Lame duck Barack Obama is acting swiftly and dangerously as he hops from limiting fossil fuel development to damaging Israel to releasing the most dangerous GITMO prisoners and, now, to punishing Russia. He has 23 days left to create chaos and inflict damage and he’s using them to go after Russia for alleged hacking.
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Barack Hussein Obama will soon announce a series of measures to punish Russia for its so-called interference in the 2016 presidential election, to include economic sanctions and diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials.
They’re finalizing details and there will be covert action such as cyberoperations. If you think Obama isn’t capable of starting a war before he leaves, reconsider that.
Currently, the administrations is working feverishly to revise an executive order giving Obama the authority to respond to cyberattacks because the prior order did not cover efforts to influence the electoral system.
Last year, Obama gave himself the power to punish and deter foreign hackers and since he has only operated within his own echo chamber and without Congress, there is no reason to expect him to behave differently in his last days.
The Globe is claiming his action last year wrung a pledge out of China’s president that his country would cease hacking US companies’ secrets to benefit Chinese firms. What makes that ludicrous and what makes the Globe’s reporting inadequate is the Chinese never stopped hacking and, according to Obama’s own Pentagon, they recently hacked U.S. Defense contractors and threatened them if they didn’t give up their secrets.
Officials now claim the new executive order will deal with the most serious hacking we’ve ever experienced, that of Democratic organizations, targeting of state election systems, and meddling in the presidential election. US security officials say the hackers came from Russia.
The American public has not seen one scintilla of evidence that the hacking was hacking and not leaks, nor have we seen evidence the Russians did it – not a smidgeon as Obama might say.
The White House is working on punishing the Russians after it gives itself the authority to do it according to the Globe. Where is Congress? Oh, right, they’re on their long recess.
One of the moves he is considering making is to mandate the federal government take over the electoral systems as part of the “critical infrastructure” of the United States or they could be more specific and apply it to interfering in elections. Elections would be taken from the States and turned over to the Department of Homeland Security, currently operating under the massively ineffective leadership of Jeh Johnson.
The administration is trying to make this action roll-back proof according to the Globe report.
‘‘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, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Obama wants to box Trump in. All of the actions of his last days are meant to box Trump in and keep him from doing his job.
Obama issued the executive order in April 2015, creating the sanctions tool to hold accountable people who harm computer systems related to critical functions.
The Globe, still without evidence any of this is true, wrote: A year later, a Russian military spy agency would hack into the Democratic National Committee and steal a trove of e-mails that were released a few months later on WikiLeaks, US officials said. Other releases followed, including the hacked e-mails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Without proving a thing, the U.S. government is acting as if it is proven. If Trump says otherwise, the Democrats will say he’s lying. It is meant to diminish Trump’s presidency before it even begins.
The excuse for using this tool with 23 days to go in his presidency is allegedly 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 cyberacts, 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.’’
Another option, the anonymous, unnamed sources said, is to use sanctions against the Russian government or against other Russian targets such as hackers.
The Globe then criticized the Trump transition team for not having extensive briefings with the White House on cyberissues. They claim that the slow pace has caused consternation among officials, who fear that the administration’s accomplishments in cybersecurity could languish if the next administration fails to understand their value.
We have no idea if any of that is true.
The Globe referred to Obama’s efforts prior to this. One was his admonition to Russia to “cut it out” though the Globe left the phrase out in referring to it. The other was a “hotline-style Message using a special channel for crisis communication created in 2013 as part of the State Department’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. As part of that message, the officials said, the administration asked Russia to stop targeting state voter registration and election systems. It was the first use of that system. The Russians, officials said, appeared to comply.
We don’t even know if any of that is true.
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.
One obvious goal of Barack Obama’s is to render President Trump as ineffective as possible in his first 100 days. Instead of quickly abolishing Obama’s “legacy” of socialism, Trump will be running around trying to put out fires.
No president about to leave office has ever done what this man has done. The ‘do no harm’ promise is being ignored.
The actions against Israel are particularly egregious. He has turned a land dispute between two countries into an international dispute with every nation being granted permission to punish Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and our ally.
Perhaps his actions against Russia will become more serious as he provokes hostility over unproven interference. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we would have been engaged in a nuclear war. Could he be right? If so, we caught a bullet.
January 20th can’t come soon enough but if you think Obama will remain silent, you are wrong.