December 27, 2016
As predicted, the media is now reporting on the fake news story about Russian hackers being responsible for Wikileaks as if it is a fact.
They’re also not questioning the weirdness of Obama just openly announcing that on his way out of office, he’s going to commit some kind of provacative atrocity against a foreign country as revenge for this alleged hacking.
The Obama administration is close to announcing a series of measures to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, including economic sanctions and diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials.
The administration is finalizing the details, which also are expected to include covert action that will probably involve cyber-operations, the officials said. An announcement on the public elements of the response could come as early as this week.
The sanctions portion of the package culminates weeks of debate in the White House on how to revise a 2015 executive order that was meant to give the president authority to respond to cyberattacks from overseas but that did not cover efforts to influence the electoral system.
The Obama administration rolled the executive order out to great fanfare as a way to punish and deter foreign hackers who harm U.S. economic or national security.
The threat to use it last year helped wring a pledge out of China’s president that his country would cease hacking U.S. companies’ secrets to benefit Chinese firms.
But officials concluded this fall that the order could not, as written, be used to punish the most significant cyber-provocation in recent memory against the United States — Russia’s hacking of Democratic organizations, targeting of state election systems and meddling in the presidential election.
The media does not ask for evidence.
You might be saying “ooh well you’re quoting WaPo, of course they don’t” – but no. Go check. It’s all the same. They all report it as fact now, not a claim or a theory or a suspicion, and they don’t cite or act like there should be any evidence.
With the clock ticking, the White House is working on adapting the authority to punish the Russians, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. President Obama pledged this month that there would be a response to Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections.
Russia had denied involvement in the hacking.
One clear way to use the order against the Russian suspects would be to declare the electoral systems part of the “critical infrastructure” of the United States. Or the order could be amended to clearly apply to the new threat — interfering in elections.
Administration officials would also like to make it difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to roll back any action they take.
“Part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or communicated to Congress in a form that would be difficult to simply walk back,” said one senior administration official.
Obama issued the executive order in April 2015, creating the sanctions tool as a way to hold accountable people who harm computer systems related to critical functions such as electricity generation or transportation, or who gain a competitive advantage through the cybertheft of commercial secrets.
The order allows the government to freeze the assets in the United States of people overseas who have engaged in cyber-acts that have threatened U.S. national security or financial stability. The sanctions would also block commercial transactions with the designated individuals and bar their entry into the country.
But just a year later, a Russian military spy agency would hack into the Democratic National Committee and steal a trove of emails that were released a few months later on WikiLeaks, U.S. officials said. Other releases followed, including the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
“Fundamentally, it was a low-tech, high-impact event,” said Zachary Goldman, a sanctions and national security expert at New York University School of Law. And the 2015 executive order was not crafted to target hackers who steal emails and dump them on WikiLeaks or seek to disrupt an election. “It was an authority published at a particular time to address a particular set of problems,” he said.
So officials “need to engage in some legal acrobatics to fit the DNC hack into an existing authority, or they need to write a new authority,” Goldman said.
Administration officials would like Obama to use the power before leaving office to demonstrate its utility.
“When the president came into office, he didn’t have that many tools out there to use as a response” to malicious cyber-acts, said Ari Schwartz, a former senior director for cybersecurity on the National Security Council. “Having the sanctions tool is really a big one. It can make a very strong statement in a way that is less drastic than bombing a country and more impactful than sending out a cable from the State Department.”
So I mean.
In any case, launching a revenge attack against a superpower is a weird move, especially when you’ve got less than a month in office.
This is while Obama is sending even more weapons to terrorists – including missile launcher to allow them to shoot down Russian jets.
Trump really needs to come out and denounce this. Because he’s the one that’s going to have to deal with the consequences.