This story out today by – Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Jaffe – The Washington Post – Monday, December 25, 2017 — won’t get much input from me. Its details are many and above my pay grade.
Just a couple excerpts though as the story begins here:
The first email arrived in the inbox of CounterPunch, a left-leaning American news and opinion website, at 3:26 a.m. — the middle of the day in Moscow.
“Hello, my name is Alice Donovan and I’m a beginner freelance journalist,”
read the Feb. 26, 2016 message.
The FBI was tracking Donovan as part of a months-long counterintelligence operation code-named “NorthernNight.”
Internal bureau reports described her as a pseudonymous foot soldier in an army of Kremlin-led trolls seeking to undermine America’s democratic institutions.
Her first articles as a freelancer for CounterPunch and at least 10 other online publications weren’t especially political.
As the 2016 presidential election heated up, Donovan’s message shifted.
Increasingly, she seemed to be doing the Kremlin’s bidding by stoking discontent toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and touting WikiLeaks, which U.S. officials say was a tool of Russia’s broad influence operation to affect the presidential race.
“There’s no denying the emails that Julian Assange has picked up from inside the Democratic Party are real,” she wrote in August 2016 for a website called We Are Change. “The emails have exposed Hillary Clinton in a major way — and almost no one is reporting on it.”
Skipping ahead of a long timeline of events including some Cold War details (worth digging into — imo); here are a couple things I’d noticed and to keep it real simple & short:
Obama was loath to take any action that might prompt the Russians to disrupt voting. So he warned Putin to back off and then watched to see what the Russians would do.
After the election, Obama’s advisers moved to finalize a package of retaliatory measures.
And among other things called for by President Obama..
…Obama signed a separate, narrower order, known as a “Memorandum of Notification,” which gave the CIA the authority to plan operations against Russia.
Senior administration and intelligence officials discussed a half-dozen specific actions, some of which required implants in Russian networks that could be triggered remotely to attack computer systems.
Members of the Obama administration expected that the CIA would need a few weeks or, in some cases, months to finish planning for the proposed operations.
“Those actions were cooked,” said a former official. “They had been vetted and agreed to in concept.”
Obama left behind a road map. Trump would have to decide whether to implement it.
‘This is what we live with’
That was then.
This is and has been the typical Trump regime’s response:
The policy debates were further complicated by the difficulty of even raising Russian meddling with a president who viewed the subject as an attack on his legitimacy.
In an effort to bring Trump around, officials presented him with evidence of Putin’s duplicity and continued interference in U.S. politics.
the president’s[Trump’s] recent public statements suggest that he continues to believe that he is making progress in building a good relationship with the Russian leader.
Earlier this month, Trump noted that Putin, in his end-of-year news conference, had praised Trump’s stewardship of the U.S. economy.
“He said very nice things,”
Trump told reporters.
Putin later called Trump to praise the CIA for providing Russia with intelligence about a suspected terrorist plot in St. Petersburg.
“That’s a great thing,”
Trump said after the second call with the Russian leader,
“and the way it’s supposed to work.”
The Kremlin has given little indication that it intends to back off its disinformation campaign inside the United States. More than a year after the FBI first identified Alice Donovan as a probable Russian troll, she’s still pitching stories to U.S. publications.
Published on Dec 14, 2017
Responding to an exhaustive new Washington Post report on Trump & Russia, MSNBC National Security Analyst Jeremy Bash says Trump’s sensitivity to discussing Russia seems to come from more than Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election.