Politico reports: The Trump administration is so far ignoring pleas from both on and off Capitol Hill to denounce the suspected Russian-backed digital assault that appeared aimed to tilt Sunday’s French presidential election toward nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen.
The White House’s failure to mention the attack on one of America’s oldest allies has worried Democrats, cyber policy specialists and former White House officials, who say the omission reveals a troubling inability to call out Russia over its digital aggression.
“This is an issue that should provoke grave concern in both parties,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor Monday afternoon. “It should compel us, Democrats and Republicans, to take proactive actions against this new threat.”
In the hack — which some researchers have linked to Russian intelligence — tens of thousands of internal documents and emails appeared online late Friday after being pilfered from the political party of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. The dump came less than two days before Macron’s resounding victory on Sunday.
The White House’s lack of comment on the incident comes just over a week after President Donald Trump publicly renewed his own skepticism about Russia’s role in the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the U.S. presidential race, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s forceful conclusion that senior Kremlin officials personally orchestrated the campaign with the aim of undermining Hillary Clinton.
“The silence is just a sign of how unprepared we are to deal with these things,” said James Lewis, a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. [Continue reading…]
Trump’s silence is most likely even more indicative of this: that the Faustian bargain he made with Putin was that his presidency could be the beneficiary of Russian hacking with the understanding that sooner or later it could also become a target.
It is highly implausible that the Trump campaign and Trump presidency have not been the targets of damaging hacking attacks due to their mastery of information security. Much more likely, Russia holds a trove of damning information on Trump that at any time of its choosing it could release in order to destroy a president who turned out to have proved himself unworthy of protection.
Trump’s silence is a sign of his obedience.
Let’s not forget that the FBI and CIA are sitting on a trove of what must be near-complete information on the activities of the Trump group. The pretense is that the FBI is “investigating” something that’s been in the sights of the intelligence community since 2015. And sufficiently in public view that it requires serious effort not to connect the dots.
It’s also worth recalling that the “system worked” in Watergate because the Associate Director of the FBI illegally leaked the content of the investigation to newspaper reporters. There surely can be no Trump without a tangled, deeply corrupt infrastructure that supports, enables, or merely allows his depredations.
It seems inconceivable that this unstable mishmash of forces and counterforces is not going to blow up without major splatter in every direction, though I suppose the actors and fellow travelers have Iran-Contra and the run-up to Iraq/Afghanistan as a model of success to strive for.