The DNC hack: Why didn’t U.S. intelligence operatives stop it?

“Save the fake outrage: Obama has known about Russian hacking for years”

That is the headline over a commentary by Aurel Braun on the Globe and Mail site.

In short, according to Braun, the U.S. and other countries have long known that Russia “has employed cyberwarfare and information warfare extensively, not only against the United States but many other countries.”

Braun also points out that “for years now, the Kremlin has sought to influence elections throughout Europe, so there should have been little surprise they did this in the United States.” He also says “the FBI had informed the Democratic National Committee of hacking back in the fall of 2015 and Mr. Obama certainly was apprised about Russian efforts in April, 2016, when Hillary Clinton’s path to victory seemed assured.”

Braun then asks the same question that has been on my mind: Why did Obama and company wait so long to act?

At this point, I will depart from Braun’s piece and go off in my own direction here: If the Russians truly did manage to hack the DNC and leak emails, Americans should be calling for heads to roll (figuratively speaking) in the American intelligence community for not preventing it from happening. But they’re not. I find that very curious.

I also wonder why so many journalists are not asking the obvious questions: Is the American intelligence community so inefficient that it couldn’t stop Russian intelligence operatives from hacking into an email server, especially when they were aware of the Russians’ alleged efforts? How does all of this reflect on the American intelligence community and, more important, the politicians to which it reports? How does it reflect upon Obama?

Obviously, there is much more going on there than meets the eye. This is not about Russians doing sneaky things and incompetent U.S. intelligence operatives. There is a very sophisticated spy vs. spy game going on, and both sides are up to their proverbial necks in it. If the Russians hacked the DNC, the U.S. chose not to prevent it, quite possibly because Obama and company believed Hillary Clinton was going to win regardless, as Braun seems to suggest. And when Hillary didn’t win, well, blame the Russians, even though there was no evidence the Russians altered election results.

Braun talks about Obama’s possible motives for expelling Russian operatives, summing them up by saying his actions may be “long on rhetoric and short on substance.”

But I have to wonder why more journalists aren’t asking why the U.S. intelligence community let the Russians get away with it — if, in fact, the Russians actually did it.

Of course, there are some saying the Russians didn’t do it at all, and that it was a disgruntled Democrat who leaked the emails.

Or maybe there is another explanation . . .

We’ll never know the truth. We’ll only hear the misinformation and propaganda being fed to us, and Americans will just have to believe and accept that their administration is acting in their best interests.

Just like they did when the U.S. administration went after Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

— Jillian

Photo credit: Spy silhouette. (Setreset, Wikimedia Commons)

9 thoughts on “The DNC hack: Why didn’t U.S. intelligence operatives stop it?

  1. And how would you propose the US Intelligence community have stopped the hacking? They did inform the DNC – or at least tried to – and were ignored. In the US, the “intelligence community” has no authority to make someone within the US do anything.

    As to why Obama (or is administration) is going public now, well that is another question that neither of us has an answer to. “Sore losers” is part of the answer. There were huge number of factors involved in Hilary Clinton’s defeat. Russian/Wikileak hackers might be a part of it, although not all of it. Russian Intelligence agencies (and probably all Intelligence agencies) are aware that influencing something is relative. The average person tends to see it as all-or-nothing; professionals look at it as “how can we shift the outcome by xx percent.”

    As to why the DNC didn’t take any action, that too we’ll never know, but most people, and agencies, still seem oblivious to the existence, and consequences, of hacking.

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    1. The U.S. does its share of hacking and spying, too. It seems somewhat hypocritical to call out the Russians when they are doing the same thing, i.e. the pot calling the kettle black.

      It seems obvious to me that Obama is trying to set the agenda for Trump’s term. He doesn’t seem to want Trump to make peace with the Russians. Why is that?

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      1. The one has nothing to do with the other. Your initial question was “why didn’t they (US Intelligence) do something about it?” That has nothing to do with whether or not they do the same thing.

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      2. Dear doctor, you are splitting hairs. If U.S. intelligence is so good, they could have stopped the Russians from hacking, if, in fact, the Russians were hacking the DNC at all. Seems like a waste of time to me. And I am not accepting the Obama & co. line at face value.

        But why is it OK for the U.S. to spy on and hack websites of foreign nations, including its allies (i.e. Germany), but not OK for Russia to do the same to anyone?

        Sorry. I don’t buy into the climate of us vs. them that Obama seems to be encouraging. I don’t have anything against Russia; I admire their hockey prowess, second only to Canada’s (because we are the champions of the world).

        And if the U.S. is so worried about Russia hacking into sensitive sites in the United States, then they should stop putting sensitive data in vulnerable places that they can’t protect. Duh . . .

        Maybe they should turn to Anonymous for some assistance on how to foil hackers.

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  2. “If U.S. intelligence is so good, they could have stopped the Russians from hacking”

    No, they can’t.
    I see pings and other port testing on my servers from Russia, China and Yugoslavia every day. They are looking for an opening, and one day they found one and I had to spend a day rebuilding a couple of databases.

    The whole internet would have to be redesigned to “prevent” hacking, but that would only stop robo-hacking where you have hacking programs probing every PC and UNIX computers on the web. (PC includes Apple and your IoT lights and thermostats are UNIX based, as well as all mainframe computers.)

    But this doesn’t stop the most pernicious and easier hack – social hacking. Have you received and emails from someone you know, at least by the return address? “Hey, Jillian- look at this” and there’s a PDF or ZIP attached. You open that PDF and think, “why did you send this to me??” Well, your “friend” never sent that, and the pdf file probably contained a macro that installed a hack on your PC. When is the last time you checked?

    Last, the internet is in the public domain. No one “owns” it. Yes, the telcos own the backbone and the top level routers, the ISP’s own most of the DNS servers and the wires to your home and second-level routers. Every email you send crosses through dozens of privately owned parts, so to think that anyone can simply “stop the hacking” is absolutely ludicrous. Further, the email server that was penetrated was privately owned and leased to the DNC. Wikileaks is not in the US, so however they got the emails is largely irrelevant.

    What Russia hacked was the low-intelligence US voters. Which the Republican Party nourishes with fake news from FOX and Britebart.

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    1. Actually, I’m pretty tech savvy. I never open attachments unless I am absolutely positive about what it is and who sent it, i.e. my insurance broker sending me a certificate.

      Today, Donald Trump made a statement echoing my earlier statement, essentially saying that if everything can be hacked, then go back to using paper and couriers and stop putting things online that are vulnerable.

      The idea that governments and political parties are putting sensitive data online is ludicrous and irresponsible — especially when they know it can easily be hacked by foreign governments, crooks, snoops and 10-year-old kids playing around.

      If the Internet is truly not a secure environment, then it is doomed commercially.

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      1. To my last comment (I’m not sure what order these end up in), you managed to write 5 paragraphs, none of which was relevant or responsive to what I wrote. What I wrote was “how do propose the US Intelligence community have stopped the hacking?” You had no answer to that. DroneMann wrote a very good explanation as to the problems with attempting to stop hacking. I do agree with part of your response to him, which agrees with something I said, that it was irresponsible of the DNC. As to your last, it is entirely possible that the internet is doomed commercially.

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      2. Preposterous to you or no, it is so for the reasons DroneMann and I explained, and likely many more.

        Happy to help enlighten you.

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