Anyways, here is what I know (and please, if you notice any false or misleading information, correct me)
- Before Summer 2016: Russian hacking in relation to the election, such as rummaging through Democrat and Republican electronic records, were already apparent. July 22 there was the internet dump of Democrats' emails.
- July 2016: The FBI open investigations into contacts between Trump's associates and Russian officials.
- Early August 2016: (after Trump and Clinton secured their parties nominations) Obama's WH became aware, via CIA report, of Putin's involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the election, with specified intentions to defeat/damage Hillary's candidacy, and help elect Donald Trump.
- WH's Political Evaluation: Looking at the election atmosphere, they figure revealing this information unilaterally would be a disaster. At the very least they want to give federal help to shore up electoral electronic systems. So they go consult the gang of 8 (the leaders of each of the 2 parties from both House & Senate, and the chairs & ranking minority members of the intelligence committees of the House and Senate).
- Partisan Politics/Gang of 8: Split along party lines. The Democrats thought they had to tell the public. The Republicans claimed they feel revealing this information will make the Russians a success by causing people to loose faith in the electoral systems. They say if Obama goes ahead with making this public they will accuse Obama of being partisan. Republicans go so far to tell state election officials that they should secure their systems from attack (no mention of Russians), and that they opposed any role in the federal government in securing their systems.
- 'Lose-Lose'/Options for retaliation: Obama's WH feels they have a lose lose situation, both at home (looking like partisan political interference, and fuelling Trump's spouting off of Russian hoaxes and rigged elections) and with Russian (possibly escalating Russia's efforts). They considered dozens of options. In the end Obama, in September, tells Putin to cut it out at a face to face they have at some unrelated event (though that wasn't the only communicated warning). Obama's administration also, after the election, in late December, expelled 35 Russian diplomates (they suspect are spys), took away two Russian state properties on American soil, and sanctioned 9 specific Russian entitles/individuals.
- October 7/Statement & distractions: Two members of Obama's administration released a statement, without Obama's (or Comey's) signature (to prevent appearing partisan/political), regarding the DNC hack. An hour after this statement both the Access Hollywood tape came out and the first leak of the Clinton campaign chairmen John Podesta's emails came out. (there was a debate soon after, there was an exchange about Russia IIRC, that might be interesting to look back on).
- Russia's Election Hacking: Russia attempted to penetrate electronic election systems in 21 states, and even appeared to get access to some, and changed the voter registration info on one system. It was discovered and the voter registration info was fixed. If it wasn't, that could have made it so those voters could not vote, as their ID may not have matched what the poll workers had on record.
- Nationwide Hacking Currently Hobbled: One thing helping the U.S. against this intrusion is the ~3000 voting jurisdictions,with different voting systems, etc, so hacking one doesn't automatically give hackers the ability to affect the election nationwide, though that doesn't prevent successes in a singular or various jurisdictions that could still affect an election.
- However, Russia's Capabilities: will likely only grow. Is there a plan being developed to better secure these election systems, that should stop or prevent the growing hacking capabilities of Russia from interfering next time?
Thinking about Obama and his administration's reactions and steps taken… And there desire to "appear" apolitical. Being apolitical to me doesn't just mean just trying to check your (and your teams') own biases/politics from unduly influencing your decisions, but also other people's (and the oppositions) from unduly influences your decisions. I am not sure the Obama administration passed that test here. Though Obama is pragmatic and deliberate/careful if nothing else, so it is not surprising. I do still recognize how difficult this was to navigate consider the atmosphere in the 2016 election thought…
I am more concerned about the steps being taken now. Either federally, and/or by the 3000 voting jurisdictions that manage elections and their security. The Republicans claimed to be so concerned that speaking out would helping the Russians out and making citizens loose faith in the electoral systems…. I don't think their actions here helps citizens keep faith in it….
Edited by sierraleone, 25 June 2017 - 09:33 PM.