I'm on the right side of politics and enjoy a good debate on government, the economy, common sense, and the rights of the people.
The notion of a foreign government hacking into key United States owned resources or agencies to gather intelligence for nefarious reasons is always a possibility, and in fact does happen. It's no secret that many government agencies work with antiquated computer systems, which may or may not be as secure as they think. Many IT employees are chosen for their political leanings first and their skill set second; opening up another potential area of vulnerability. With so much of the nation's secrets being stored on a computer somewhere, there certainly is the incentive for an outside nation to make an attempt at hacking us or any other world power, where similar protocols are occurring. History shows us that our nation has been attacked electronically many times, with most of the successful incursions happening under the watch of President Obama.
Cyber Attacks Under President Obama
In 2015, hackers entered the electronic White House archives, stealing contacts and e-mails from the President and other key officials. Nothing classified was reported as being taken. The IRS was also hacked in 2015, with tax return information for over 100,000 citizens being stolen. Another attack came in July 2015, this time it was the Joint Chiefs of Staff e-mail system. The system served 4,000 mostly military personnel who served on the staff and was unclassified. Officials after investigating the sophisticated techniques used deemed it must have been sponsored by a foreign government. News agencies made a connection to Russia. The Chinese were blamed for a hack on the Office of Personnel Management, reported in July, 2015. In this instance, 22.1 million government had their personal information lifted from government servers. This included social security numbers and other key information that applicants for security clearances provided.
The State Department's unclassified e-mail system was hacked in the fall of 2014, as well as the White House. This attack was very sophisticated and required all hands on deck to battle the hackers. For months, despite the combined efforts of NSA technical workers, outside contractors, and a number of other agencies assisting, the hacking tools used could not be evicted from the system. Little has been said publically about the incident since then formally. Informally, Secretary of State John Kerry has been quoted as saying he thinks the Russians and Chinese regularly read his e-mail. No nation or individual has been identified as the hacker. Also in 2014, the Army Corps of Engineers had sensitive information lifted dealing with the 85,000 dams located across the nation. This data included size, age, maintenance records, and the scenarios developed in case of the dams being breached. Also in 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was said to have been breeched by Chinese hackers but the details on why a foreign nation would attack the government weather network have been thin.
Other hacks in 2014 include the US Postal Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was successfully hacked three separate times in recent years using tainted e-mails. At least two of the attacks are confirmed as coming from outside the country. Additionally 17 other suspected breaches came in the years 2010-2013.
In 2013, the State Department was breeched with the addresses of 170 employees being publically released. The global group known as Anonymous took credit for the breech, merely demonstrating their power. Also in 2013, the Department of Energy was breeched with the personal data of over 100,000 people being compromised. This data contained financial information, social security data, and home addresses; the department was forced to spend nearly $4 million dollars on credit monitoring services for those compromised after the fact. In 2013 alone, the Federal Government was victimized by over 61,000 cyber attacks or security breaches.
Government Hacks Prior to the Obama Administration
The examples of past hacks made on government computer systems can easily demonstrate that it can and has been done. In a smaller and less-known hack that took place in 2006, hackers again breeched the State Department. In this breech, the hackers were alleged to have stolen sensitive intelligence information and log-on information. They also tried to load code which would open secret backdoors for future incursions. They exploited a design flaw in the Microsoft coding which was accessed when a State Department staffer working in Asia opened a mysterious e-mail. In June 2007, the US Secretary of Defense’s unclassified email account was hacked by unknown foreign intruders as part of a larger series of attacks to access and exploit the Pentagon's networks.
In mid-2008, The databases of both Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns were hacked and downloaded by unknown foreign intruders. This incursion looks eerily similar to the events that took place earlier this year, expect in those cases, the attack into the DNC succeeded while the attack made on the RNC was blocked by stronger security software.
Inside Jobs Are Not Hacks
In addition to the hacks, there have been many instances of data thefts in what are commonly known as inside jobs. The media has a tendency to add these to the list of known security breaches, attempting to create a larger than life narrative about poor electronic security.
In 2010, a junior military intelligence worker, Private Bradley Manning, while stationed in Iraq, illegally downloaded 250,000 State Department cables. Manning turned these over to WikiLeaks, who then unfortunately released them to the public. Manning was subsequently arrested and is now serving time in a Military detention facility. Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and computer expert stole thousands of classified documents in 2013, which were partially disclosed to the public. Snowden is now living in asylum somewhere in Russia. Another contractor for the same company as Snowden worked for was also quietly arrested in August, 2016 for stealing classified information.
In all three of these cases, there was no hacking of any systems. These three individuals had access to the data and they made a conscious decision to steal it; something which could easily occur in any company or government office.
Where Is the Evidence?
In the recent election cycle, information was being distributed almost daily, which contained leaked e-mails and documents that were very unfavorable and embarrassing for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton. In October, prior to the election, a statement was made which basically accused the Russians of being behind all the different hacks, attacks, and data thefts. The stance from the White House is that 17 US government agencies all concurred that the hackings originated in Russia. This is about as believable as the narrative that all climate scientists agree that global warming is caused by mankind. When we look deeper into the 17 agencies, what we see is that the 17 is actually 2. The United States Intelligence Community is made of 16 agencies which all work together, so in effect, the one answer is being exploited for the sake of a bigger appearance. The other is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The 16 agencies in the USIC list are comprised of the CIA, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard Intelligence, the Department of Energy, State, Homeland Security, Treasury, the DEA, NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the FBI, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. These are all agencies that the President has influence over.
WikiLeaks founder and leader, Julian Assange has already said multiple times that the information he published came from an insider who was part of the Democratic National Commission; the mystery informant was unhappy at how Bernie Sanders was railroaded by the DNC and decided to show the world how corrupt they were. Marcel Lazăr Lehel the hacker known as Guccifer is Romanian and his exploits are widely known and documented. His efforts were unproductive in the big scheme of things.
So What Are We to Think?
If we start looking at all of the leaks and so-called hacks that took place before the elections, there really is no concrete evidence that the Russian government had any involvement. It's to the point that even Russian President Putin is demanding proof. We know that Guccifer has already admitted to being a participant, but he's not employed by the Russian state. We also know that rumors have surfaced over the years about similar hacking events in other nations, usually to influence opinions on certain matters. Some of those delicate topics did include Russian activities. These are the facts that American Intelligence agencies are using to thread this accusation together. The White House is trying to say that all the included agencies came to the same conclusions alone, without collusion.
The Democrats in the Obama administration and their political cronies in the media are in a tight spot right now, as a false accusation could lead America into another cold war type of relationship with Russia. The evidence doesn't support anything other than an attempt to discredit President-elect Trump's victory. It's now beginning to look like the Democrat's master plan is to try and push America to the brink of war with Russia in an attempt to derail the rebuilding of the nation. A successful Presidency by Trump, especially if he's able to do all the things he is planning, would permanently ruin the Democratic brand.
A Brief History of Cyber Attacks - NATO Review
- The history of cyber attacks - a timeline
NATO Review's timeline on cyber attacks shows the history - and seriousness - of attacks since they began in the 1980s.
- WikiLeaks Fast Facts - CNN.com
WikiLeaks has been publishing leaked e-mails and other data for over a decade and has not shown bias toward any particular cause. A fairly complete timeline of what was leaked and who was involved is detailed in this CNN Library piece.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 20, 2016:
Liberal politics prevent any news that is unfavorable from being published anywhere except in those pesky "alt-right" news feeds.......that is all citizens
Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor on December 20, 2016:
I find it hilarious that more electors tried to defect from Hillary Clinton Monday than from Trump, by a count of eight to two. Three Democratic electors in Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado tried to vote for candidates other than Clinton. The electors' votes, however, were disallowed because of state rules binding them to the statewide popular vote winner.
Faithless’ Electors Mostly Came From States Clinton Won
Four more electors in Washington state defected from Clinton. Three voted for Colin Powell and one for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American who gained some notoriety for her protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
And in Hawaii, an elector successfully cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders instead of Clinton.
Some of the Democratic electors tried to vote for Sanders, though only the Hawaii vote will remain an official Electoral College tally for the Vermont Senator. Others, including the Powell voters in Washington, were attempting to promote alternate Republican candidates that the House of Representatives could theoretically elect as president instead of Trump.
So it appears that some electors, 4 to 1, thought Hillary's votes were illegitimate? Just reinforces the fact that the left is where you'll find the loons, 4 to 1, at least! Why hasn't that take appeared in the news? Not fake enough?
Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 20, 2016:
So, now we have past the hurdle of the Electoral College - President Trump can't be stopped short of him stepping aside or dying. The drone of Liberal complaints continues to increase in volume, with no end in sight. I'm pretty sure someone will try to disrupt the inauguration - fools if they do since trying to stop the lawful transfer of power of a President is most likely a felony - maybe Michael Moore will get a nice cozy prison cell for his efforts.
Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 18, 2016:
The Electoral College vote will come and go - Trump will be confirmed
breakfastpop on December 18, 2016:
This is just like the old movie, "The Russians are Coming." The Dems can't accept a Trump victory so they have decided to make the Russians the villains. There is no proof of any such incursion into our election. The emails released were true, and proved quite handily that Hillary was the true threat to our security. Let's just put this to bed and move on.
Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor on December 16, 2016:
Hacking is spying, it's been around as long as there have been human beings and it will never stop. It is real and it is an excuse. Excuses and scapegoats have been created as long as there have been human beings. So what's new?
Nothing is new about this but what is the plain truth is that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about and that is the lesson of the Wikileaks emails. Whether they were hacked for the Russians or as alleged handed over by a Democrat (or democrats appalled at the DNC colluding with Hillary to destroy Bernie Sander's candidacy)
the criminal attempt to influence the Presidential election and the Democrat primary and the influence of money from foreign governments (foundation front) was being committed by the Democrats and not the Russians. That is the real story where there is more than a smoking gun instead of a democrat administration's (the losers) charges that the Russians wanted Trump to win. Really? The Russians won him the election? NO, it's plain as the nose on your face, Hillary and the Democrats won Trump the election.
Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 16, 2016:
Mike - I heard that very same narrative on a talk show yesterday. President Obama was so sure Hillary would win that he basically punted the entire cyber-security topic down the road for her to deal with; some leadership that is.
If Obama pardons Hillary, I perceive that as a slap in the face to her - she'll forever be remembered as someone who was "guilty" - after all, why else would she need a pardon. Her political life is over anyway.
Old Poolman on December 16, 2016:
My first question would be is would anyone even care if Hillary had won the election? I rather doubt it.
I could see people being really upset if what was published was totally false information, but it wasn't false. It would seem to me that all efforts should be going to cyber security to prevent this from happening again and again.
The real heartburn comes from the public being made aware of the truth about Clinton and what they did to Bernie Sanders. They have no way to deny this information since there is now backup documentation.
Hillary will most likely get a pardon for all her sins and security breeches during her time in the State Department.
Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 16, 2016:
One thing I noticed throughout my research for this article was that the lion's share of breaches were the State Department - that itself is a direct and condemnatory measurement on Hillary Clinton's leadership while at State. Obama sat on the golf course while she let the world get an inside view on our foreign policy. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 16, 2016:
I think Mr Obama should be more concerned with his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having had an insecure server for all those years open to let anyone in to all of the US secret information, well just anything Hillary was doing on her watch. Oh but hey, he was emailing her too wasn't he? Guess he knew about that a little before we got it on the 6 o'clock news!
And what about all the hacking the US did against other governments I heard about a few months back? Doesn't count?
He is letting terrorists kill millions of people on his watch and doing nothing but Trump really worries him. I hope so, I hope there is every reason for it.