The U.S. military took action against Russian cyberattacks against our democracy on Election Day in November, successfully shutting down Internet access to a Russian troll farm allegedly run by an oligarch under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) interfered with the 2016 Election in an effort to help Donald Trump become president, and while Trump has been reluctant to do anything to prevent it from happening in 2020, he was under tremendous pressure to actually do something about it prior to the midterm election.
Just hours before the election began, U.S. Cyber Command blocked the IRA’s access to the Internet, effectively preventing them from meddling with the election after Trump signed the order. Without the interference from Russia, Democrats took back the House by winning 40 seats.
A Cyber Command official told the Washington Post that the action “was part of the first offensive cyber campaign against Russia designed to thwart attempts to interfere with a U.S. election.”
According to NBC News:
The IRA has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with interfering in the 2016 election. Financed by a Kremlin-connected oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the St. Peterburg-based company employed Russians who posed as Americans on social media and sought to sow division in U.S. politics by launching and amplifying extreme messages at the far ends of the political spectrum, according to federal prosecutors.
“We do not discuss classified cyberspace planning and operations. U.S. Cyber Command will continue to work as part of the whole-of-government effort to defend our elections and democratic institutions from foreign malign influence,” Cyber Command spokesman Joseph Holstead said.
But while this operation was successful, U.S Cyber Command is unsure how long they will be allowed to keep Russia at bay since Trump has spent much of his administration ignoring the threat or insisting that it doesn’t exist.
For instance, Trump eliminated the White House cyber security post and has refused to spend money allocated by Congress for the State Department to start countering these Russian operations.
Surprisingly, Trump signed off on the action taken by the military in November, but after massive Republican losses and the fact that his own poll numbers are in the toilet, he may choose to let Russia run wild during the 2020 Election if it means he can get re-elected, especially now that he knows how effective our forces are at stopping Russian meddling.
And that’s bad because Trump’s own intelligence chiefs have contradicted his claims about Russian meddling in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“Not only the Russians continued to do it in 2018, but we have seen indication that they’re continuing to adapt the model and that other countries are taking a very interested eye in that approach,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said, warning that Russia is teaching our other enemies to attack us through cyberspace.
NSA Director General Paul Nakasone, who oversaw the operation in November, agreed with the assessment.
Clearly, Russia is meddling with our elections and continue to intend to do so in future elections despite Trump’s claims to the contrary. He lied to the American people about Russia’s activities. The only reason they did not swing the midterm election in Trump’s favor is because the military shut down the troll farm responsible for it. Analysts have warned that Russia will do even more to meddle in 2020. The only difference is Trump will be on the ballot, which means he will likely prevent the military and government agencies from fighting back in defense of our democratic process.
This must not be allowed to happen. Because if Trump wins, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin wins. And America and the free world loses.
Here’s video via MSNBC:
Featured Image: Wikimedia