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Senate report gives cover to Obama White House targeting Trump (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 470.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a study by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which found that the Obama White House was “not well-postured” to deal with the $4,000 Facebook ad spend by Russian social media firms that apparently subverted the multi-billion dollar presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The report failed to investigate why the Obama White House was conducting meetings on the 2016 elections and the Trump campaign, failing to document their discussions and leaving no paper trail of their conversations.


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Via NPR…

Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election caught then-President Barack Obama off guard, and he and advisers were partly paralyzed with indecision over how to respond, a new Senate report concludes.

The study by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that the government was “not well-postured” at the time Obama’s administration began to detect and assess the wave of active measures launched by Russia against the presidential race.

Moreover, the highly partisan environment, unanswered questions about the extent of Russian capabilities, official dithering and more constrained the Obama response, the report said.

“Frozen by ‘paralysis of analysis,’ hamstrung by constraints both real and perceived, Obama officials debated courses of action without truly taking one,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C.

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The silver lining, he said, is the extent to which the sometimes painful lessons of 2016 have been taken to heart across officialdom and at many levels in the United States, from the federal government on down.

“Thankfully, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, we are in a better position to identify foreign interference efforts and address vulnerabilities Russia and other hostile foreign actors may seek to exploit,” Burr said. “We must continue building on the lessons of 2016, including making sure we have strong response options at the ready.”

A “hyper-partisan environment”

Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., echoed what he called the importance of preparedness and underscored that the look back at 2016 wasn’t a purely academic exercise — the political atmosphere hasn’t gotten any less charged since Obama’s time, and that will continue to complicate decisions about how to respond to active measures.

“I am particularly concerned however, that a legitimate fear raised by the Obama administration — that warning the public of the Russian attack could backfire politically — is still present in our hyper-partisan environment,” Warner said.

He alluded to weeks’ worth of debate within Obama’s team in 2016 about how or whether to alert Congress or Americans about what intelligence officials were discovering about Russia’s interference, to the degree they understood it then.

Obama and advisers feared that revealing Russia’s active measures might undermine Americans’ confidence in the election or open Democrats up to accusations that Obama might be trying to help Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Russia launched a wave of active measures aimed at helping Trump and hurting Clinton. Eventually the administration did publicly announce that assessment, one later strengthened by subsequent reports from the intelligence community, the Senate Intelligence Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Officials from the Obama era told Senate investigators they moved as fast as they responsibly could. Then-national security adviser Susan Rice, for example, is quoted in the report making clear that she believed the right decision was to wait until the case was airtight before acting.

“That took longer than we would have hoped or anticipated,” she said. “But you couldn’t have it bad; you had to have it when it was done and ready and that was the [intelligence community’s] to determine.”

The Gang of Eight

The problems in 2016 weren’t only the fault of the Obama administration, said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who appended a minority report to the Senate study.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., complicated matters because he didn’t agree to issue a bipartisan statement decrying Russian interference, Wyden charged. Compounding the problem, he argued, is that an informal process and incomplete record-keeping means it’s impossible to reconstitute now what members of Congress were told and how they responded.

“The missing details of these interactions are critically important because of what happened next,” Wyden wrote. “I believe that warning the public about a foreign influence campaign should not depend on the support of both parties, particularly when one of the parties stands to gain politically from that campaign.”

Obama’s administration did, however, and Wyden quotes then-deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as saying that the absence of a bipartisan condemnation from Congress “tempered our response options.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., echoed Wyden’s criticisms of the process for briefing the “Gang of Eight” — the small cadre of legislative leaders in both chambers Congress that receives specialized, selective briefings about intelligence and other matters.

“The decision to limit engagement with Congress through the Gang of Eight mechanism meant that no formal records were kept of the various interactions between administration principals and congressional leaders,” Heinrich said. “As a consequences, we cannot know precisely what was shared in these meetings or how members of Congress created.”

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John Ellis
John Ellis
February 15, 2020

Democrats are the 25% educated middle-class, while republicans are the 25% most wealthy. Which means that, politics is nothing more than how to best enslave by poverty the 50% working-poor.

oldandjaded
February 15, 2020

“Thankfully, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, we are in a better position to identify foreign interference efforts and address vulnerabilities Russia and other hostile foreign actors may seek to exploit,”
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and guess that “other hostile foreign actors” means Trump supporters?

John Ellis
John Ellis
Reply to  oldandjaded
February 16, 2020

Time killer that you be, surely not a Trump supporter alive thinks that Russia can make our election process a hair-bit more evil then it already is.

Joe
Joe
Reply to  oldandjaded
February 16, 2020

So, they are going to go after the Israelis, then?

j t
j t
February 16, 2020

What total and complete lying BS!! — “not well postured to deal with it” … !!!!!!! They’re the very ones that planned it, initiated it, prosecuted this whole con…this coup attempt!! WTF … more lies and spin from the deep-state Swamp. And every day that passes that Trump and his administration still have not, finally, PUBLICLY and SEVERELY dealt with these evil, lying, seditious, treasonous, sociopath Swamp Creatures, the more it makes him look to be one himself while pretending to be the White Hat riding in to clean it all up. Hope he’s not one of them … but… Read more »

TravelAbout
TravelAbout
February 16, 2020

Seeing that picture made me want to vomit. The only saving grace is that it wasn’t a sextet with Clinton, Nusland & Biden in the photo. What an evil & vile administration that truly was!

Rossco
Rossco
February 16, 2020

Russians interfered? What with $4000.00 .Make it $100,000! The USA has interfered in over 40 democratically elected governments around the world in the last 50 years, replacing those govts. with puppet leaders to suit there own agenda. Such unmitigated hypocrisy demonstrates to the world how utterly ridiculous the Yanks are to suggest the rest of the world buys this crap. The Democrats are responsible for this so called interference as the technology now allows sending of information to be disguised by replacing their identity with a so called suspicious party. Guess who’s in the firing line? You guessed it the… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
February 16, 2020

Obama is now doing commercials backing billionaire “Stop and frisk” Michael Bloomberg for President. Obama has said that the root cause for American voters allowing war-hawk, greed driven and power crazy billionaires to rule government, was because voters were “dumbed down.” Than again, he has said it was because voters were “afraid.. felt helpless.” Truth is, half of the homes in America are pure luxury, while the 50% working-poor live in poverty squalor and slum housing. And though Obama keeps harping on how bad it is that half of Americans live in poverty, never will you hear him mention how… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
February 16, 2020

Obama is now doing commercials to put in the White House a billionaire ex-Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg who would love o create a “stop and frisk” federal government. Truth is, half of the homes in America are pure luxury, while the 50% working-poor live in poverty squalor and slum housing. And though Obama keeps harping on how bad it is that half of Americans live in poverty, never will you hear him mention how criminal it is that his more educated upper-half of society hoards all the land, wealth, political power, healthcare and 99% of guns. And so,… Read more »

TravelAbout
TravelAbout
Reply to  John Ellis
February 16, 2020

Obomber – with the ULTIMATE Narcissist the sky is the limit on his depravity.

EU is Now Deaf to Their Coming Defeat

Bolivian elections will be an opportunity to legalize the coup