The Obama White House’s chief cyber official testified Wednesday that proposals he was developing to counter Russia’s attack on the U.S. presidential election were put on a “back burner” after he was ordered to “stand down” his efforts in the summer of 2016.
The startling admission has largely been ignored by the media. Monica Crowley lays out a case for why the Obama Administration stood down in light of Russian meddling:
Long before the 2016 election, when Donald Trump was a mere private citizen, Russia was engaged in widespread cyber-aggression against the United States. Moscow racheted up those attacks during the campaign. And yet, despite knowledge of the ongoing cyberwarfare, the president at the time, Barack Obama, and his intelligence chiefs — John Brennan at the CIA, James Clapper at National Intelligence, James Comey and his predecessor, Robert Mueller, at the FBI — reportedly didn’t lift a finger to stop it.
Why? Because the Obama administration was obsessed with protecting its bigger agenda: namely, closing and implementing the Iran nuclear deal and trying to save their collapsed Russian “reset.” Calling Russia on its malign cyber activity would have imperiled both initiatives, so Obama and his intel team apparently chose to ignore it, even as it escalated.
Regardless of the reason, the Obama Administration response to Russian meddling is extremely problematic. This should be a much bigger story than the endless focus on collusion, on which Trey Gowdy notes “he has yet to see a 'scintilla' of evidence showing that there was coordination between the two sides.”