Thursday, March 02, 2017

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking

The New York Times is carrying a piece that ought to concern truly patriotic Americans.  It concerns the issue of Russian efforts to throw the 2016 presidential election to Der Trumpenführer and the steps taken by the Obama administration to protect information on possible treason so that it would not be destroyed by Der Trumpenführer's henchmen once they took over control of the executive branch.  The risk remains, of course, that Republicans in Congress will kill any meaningful investigation to get to the truth about Trump/Putin ties.  To far too many Republicans, political party now takes precedence over the good of the nation.  As often noted, I have little doubt that Trump would have rejected Russian assistance.  The man is a dangerous narcissist who throughout his career has deemed himself above the law and willing to engage in corrupt and illegal practices to further his interests. Why anyone would expect him to change is dumbfounding.  Here are article highlights:
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Mr. Trump’s associates.
Then and now, Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials,  . . . .Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not. Some officials began asking specific questions at intelligence briefings, knowing the answers would be archived and could be easily unearthed by investigators — including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which in early January announced an inquiry into Russian efforts to influence the election.
At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low level of classification to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies. This allowed the upload of as much intelligence as possible to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American intelligence analysts to share information.
More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure proper investigation by Congress.
Some Obama White House officials had little faith that a Trump administration would make good on such pledges, and the efforts to preserve the intelligence continued until the administration’s final hours. This was partly because intelligence was still being collected and analyzed, but it also reflected the sentiment among many administration officials that they had not recognized the scale of the Russian campaign until it was too late.
But it wasn’t until after the election, and after more intelligence had come in, that the administration began to grasp the scope of the suspected tampering and concluded that one goal of the campaign was to help tip the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. In early December, Mr. Obama ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of the Russian campaign.
Beyond leaving a trail for investigators, the Obama administration also wanted to help European allies combat a threat that had caught the United States off guard. American intelligence agencies made it clear in the declassified version of the intelligence assessment released in January that they believed Russia intended to use its attacks on the United States as a template for more meddling.
“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned,” the report said, “to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies.”

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