While the media and the American public struggle to come to grips with the results of Vladimir Putin’s personally directed cyberwarfare campaign conducted in support of useful idiot Donald Trump, America’s problem with Russian cyber-intrusions hasn’t gone away with the end of the election. CNN announced today in a this report that the Russian hacking campaign hasn’t skipped a beat since the election.
Russian cyberhacking activity has continued largely unabated since the November election, including against US political organizations, US officials briefed on the investigation told CNN on Thursday. Among the attempted cyber breaches are phishing attempts targeting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, one official says. The attempt to breach the Clinton campaign was unsuccessful, investigators tell CNN.
If true – and it is very easy to document “phishing emails,” then they are using some of the same technique officials identified as the source of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hack just yesterday. Additionally, the report identifies Gmail notifications as a source of the allegations.
Unidentified officials told CNN unmistakably that they’re not just documenting attacks, but also examining options for a counter-attack against Russia’s cyber capabilities, all with an eye on keeping the action in the virtual space and away from a shooting war. Hillary Clinton said last night unequivocally:
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign. This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
Clinton’s campaign Chairman John Podesta released an op-editorial in the Washington Post today, stating matter of factly what it was like to be the target under Vladimir Putin’s microscope throughout the entire campaign. Russians didn’t just hack Podesta’s work email accounts, but their compromise of his personal email account became a revealing and often embarrassing side-story during the campaign.
As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.”
The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.
Podesta used the example of the FBI’s “painstaking” investigation of Hillary’s emails and the very real story that investigators could fly to Denver for that investigation at the very same time they failed to help Democrats experiencing a very real Russian hack a short ride from their Headquarters.
All of this explains fully why Russian hacking hasn’t ceased after the election. It’s because they’re not going to stop seeking revenge even though they’ve already enabled the most corrupt political candidate in American history to capture the White House with a minority of the popular vote.
Most Republicans are sitting idly by, refusing to even discuss empaneling a Select Committee to investigate a nuclear-armed nation’s electronic attacks on our country. At what point does Republican silence or dilatory behavior violate their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and the United States?
We all know that Donald Trump cannot make an oath to defend America from foreign threats, because as #NeverTrump Republican Evan McMullin points out, he is the reason that they’re here.
— Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) December 16, 2016
Author’s note: Arrested hacker Guccifer is in this story’s cover/facebook photo but is not suspected of involvement in this year’s cyber attacks, many of which were carried out under the name “Guccifer 2.0”
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.