“Grizzly Steppe”: Is This a Joke?

Featured image The Obama administration is retaliating against Russia for hacking into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account. It would have been much better if the administration had reacted when Russia hacked into the White House’s and State Department’s computers in 2014, but, as Glenn Reynolds says, at that time only national security was at stake, while now, it’s something really important: the Democratic Party’s power. So yesterday the administration released its long-anticipated report »

Trump’s response to Obama’s Russian hacking sanctions

Featured image Donald Trump has issued a brief statement about President Obama’s decision to take retaliatory measures against Russia in response to its alleged hacking of DNC and John Podesta email accounts. Trump said: It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to »

Obama Orders Sanctions On Russia. But Why Now?

Featured image Today, while on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama announced mild sanctions against Russia, which he attributed to Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and also to unspecified harassment of U.S. diplomats. The Associated Press reports: In a sweeping response to election hacking and other meddlesome behavior, President Barack Obama on Thursday sanctioned Russian intelligence services and their top officials, kicked out 35 Russian officials and closed down two »

Russian Hackery for Hacks [With Comment by John]

Featured image In case you missed it last Friday in the run-up to Christmas, Brian Kennedy of the American Strategy Group offered up an extremely lucid analysis of the complete absurdity of the thesis that Putin’s Russia hacked into our election process with the deliberate intent to help Donald Trump win. To be sure, Trump’s equivocal statements about Putin lend some superficial plausibility to this idea—if you’re six years old. Or a »

About that “typo”

Featured image Last week the New York Times published a long story by three of their top reporters on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails. In a good summary of one thread of the article, Ed Rogers notes the “Keystone Cops-worthy episode” when the FBI sought to alert the DNC: [I]t turns out the FBI repeatedly called the DNC beginning in September 2015 to warn them about hacking »

Persuading Marco

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Sen. Marco Rubio is being lobbied by former vice president Dick Cheney and others who are trying to persuade him to support the nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Rubio has expressed displeasure with the Tillerson selection because of the Exxon-Mobil man’s ties with Vladimir Putin. If Rubio opposes Tillerson, his vote could sink the nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which »

Obama to Putin: Cut It Out!

Featured image Barack Obama has spent the last eight years resisting the idea that Russia is an adversary of the United States. First we had the “reset”; next the cancellation of the Eastern European missile shield; then we had Obama assuring President Medvedev that he would be able to give away the store, but the Russians would need to wait for his second term; and then the presidential debate where Obama mocked »

The hackers & the hacks

Featured image The Washington Post and New York Times have created a post-election furor with stories citing unnamed intelligence sources promoting a certain line on Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta email accounts. Podesta now takes to the pages of the Washington Post to call out the FBI. Podesta’s gmail account appears to have been hacked via a simple phishing scam with no evident connection to Russia. The phishing scam »

Poll: Republican voters less hostile to Putin these days

Featured image In July 2014, Vladimir Putin’s net favorability rating among Republicans was minus 64 points, according to an Economist/YouGov poll (reported by the Washington Post). Now, according to the same source, it is only minus 16. What has happened in the past two and half years that might affect how one views Putin? I can think of three things. First, Putin’s forces have taken a major role in perpetrating the atrocity »

How not to respond to Russian cyber meddling

Featured image Let’s say you’re Vladimir Putin and your agents caused hacking of the emails of John Podesta and the DNC. If U.S. intelligence officials concluded that you were responsible for the hacking, what reaction would you want from the U.S. government? My guess is that Putin would want the U.S. to be reacting just about the way it is now. He would want the president officially to accuse Russia of meddling »

Circular meetings, Obama style

Featured image The New York Times stokes the hysteria over the crisis of the republic fomented by the left over successful Russian hacking of Democratic targets. The Times story today carries the byline of three senior reporters. The Times injects echoes of Watergate with a photograph at the top of the story that illustrates a point in the text: “Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the »

Tillerson, Putin, and Trump

Featured image As I suggested this morning, the proper approach to the nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is open-mindedness. There seem to be legitimate concerns about his relationship with Vladimir Putin, but let’s wait and see what he and others say to allay the concerns before reaching a conclusion. In the meantime, I offer two observations. First, much will be made of Tillerson winning the Kremlin’s Order of Friendship »

Tillerson, Russia, and hypocrisy

Featured image Rex Tillerson will be President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. As head of Exxon-Mobil, Tillerson has ties with Russia and a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, who awarded him the Kremlin’s Order of Friendship in 2012. On the other hand, Tillerson reportedly has the support of Condoleezza Rice and former vice president Cheney. They must believe he will not be soft of Russia. Nonetheless, Senators like John McCain and »

McConnell says Senate will probe alleged Russian election interference

Featured image Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that a Senate intelligence panel plans to investigate Russia’s suspected election interference. At the same time, McConnell rejected calls for an expanded congressional probe — e.g., a joint Senate-House panel or a special committee like the one that investigated Benghazi. Instead, he insisted that any probe would follow “regular order” through the current committee structure. Donald Trump continues to pooh-pooh the idea of »

Remember When the Russians Hacked the White House’s Computers?

Featured image You probably don’t. We broke the story on Power Line in October 2014, writing about it here, here, here, here, here and here. The White House’s computers were down for weeks because of the intrusion by a “foreign power,” which the administration finally identified as Russia. It wasn’t just the White House, either; it was the entire Executive Office of the President, which comprises a good chunk of the executive »

Report: Trump poised to nominate Tillerson for Sec. of State

Featured image Donald Trump reportedly will nominate Exxon-Mobil chief Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State barring a late and unanticipated shift in Trump’s thinking. So says the Washington Post among other outlets. Tillerson’s experience with foreign affairs apparently consists entirely of negotiating oil deals with foreigners. This is an unconventional resume for Secretary of State. However, Trump seems to have conducted a diligent search for his Secretary of State, and I »

Russian “Meddling” In Election: Most Overblown Story Ever? [Updated]

Featured image It is certainly the most overblown story in a long time. The casual reader of newspaper headlines might well believe that the Russian government hacked into voting machines, or something of the sort, to influence the presidential election. But that is not the case. If you read the Washington Post story, they are merely talking about the well-known hacks of Democratic National Committee and John Podesta emails. The only news »