Thursday, December 28, 2017

Is America Prepared To Keep Russia From Stealing The 2018 And 2020 Elections? With Trump In Charge? Are You Kidding?


Paul Waldman, writing for the Washington Post Tuesday was almost matter of fact: Russia is going to attack our next election. The Trump administration may not even try to stop it. He wrote that “The Russians are coming for our elections— to disrupt them, to discredit them, and even to affect their outcome. They’ll be coming in 2018, and in 2020. The trouble is that even if we figure out what they’re up to, our own government may be unable or unwilling to stop it. That’s the conclusion one has to come to upon reading reports like this new one from Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Jaffe, which describes how powerless the federal government has been and continues to be in the face of an ongoing war that Vladimir Putin is waging against U.S. democracy. It was hard enough to resist when the executive branch wanted to resist it; who knows how hard it will become as President Trump feels more politically threatened by upcoming elections and Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in 2016.” And it;’s not like the U.S. can turn the tables on Putiun and help his opponent, Alexei Navalny, win the Russian election in 2018. Putin had him barred from running. So how does the U.S. fight this threat from Russia— especially with a president, his political party on Russia’s side and many of his supporters on Russia’s side?
One previously unreported order— a sweeping presidential finding to combat global cyberthreats— prompted U.S. spy agencies to plan a half-dozen specific operations to counter the Russian threat. But one year after those instructions were given, the Trump White House remains divided over whether to act, intelligence officials said.

As former acting CIA director Michael Morell and former House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers note in this op-ed, Russian cyberwarfare efforts didn’t stop after 2016. Of late their covert social media strategies have involved attacking the FBI, going after Republican politicians who are critical of President Trump, and even urging a boycott of Keurig when it pulled its advertising from Sean Hannity’s show.

But it’s not as simple as promoting President Trump and the GOP. Most experts believe Vladimir Putin’s motives are more complex than that, and involve sowing discord and confusion that destabilizes our system. The danger becomes particularly acute during election season.

There are three fundamental questions to ask about this threat: Do we know what they’re doing? If we know what they’re doing, do we know how to fight it? And if we know how to fight it, do we have the will to do so?

At various times the answer to all three has been no. But let’s say that some time in 2018— or even more likely, in 2020— intelligence agencies and private analysts conclude that Russia is engaging in an effort to subvert our electoral process through hacking electoral systems, waging a covert propaganda war, or some other means we haven’t even thought of yet. What then? We know that President Trump sees every new development in terms of himself, and that he views any and all questions about Russian meddling as nothing more than an effort to delegitimize his glorious 2016 victory. It seems unlikely that he’ll react any differently to new reports of Russian meddling, particularly if it comes at a moment when he’s faced with the possibility of defeat. Which means there’s a very strong chance that this is what will happen:
When reports of new Russian efforts to attack our elections emerge, President Trump will insist it’s all “fake news,” try to discredit the analysis and insist that it’s just his political enemies seeking to delegitimize the victories he and his party win.
Trump’s assertion will immediately be echoed and amplified by his allies in conservative media, particularly on Fox News, talk radio, and websites like Breitbart, which will attack the analysts and agencies warning of the Russian efforts.
Republican members of Congress will take up Trump’s charge, perhaps even attempting to launch their own investigation of the investigation.
That’s what’s happening right now. Trump’s most loyal allies are lashing out at anyone who seems to threaten the president, even if it means dismissing the idea that a well-documented Russian assault against the United States is anything to be concerned about. They’ve even decided that the FBI, one of the most conservative agencies in the government, is a hotbed of leftist subversion and must be purged of anyone who ever expressed any skepticism about Donald Trump.

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At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is putin allegedly doing that ruppert Murdoch, breitbart et al haven't been doing for 2 decades?

Whenever there is a vacuum, in this case it's between the ears of 10s of millions of americans, SOMETHING will rush in to fill the void. Since the media stopped "doing" news and became profit-centered entertainment run by devoted fascists and Nazis, that 'something' shall be the kind of horseshit that is described.

So... you talk of stopping putin, but not of shutting down Murdoch, breitbart, Sinclair...? Nor do you talk about generally fixing media and, most of all, making americans less fucking stupid?

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's more like 3 decades, 5:38. The media was largely silent during the worst of Reafan's treasonous exploits. I believe that the Republican owners of the media weren't about to allow another WaPo expose like the one which toppled Nixon.

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Procopius said...

Does Waldman deign to tell us how he knows this? That Entous, Nakashima, Jaffe report in the Bezos Shopper is terrible. Assertions by known propagandists, assertions by anonymous officials, assertions about a supposed classified GRU report... I'm sorry, but if they can't find a way to make their claims more credible I'm not buying it. Of course, their job is made much harder because of the flood of hysterical and baseless claims that "there is abundant evidence all around us" which never points to any of it. If they can't be bothered to explain why they believe the "report" some spook gave them is authentic I can't be bothered to investigate it any further. It doesn't occur to them to explain why they think the GRU is not lying to their masters, which certainly was a Soviet habit. These "sky is falling" stories are all the same. Where's the beef? The ads that have been presented as "evidence" of Russian Svengalis subverting the beliefs of naive Americans are so pitiful it's amazing anyone still believes this crap.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:02, it was collusion between media and Reagan, largely because of the size of the landslide in '80 proving media's cowardice in truth-telling. Their pathetic coverage of treason/Iran/contra is another obvious proof.

The dereg and consolidation of media started in earnest as one of Reagan's (R sponsors) acts to repay his benefactors. Whether he was addled at this point is moot since he probably would have been in favor of it anyway.

Of note here is the democraps' laying down and spreading their legs. They couldn't do enough to please Reagan and the Rs.


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