3 August 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Yesterday, the top security officials of the US turned up in the White House briefing room to tell the press and the American people that the Russians are continuing their efforts from 2016 to undermine the Republic and America's democratic institutions. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, National Security Adviser John Bolton, National Security Agency chief Gen. Paul Nakasone, and FBI Director Chris Wray all spoke in explaining the situation and what the government is doing. Defense Secretary James Mattis echoed these statements at the Pentagon. This represents a split with the president and his public statements over the last year and a half.
DNI Coats said, "We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States. The President has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority."
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that American democracy is "in the crosshairs" of other nations' attacks. "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries who seek . . . to sow discord and undermine our way of life."
Mr. Bolton said, "I think the President has made it abundantly clear to everybody who has responsibility in this area that he cares deeply about it and that he expects them to do their jobs to their fullest ability and that he supports them fully,"
Despite the slander by the White House that the FBI is corrupt, Director Wray stated, "I can assure the American people that the men and women of the FBI, starting from the director, all the way on down, are going to follow our oaths and do our jobs."
General Nakasone added, "We're not going to accept meddling in the elections."
"We, the Department of Defense, are taking active measures to protect election security including monitoring our adversaries," Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
A few hours later, the president was at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he said, "In Helsinki, I had a great meeting with Putin," he said. "We discussed everything -- I had a great meeting. We got along really well. By the way, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. That's a really good thing. Now we're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax, OK? I'll tell you what, Russia's very unhappy that Trump won, that I can tell you."
That isn't what Mr. Putin said in Helsinki. In response to a question from a journalist, the President of Russia said he wanted Mr. Trump to win the presidency.
The facts are clear. The Russians are unable to compete in traditional ways, but they have discovered that cyber warfare works for them. They are not going to stop such shenanigans until and unless they are forced to pay a price for doing so. The President of the US is actively discouraging action against the Russians. The security apparatus of the US understands that the Russians are attacking the US at an institutional and social level, and that counter-measures must follow.
The US Senate has a bipartisan bill, according to Reuters, that "includes restrictions on new Russian sovereign debt transactions, energy and oil projects and Russian uranium imports, and new sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs. It also expresses strong support for NATO and would require that two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of any effort to leave the alliance."
The White House is almost certain to work against the bill, and unless it passes both houses with veto-proof majorities, the president will veto it. While this journal respects the work of the security chiefs, one wonders how long they can continue to work for an administration that actively ignores attacks on the US and undermines efforts to counter them.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.