If we didn’t know better, we might just think the Trump administration was trying to hide the extent of Russian hacking in the 2016 election. Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security told elections officials in 21 states that Russian hackers had attempted to breach their voting systems in the run up to the 2016 election. DHS waited an entire year after the attacks took place to tell the states, and they left it up to local officials to disclose whether and to what extent they’d been hacked. Yours is not to question the voting system! Just watch your Fox News, show up with your drivers license, and stand in that line come November. AND BE GRATEFUL THAT THEY LET YOU DO THAT!
We turn now to Chris Cillizza for trenchant commentary.
Let’s just see if we have our timeline right. A little tick tock, as the kids might say.
- Summer 2016: Russian hackers stage waves of attacks on American voting systems, targeting a reported 39 states, according to Bloomberg.
- July 2016: Wikilieaks publishes stolen DNC emails. Julian Assange pinky swears he didn’t get them from Russians.
- Also July 2016: CIA gets involved at the highest levels.
- July 27, 2016: Donald Trump urges Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and determine if she’s hiding any emails. As one does.
- August 2016: Obama learns of “Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race” and receives first confirmation that hackers are trying to penetrate electoral systems across the country.
- August 15, 2016: DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has conference call on Russian hacking, Republicans refuse to go along with enquiry. Mitch McConnell blocks disclosure or efforts to resist hacking, saying he doubts the underlying intelligence.
- Also August, 2016: CIA Director John Brennan calls Russian counterpart and tells him to stop trying to hack the American election.
- October 7, 2016: DNI James Clapper and DHS head Jeh Johnson announce conclusively that Russians are trying to hack American election. Americans are too busy with the Access Hollywood Pussygrabbing video release that day to notice. Thanks,
- October and November 2016: Russians pay in rubles for Facebook ads microtargeting voters in swing states. Thanks,
- November 8, 2016: Donald Trump wins election. One small step for man, one great leap forward for the Doomsday Clock.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that you guys at DHS finally got around to acknowledging what everyone knows. BUT WHAT THE HELL TOOK YOU SO LONG? Were you perhaps trying to prop up the ego of one demented old loon who is so sensitive about his illegitimate win that his first official act was to try to force the National Park Service to lie about the crowd size at his inauguration? And also? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER EIGHTEEN HACKED STATES?
The CIA, FBI, DNI and NSA all agree that Russians hacked our election. But Commander Twitter Fingers is still denying it.
The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017
So you’ll forgive our skepticism when states assure us that hackers were only successful in breaching Illinois’s system. Don’t you worry your pretty little head, they say, those pesky Russians were no match for our super-ironclad cyberwalls. As Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, told the Post,
What this boils down to is that someone tried the door knob and it was locked.
NO. JUST NO. We have absolutely no reason to trust DHS when they tell us that Russians tried to change the vote tallies, but they couldn’t get there.
In June, Samuel Liles, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division, testified that 21 states had been affected by the Russian hacking and said that vote-tallying machines were unaffected. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the hackers seemed to be looking for vulnerabilities, an exercise that he compared to walking down the street and looking at houses to see who might be inside.
Because the Russian government trying to destabilize America and manipulate our electoral process is exactly like some tweaker peeking in the window looking to grab a stereo he can pawn for cash! Every month we get another disclosure about the extent of Russian hacking, and the Administration is fucking around with Kris Kobach and his sham search for vote fraud.
Want to see how fast hackers can break into our voting machines? Here, have a video.
Meanwhile, Bob Kolasky, the acting undersecretary from DHS who got trotted out to reassure the public that everything is fine, told the Post that the agency thought real hard about it over the past year, and decided that they should probably tell the states that they’d been hacked.
We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information. […] We agreed that this information would help election officials make security decisions.
Kolasky said that DHS will henceforth “have a bias to get information to [the states] as quickly as we can, and we are building protocols to notify them in a timely fashion.”
Gee, thanks, Bob! Just one quick question, though.
WHY THE HELL WOULD WE BELIEVE YOU THIS TIME? And General John Kelly, what was he doing with his time before leaving DHS to make the Oval Office Great Again? Don’t worry your pretty head about that! Grab a brewski and stay in your lane. There’s football on!
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