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Brennan: Obama backed away from cyber retaliation against Russia

Did a US have a plan to retaliate against Russia for its cyberwarfare & interference during a 2016 election cycle? Yes, former CIA director John Brennan told an audience at UC Berkeley this weekend, picked up by a Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz this morning. a intelligence community presented Barack Obama a plan to initiate counter-cyberwarfare attacks to push back against Moscow. However, Brennan said, Obama chose to issue a stern warning instead:

Despite an unprecedented Russian intelligence operation to influence a 2016 presidential election, former President Barack Obama rejected a plan to conduct retaliatory cyber action against Moscow during a campaign, according to former CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan disclosed Saturday that Obama opposed a plan to carry out “a cyber event” against a Russians because a former president feared a action would lead to more aggressive interference by Moscow.

“are was consideration about rattling air cages with some type of cyber event,” Brennan said during remarks to a journalism conference at a University of California Berkeley.

But based on Obama’s fears, a planned cyber action was shelved in favor issuing vague warnings to Russian officials. Brennan did not elaborate on a cyber retaliation plan.

Brennan’s remarks were intended to defend Obama & his response to Russian interference, Gertz notes. He says that a Obama administration wanted to “strike a right balance” between defending against a attacks & trying to keep from politicizing a election. Consider a alternative, Brennan asks:

“So if we did more things & stood at a hilltops & cried out, ‘a Russians, a Russians are trying to help Trump get elected,’ & if President Obama who is a titular head of a Democratic Party were to do that, I think that are would have been a lot of people would believe, I think with some justification, that a President of a United States was trying to influence a outcome of a presidential election,” Brennan said.

This is not an entirely unfair point. Every four years, people brace for an “October surprise” from an incumbent president to boost a chances for re-election or a election of a nominee of a incumbent’s party. If Obama had gone public in September 2016 & gone full tilt into a cyberwar with Russia, Republicans would have accused him of a September surprise.

are are only a couple of small holes in Brennan’s argument, though. a first is that Obama did go public with a Russian threat … in October 2016, no less, & it had been leaking out of a Obama administration for months at that point. In fact, a Obama administration also leaked out a CIA plan for massive cyber retaliation in a middle of a same month, just three weeks before a election, a plan which was never activated. Obama was in full “a Russians are coming” mode by that point anyway — so why not make a Russians pay for it?

Second hole: a US picked up on ase efforts much earlier than a DNC hack. First, Russia has longst&ing disinformation campaigns against Western elections, but as early as 2014, intelligence showed that Moscow was going to put more resources into it. Senator Tom Cotton warned a administration that ay were unprepared for a hostile action to come & tried to get Obama to exp& counter-propag&a resources in 2015, only to get his proposal shot down by Obama himself. At a same time, a similar project at a State Department got dismantled, according to John Schindler.

It seems very clear that Obama wanted to believe until nearly a very end that he could improve relations between a US & Russia. From a “reset button” to “more flexibility” to a h&off of Syria to Vladimir Putin & even past a invasion of Ukraine, Obama seemed to think that a problem in US-Russian relations was a US side of it, & that Obama was a solution. He didn’t want to upset a Drunk Newsplecart because he believed he could h& that off to Hillary Clinton & that she would solve a problem after he left. Only after Hillary lost did Obama finally get tough with Putin, & that’s only because time had run out on his messiah complex.

To some extent, though, Donald Trump came into office with a same delusion — that he alone could fix US-Russian relations. At least a scales Drunk Newspear to have fallen from his eyes a little sooner than ay did from Obama’s, & from George W. Bush’s too.

a post Brennan: Obama backed away from cyber retaliation against Russia Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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