One after another, in an extraordinary display of red-flag waving, senior military officials are stating quite plainly that under Trump the U.S. has done next to nothing to combat the growing threat posed by Russia.
The threats, they stress, come in the form of cyberattacks like the ones from the 2016 presidential election, as well as Russian attacks inside Syria.
Russian agents targeted California in 2016, but were not successful at breaking in to the state’s Department of Technology network, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The latest public warning came on Thursday from Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. general in Europe. Testifying during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and asked whether there has been a unified effort across the U.S. to confront Russian cyber threats he said, “I don’t believe there is an effective unification across the interagency with the energy and the focus that we could attain.”
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, nominated to run the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command, acknowledged that plans were in place to strike back at Russia for its election hacking in 2016. (Those actions would require Mr. Trump’s approval, which haven’t come.)
But General Nakasone said the Russians seem unimpressed by the U.S.’s potential response. “I would say right now they do not think much will happen to them,” he said this week. “They don’t fear us.”
Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, warned lawmakers on Tuesday that Russia continues to pose a grave threat to stability in Syria.
“Moscow is playing the role of arsonist and firefighter, he said. “Fueling tensions and then trying to resolve them in their favor, and then manipulating all the parties they can in order to achieve their objectives.”
Late last month, U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Mike Rogers shocked many when he was asked by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) if he had been directed by the President, through the defense secretary, to confront Russian cyber-operators at the source. Rogers responded, “No, I have not.”
Rogers added that the U.S.’s response to Russia’s cyber threat to date “has not changed the calculus or the behavior on behalf of the Russians.”
In California, Secretary of State Alex Padilla says the state has, “strong security measures in place,” and urged lawmakers to support Gov. Brown’s $134 million request to update county voting systems.
On the national scene, “President Donald Trump has only glancingly and grudgingly acknowledged the consensus view of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign with a view to helping him get elected,” CNN recently noted.
Indeed, even when Russian President Vladimir Putin recently bragged about the country having “invisible” nuclear missiles that cannot be stopped, and even when he showed a video simulating an attack on Florida, Trump did nothing in response.
Also, it was reported on Monday that Trump’s State Department has spent none of the $120 million allocated to fight Russian meddling.
By refusing to act and by refusing to defend the U.S. from growing threats, Trump certainly acts like a man who’s deeply compromised by Russia.