Obama Administration’s Attack on Russia

The Obama administration appears to be attempting to provoke the Russians into a confrontation once again. This apparent attack on Russia is in reality an attack on Donald Trump. Andrea Mitchell reported that the Obama administration is taking steps to “box in” president-elect Donald Trump so the sanctions are not easily reversible. This provocation will include economic sanctions, 'diplomatic censure' and clandestine cyber attacks. The excuse for this provocation is the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. How can Donald Trump be sworn in as president if the Russians in effect chose him as our next president? The campaign being waged suggests that Trump is not very intelligent, he ignores intelligence assets and he is a tool of Vladimir Putin.

The administration’s point man for the attack on Trump’s competence is Vice President Joseph Biden. Biden has declared, "Trump is so stupid that he doesn’t understand,” and "He has no idea what the hell he’s talking about.” After revealing that he was accompanied by a military aide carrying a briefcase containing the nuclear codes, Biden remarked, “Just imagine giving this guy access." The vice president also revealed the location of the secure bunker where he would go in the event of a terrorist attack or national security threat.

Donald Trump is being accused of being indifferent to intelligence. The media have enlisted academic “experts” to bolster their accusations. Professor Joshus Rovner, the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair of International Politics and National Security, stated, “By ignoring intelligence, Trump risks policy tunnel vision.” Rovner was critical of Trump’s pick of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to head the CIA because Flynn called the CIA a political arm of the Obama administration. Michael V. Hayden, former NSA director, stated, “To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions -- wow.” Politico has reported, “Trump's highly public rebukes of the U.S. intelligence apparatus will undermine morale in the spy agencies.”

The government has released two reports on the email hacking and there have been numerous leaks by “reliable” anonymous sources. The October 7, 2016 report was titled, "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security". This report stated that the intelligence community was “confident” that the Russians were responsible for the hack because the methods and motivations were consistent with Russian efforts. The report then stated, “we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.”

The December 27, 2016 report was entitled GRIZZLY STEPPE. This report stated, “Actors likely associated with RIS (Russian civilian and military intelligence Services) are continuing to engage in spearphishing campaigns.” Based on this the Washington Post reported, “the FBI has so far not gathered enough evidence that could be introduced in a criminal case.”

Based on these reports and the anonymous leaks it has been endlessly repeated that Russia has interfered in the U.S. election. Based on the October 7 report Rep. Elijah Cummings claimed, "experts agree that there is overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.” It has been reported that, “despite a publicly released report from the office of the director of National intelligence and the department of homeland security stating that Vladimir Putin’s state-sponsored hackers were behind those breaches.” In truth, neither report clearly states that Russia was responsible and certainly there is nothing “overwhelming” in them. These allegations continuously repeated have convinced a large part of the public that there is no doubt about the origin on the hacking.

Is there any justification for Donald Trump’s skepticism about the intelligence he is receiving? Rep. Peter King (R-NY) claimed CIA director John Brennan was orchestrating a “hit job” on Trump. He claimed Brennan was leaking to the Washington Post information that he’s not giving the intelligence committee. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has also questioned the veracity of the intelligence. Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated, ‘‘I’ll be the first one to come out and point at Russia if there’s clear evidence, but there is no clear evidence -- even now. There’s a lot of innuendo, lots of circumstantial evidence, that’s it.’’ Julian Assange has stated the Russian government was not the source. The Russians have also denied it.

The Obama appointees in the intelligence community can be expected to criticize the president-elect. However, Trump might have substantial support among the rank and file. Many of them are unhappy with the way their organizations are run. Fifty intelligence analysts have formally complained that their reports on ISIS were being inappropriately altered.

The Boston Globe has pointed out that “the clock is ticking.” These measures must be put in place before Obama leaves office. The expulsion of 35 Russian “spies” is merely an irritant. The administration believes it will embarrass a Trump administration to, “let those spies back in the states.” The more serious concern is, according to NBC News, “the Obama administration is now literally threatening a cyber war with Russia.”

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, Algora Publishing, 2013. Blog: http://johndietrichbooks.blogspot.com