In conjunction with the Office of the Special Counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today announced federal charges against 12 Russian intelligence operatives for attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The 11-count criminal indictment accuses several officials with a Russian military intelligence agency of conducting “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” The computer systems for the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee were allegedly “hacked” (although many victims – including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – gave up their passwords in a spearphishing scheme) and that information was distributed on the internet.
The cyber attack against Democratic political organizations began in March 2016 and continued up until the election. (In February, Rosenstein announced indictments against three Russian entities and 13 Russian individuals for using social media accounts to target American voters.) Rosenstein said there is “no allegation that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result.”
During his press conference announcing the indictments, Rosenstein engaged in the now-routine law enforcement practice of lecturing, preening and politicking that we hoi polloi must endure whenever a prosecutor does his job: It is the prosecutorial equivalence of dancing in the end zone. “I want to caution you that people who speculate about federal investigations usually do not know all of the relevant facts. We do not try cases on television or in Congressional hearings. (Take that, Devin Nunes!) We follow the rule of law, which means we follow procedures. When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it’s important for us to avoid thinking politically, as Republicans or Democrats, and instead to think patriotically, as Americans.”
The G-Man as Political Preacher is my least favorite G-Man.
So, what does this mean? First, it means that after two years, the Justice Department still has no evidence that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the election outcome. Second, it means the Obama Administration was completely flat-footed in stopping the cyber warfare that now is viewed as so treacherous and such a threat to democracy that taxpayers are paying special investigators big bucks to smoke out the international criminals who were responsible for it. The February indictments claim the activity began in 2014. Today’s indictment also mentions that the conspirators stole documents from Republican Party officials in 2015.
Meanwhile, we still have not heard from the former president about why his administration did not act more forcefully to stop this Russian incursion. (I guess Putin wasn’t scared by Obama’s “cut it out” tough talk.) And the media continues to ignore the Obama Administration’s role in allowing Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 election.
Must be too busy chasing down members of the 1990 OSU wrestling team and former interns for Rep. James Jordan.