump has secured the White House, sharing his plans to upend Obama's precarious legacy, the White House is changing its tune, talking tough and proposing counter-intelligence against Moscow. Too little, too late.