As the U.S. struggles to come to grips with Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, a theme that has gone under the radar is how this is not the first time Russia has hacked into U.S.’ critical systems; How has Obama let Putin get away with it for so long?
It is a question incumbent President, Donald J. Trump, thinks his predeseccor spectacularly failed as deals with the fallout amidst his own Russia scandal in which he is embroiled in, no matter his constant denials of any collusion with the country to meddle in the election he successfully won last year.
But Russia’s cyber capabilities were paraded numerous times against the U.S., in particular a hacking of the State Department, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the White House in 2014 — an extraordinary escalation of the Soviet country’s boldness, without fear of repercussions by an administration anxious to retaliate.
China was perhaps, unsurprisingly, the chief cyber criminal at the start of Obama’s tenure as president, following China’s hacking into his campaign in 2008. This hacking was followed by a worldwide hack in Google, culminating in sensitive material being swept up in the intrusion.
So, you can see why China was in
Leon Panetta in 2012 warned Putin that any cyber attack would be considered an act of war.
After seeing no real tangible push backs on their aggression, Putin and Russia were only emboldened. The next victim was U.S. ambassador to Russia, whose conversation with a Ukrainian politician was leaked in a transcript after their phone call was intercepted by Russian
The hackers swept up Mr. Obama’s email correspondence in a breach that only accessed unclassified, but highly sensitive, information including schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.
Senior White House officials knew for months the scope of the intrusion by the Russian hackers — who are assumed to be working for the Kremlin, but were extraordinarily tight-lipped on the hacking as they grappled with the scope of the attack.