The latest development in the story of Russian meddling into the 2016 election is crazy insidious, like something right out of the beginning of a Bourne movie.
Sources inside the US intelligence community just released substantial evidence proving that Russia compromised the voting systems and websites of seven states ahead of the 2016 election.
President Obama requested top secret intelligence in the final weeks of his presidency, and it yielded huge returns. As of January 2017, the compromised states were believed to be Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.
The federal government notified some of those states of the breach ahead of the election, but did not specifically tell them that the culprit was Russia. All state and federal officials confirmed that no votes were changed and no voters were taken off the rolls as a result of the breach.
It’s a huge breach nonetheless. And the US is not at all prepared for the next wave of attacks poised to take place during the November 2018 midterm elections.
Six of the seven states notified by the federal government still deny that their voting systems were compromised. This is based on their own cyber investigations. Their unwillingness to acknowledge this reality speaks to just how unprepared they are to handle this next wave.
Many intelligence officials have gone on the record to say that another more intense wave of Russian interference is coming. These denials don’t inspire confidence in the nation’s preparedness.
Some hear this news and move to criticize the Obama administration for not doing enough in response. But Obama enacted sweeping sanctions against Russia and kicked out of the country a number of Russians suspected to be associated with the efforts. Trump, for his part, has declined to enact sanctions that congress passed with bipartisan support.
All of this signals either Trump’s supreme ignorance or acceptance of the part Russia played in his election. To acknowledge the truth would undermine the legitimacy of his ascendance to the presidency. But to ignore it is to confirm the whole thing is illegitimate.
National Security Agency director, Adm. Mike Rogers said in a Senate hearing today that he had not been directed by the Trump administration to do anything to stop Russia from meddling in the next election. Which, in fact, means his hands are tied and he can’t do anything.
FBI and DHS are taking some precautions against Russia, but FBI Director Christopher Wray said the instructions “didn’t come from the top.”
That says it all about Trump’s approach to messaging when it comes to Russia and elections. It translates to “come on in.”