Friday, 16 November, 2018

Obama 'did nothing' about Russia election meddling

Russia government plane approached by NATO jet Obama 'did nothing' about Russia election meddling
Melinda Barton | 25 June, 2017, 04:08

Barack Obama authorised plans to detonate the "digital equivalent of bombs" in Russia's infrastructure in the final weeks of his presidency as a potential retaliation for the Kremlin's interference in the USA election, according to reports.

WASHINGTON-Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House.

The Obama administration would not publicly say Russian Federation was attempting to interfere with the election until October 7, and the news of Putin's attempts to aid Trump would not surface until after the election.

At the time, White House officials said the move was due to harassment of USA personnel in Russia, CBS News reported Friday.

Intelligence chiefs did not officially accuse Russian Federation of helping Trump win the election until January 2017 after USA intelligence agencies made a declassified assessment of the situation public.

Evidence of Russian meddling mounted as the election neared.

The CIA reportedly told Obama the Russian operation's objective was to disrupt and discredit the 2016 presidential election. 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 - that Putin was working to elect Trump.

Of course, then President-elect Trump had denied any accusations of collusion between his campaign staff and Moscow.

Former President Obama was shown a report about hacking with sources deep inside the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The statement said Russian President Vladimir Putin directed operatives in a cyber attack against the 2016 campaign in attempts to disrupt and discredit the US election. During this time, there were debates within the administration as to how to react and punish Russian Federation.

Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee outright that the Russians failed to alter "ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results".

An Obama official told the newspaper: "I feel like we sort of choked".

The detailed Post story talks of how the Obama administration considered retaliatory action and even sanctions created to "cripple" the Russian economy.

The Obama administration did set the ball rolling for a secret program to infiltrate Russia's infrastructure with cyberweapons, that can be controlled remotely, like cyber "bombs" to cripple Russia's systems. The Kremlin should have paid a much higher price for that attack.

Meanwhile, Trump has no intention of firing the special counsel investigating charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, even though he questioned the official's impartiality in an interview, the White House said on Friday.

CBS News confirmed that Obama officials felt that their effort to expel Russian diplomats in retaliation was undermined by the incoming administration.

Obama's former deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, acknowledged that warning from Obama to Putin, saying that they believed they deterred him from further meddling, but that the "damage was done".