Yesterday the Senate Intelligence Committee released the first volume of its bipartisan report on Russian election interference. Most of it was redacted, I understand. But in between the solid black boxes some information did come to light.

The key part of the report shows that it’s very likely all 50 states were targeted by Russian hackers. That doesn’t meant Moscow got into all of the states’ systems, just that it infiltrated at least one system in that state. The report did not find any evidence that hackers were able to change votes.

But because there was no discernible pattern, intelligence professionals and other US officials believe Russia likely aimed to gain access to any systems it could to better understand what it all looks like.

“What it mostly looked like to us was reconnaissance,” Michael Daniel, a top cybersecurity official at the White House during the Obama administration, told the committee in 2017. “I would have characterized it at the time as sort of conducting the reconnaissance to do the network mapping, to do the topology mapping so that you could actually understand the network, establish a presence so you could come back later and actually execute an operation.”

In other words, 2016 was just a test run. But Charles Pierce has questions:

Remember when we were all told that it was only a couple of precincts, then a couple of cities, then a couple of states? Remember when it was just data? Now, as far as we can read between the blacked-out lines, we are being asked to believe that the Russian ratfckers could have deleted “voter data,” that they “were in a position” to jack around with it, but, having achieved this monumental intelligence triumph, they didn’t do anything with it? Does that dog even look like it’s hunting any more?

Oh, who knows? What I do know is that this Russian election interference thing really is a big bleeping deal, and I’ve been saying that since 2016. And, of course, Republicans are shutting down any attempt to add protections to the voting systems. The most recent bills that Mitch McConnell killed in the Senate would have mandated the use of backup paper ballots and other technical sageguards to election systems; required campaigns to report any hacking or other foreign interference to federal authorities; and provided for protecting personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers from hacking.

These seem fairly benign to me. But Mitch was having none of it, because fair elections are partisan.

But McConnell said Democrats were just trying to make political hay on the heels of the Mueller testimony in their attempt to bring up a House bill that would mandate the use of paper ballots in states’ election systems and provide additional funding to the federal, nonpartisan Election Assistance Commission.

“This is partisan legislation from the Democratic House of Representatives,” McConnell said, noting that the bill garnered just one GOP vote in that chamber and was designed to give Democrats the political upper-hand.

“It’s very important that we maintain the integrity and security of our elections in our country,” the GOP leader said, but he added, “any Washington involvement in that task needs to be undertaken with extreme care, extreme care and on a thoroughly bipartisan basis. Obviously this legislation is not that. It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia.”

Obviously, paper has a well-known liberal bias. Meanwhile, the Right Wing Noise Machine is hyping up a conspiracy theory that it was Hillary Clinton who colluded with Russians, apparently so … that she would lose?

From Vox:

Put briefly, Hannity’s theory is that the Steele dossier — an unverified document prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele (whose work on behalf of Fusion GPS was funded in part by the Clinton campaign) that makes a number of salacious, unproven claims about the Trump campaign’s dealings with people in the sphere of the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign — contains kernels of misinformation that were intentionally fed to Steele by Russians. Per Hannity’s telling, these bits of misinformation were intended to serve as land mines to take out Trump, and were exploited by anti-Trump officials in the FBI and intelligence agencies to pursue an investigation of the Trump campaign that eventually became the Mueller investigation. Hence, Hannity views the Mueller investigation as the result of collusion between Russians and the “deep state.”

This is worthy of Glenn Beck. Does working for Fox News make one nuts, or do you have to be nuts to begin with? See also Republicans Are Doing a Good Job Blocking Efforts to Fight Russian Meddling in 2020 in Rolling Stone and Surely It’s a Coincidence That a Firm Tied to a Russian Oligarch Is Pouring Millions Into Kentucky by Charles Pierce.

Even if votes weren’t/aren’t changed, just knowing how easily our elections could be hacked sets up a way for Trump and McConnell to void election results they don’t like in 2020.


10 thoughts on “#MoscowMitch

  1. The F35 program is (as close as I can determine) 200 BILLION over budget. The congress keeps signing checks based on promises the plane will eventually perform as promised. (And as a veteran, I think it will work… but what a cost!) There's a point here – Mitch turned down a bill to safeguard our elections because it has a cost of 775 Million (with an "'M".)  So it's not a cost issue. The argument that election security is "partisan" only tracks if the party who benefits from election fraud wants to perpetuate that fraud.

    An honest election count isn't "partisan" and that's all the bill was funding.

    The rumor mill says Trump would not have signed the bill if passed because any legislation which blocks voter fraud in 2020 implies the 2016 vote wasn't legit. But even if Mitch knew Trump would veto, he shouldn't be running interference on anything this fundamental. Congress is supposed to be an independent branch of government.

    Trump lost it yesterday with a reporter who asked about prosecution for obstruction after Trump isn't in office. If that's a sore point, Nancy (and others) should be pushing that button. If legislation that implies (to Trump) that he wasn't elected fair and square, that's the button 2020 candidates should be pushing. All the people who previously kept Trump marginally "presidential" are gone. He's the master of media manipulation – push him out of his comfort zone there and he'll show his true colors.  CUND Gulag suggested we haven't has a "You can't handle the truth!" moment. That's how we get him to meltdown publicly.

  2. "It's just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent 2 years hyping a conspiracy theory', Would some journalist then say" so you are accusing Special Council Robert Mueller of committing perjury?" If it is just a theory, what was that 448 pages?

    Deripaska Mitch who refused to act when  gang of 8 briefed in fall of 2016 . Call the traitors out for what they are.

    You know a president is unfit if he is indictable the moment he leaves office.

    I would like to see Trump defeated just to watch the Republicans, the sycophants, turn on him.


  3. I'm a retired electrical engineer who believes electronic voting machines are a huge security mistake. Anything connected to the internet can be hacked. In fact, unless the machines are made with protections that would be extremely expensive, they could be hacked even without an external connection. The best thing states could do for security is use paper  ballots, which would be clumsy but cheap.

  4. I think "Moscow Mitch" is a winning slogan that could gain traction even in McConnell's home state. It's going to be test of whether this guy's clearly treasonous acts will either 1) finally sink this traitor, or 2) we're truly doomed.

  5. I know this is off subject, but the SCOTUS just decided 5 to 4 to let Dipstick have 2.5 billion of DOD money to spend on wall while the case is in the lower courts. And they stated they don't think the Sierra club had the right to bring the suit. This is outrageous

    If the suit is not valid why did they 'take' the case? While it is still in lower courts? WTF a purely political headline gift, not to mention allowing the executive branch to appropriate money which the constitution does not allow.

    Also again , like the emoluments decision a week or so ago, they attack the bringer of the case and not the substance. Really? You don't like pesky people, AGs , environmental groups bringing cases that impede your king?

    Is this the new normal? attack the bringer when you can't justify what is going on.??

    Trump is the emperor, Barr is Darth Vader( death penalty ) and Mitch is Jabba the hut. 

  6. I've been hiding in my closet for a few days.  Probably because I turned 80 yo on Monday and don't really know how to handle it.  It sounds so old but my mother was 94 when she died and my grandmother was 98.  Not sure I want to go on that long either.  Anyway I digress.  I think I'm ready to face the world again.  However, if Trump gets reelected I do not want to spend another four years of being disgusted and nauseated.  I can only imagine what it will be like.  So at this point my only option other than voting is saying my prayers.

    Here in Washington we have paper ballots.  I like that mainly because I can mail mine and not have to go out somewhere and maybe stand in line.  I'm sure I would not do that.  Not sure how safe they are as opposed to the voting machines, that is for someone else to figure out.  Just saying I like it.

    I do like moonbat's link to the metaphor of getting rid of stuff you really don't need.  I sometimes watch the TV show "Hoarding".  I realize how easy it is to hold on to stuff you don't really need and how hard it is to "let go".  Just this last week I cleared out a storage unit (or in reality my daughter and her husband did) I was paying $80 for.  A lot of the stuff went to the dump.  There was a beautiful wool accent rug with dragons on it that had to go.  Apparently the unit had leaked and there was nasty mold all over the rug. 

    My final thought is  if Trump  is the Emperor, he has no clothes and it is a very ugly sight. 

  7. McConnell gave away the game when he referred to the latest election security bills as a "partisan benefit" for the democrats, and that the bills represent a "political benefit" for the dems, essentially admitting free and fair elections, the bedrock of a democracy, hurt the GOP because they can't win without cheating.  And he knows the Russians will do it again to help Trump and the GOP.

    So the President and the Senate Majority leader, are functionally Russian assets.  Democrats need to pound this theme until election day.


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