As the days to January 20, 2017 wind down, President Barak Obama is doing all he can to leave the incoming Trump administration burdened with additional defense and foreign policy initiatives that at best, like so many during his past eight years, yield little to applaud and at worst significantly increase the dangers to the American people and our overseas allies. These actions only increase the challenge and urgency for President Trump to achieve his promise to the American People that he would “Drain the Swamp.”
The new Congress, sworn in today, can get a head start in providing the needed groundwork to reverse the most unwelcome failures of the eight Obama years, which came nowhere near achieving the advances that the Nobel Peace Prize heralded even before he took office, perhaps on the basis of his much acclaimed promise for “Hope and Change.”
Without a detailed recounting, recall just a few of President Obama’s most notable failures:
- The infamous reset with Russia at the beginning of his first term — and his promised great progress once elected for his second, neither of which worked out to benefit America or our allies;
- The “red line” he drew re. Syrian Chemical weapons without consequences when it was crossed, before essentially abandoning American leadership in the Middle East to Russia and Vladimir Putin;
- The premature military withdrawal from Iraq that led to ISIS — which he called a JV Team when it began and has grown to be a global threat, including in America where it is exacerbated by un-vetted mass emigration;
- The military and diplomatic failures in Libya that led to the Benghazi fiasco and the death our Ambassador and three other Americans — and the continuing chaos;
- The rain dance that produced a terrible unverifiable deal assuring a nuclear armed Iran (if it has not already obtained nukes in cooperation with its ally North Korea) while removing $150 billion or so in sanctions that had been working to limit Iran’s development activities, and providing another $1.5 billion or so in a trade for hostages;
- The failed policies with Iran’s partner, North Korea, especially on nuclear and ballistic missile development, which Kim Jong Un claims is on the verge of launching an ICBM that can attack America with a nuclear weapon — which would supplement North Korea’s demonstrated capability to carry a nuclear weapon on a satellite such that it could be detonated over the United States to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could lead to the death of most Americans;
- Ineffective diplomacy and military actions that have failed to halt China’s adventurism, especially in the South China Sea, that creates major instabilities in that part of the world — so far ineffectively dealt with by the Obama administration’s “tilt to Asia” strategy;
- The atrophy of America’s military capabilities and operations effectiveness — e.g., our Navy has fewer ships than since before World War I and it was just reported that for the first time since World War II we have no aircraft carriers at sea (recall that our carriers were at sea during the Pearl Harbor attack and were essential to our Pacific victory);
- Similarly, our Strategic systems (our ICBMs, submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and bombers) are aging — some crews on our strategic bombers include the grandsons of those who flew our first B-52s. Moreover, we have not tested any of our aging nuclear weapons since 1992 — nor have we developed new nuclear weapons since long before then — while Russia has, by the way, to fit on its modernized strategic delivery systems; and
- We have not kept up with Russia and China in developing our ability to protect our vital space systems, nor to exploit our technological advantage to assure our superiority in space.
Enough already … even though there’s more Obama administration disastrous stewardship of our defense and foreign policy programs and related policies that need correction and appropriate redirection! And I have ideas about what the Trump administration should do ASAP to rectify these failures to help “Make America Great Again!”
But, because of the near-term problems that can result from recent and continuing Obama administration last gasp initiatives, let me turn to how President Obama is “passing a greased baton” to President Elect Donald Trump — as illustrated by the disgusting Obama initiatives in the past week and the possibilities for the next 17 days.
First — on December 23rd, the Obama administration shamefully betrayed our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. President Obama and his minions went along with (if they did not actually formulate and press for) United Nations Resolution 2334, which calls for Israel to abandon the most sacred sites of Judaism, among other non-starter provisions. Unless rectified, it will set back hope for a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. It also undercuts Israel’s efforts to counter attacks by the PLO and other Islamic terrorist groups — which, with Iran’s support, refuse even to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
Click here for Andy McCarthy’s blistering reaction to Secretary of State John Kerry’s defense of this betrayal of our long-time ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East, especially in view of Kerry’s astonishing claim that “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both.”
And now there are concerns that additional UN related meetings on January 15 and 17 can add to the most unhelpful condition already instituted by the shameful actions of the Obama administration — just before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Click here for Caroline Glick’s discussion of these concerns.
Second — on December 29th, President Obama blamed Russia for cyber attacks on the Democrat National Committee (DNC) and associated public releases, claimed specifically to be intended to favor Donald Trump in his campaign for President — a dubious claim while his administration continues to ignore far more consequential cyber threats to the United States and our allies.
Click here for the 13-page report, issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, that has been alleged to justify these claims. A careful reading of this report proves no such thing. It contains no details and is mostly about what prudent security authorities should do to protect their internet operations from what the U.S. Government calls ”Grizzly Steppe” cyber operations associated with the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) malware employed by whoever actually conducted the cyber attack for whatever reason, by using Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29, that entered into the party’s systems in summer 2015, while the second, known as APT28, entered in spring 2016. See below for an associated illustrative diagram.
According to the Grizzly Steppe report:
“An APT29 spearphishing campaign in Summer 2015 directed emails containing a malicious link to over 1,000 recipients, including multiple U.S. Government victims. APT29 used legitimate domains, to include domains associated with U.S. organizations and educational institutions, to host malware and send spearphishing emails. In the course of that campaign, APT29 successfully compromised a U.S. political party. At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party’s systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.
“In spring 2016, APT28 compromised the same political party, again via targeted spearphishing. This time, the spearphishing email tricked recipients into changing their passwords through a fake webmail domain hosted on APT28 operational infrastructure. Using the harvested credentials, APT28 was able to gain access and steal content, likely leading to the exfiltration of information from multiple senior party members. The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed” (Emphasis added.)
From this bottom line the press has concluded that this hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails was intended to favor Donald Trump — while ignoring the fact that officials from the Republican National Committee (RNC) indicated that such attempts failed to penetrate their cyber defenses. Apparently, the RNC and its officials did a better job of protecting their emails, perhaps employing at least some of the measures recommended by most of the Grizzly Steppe report. There was no Grizzly Steppe conclusion about intent.
More interesting to me, and hopefully to others, was the more important concern about the vulnerability of the electric power grid to cyberattack reflected by a report that the Vermont grid had been hacked by these same methods. Click here for this important account which includes other cyberattacks of note. It also carries a correction that an earlier report had been revised to indicate that a laptop computer had been hacked rather than the Vermont grid — because the computer was not connected to the grid.
Whee — narrow escape, right?
But wait, not so fast! The Russians are known to have been conducting cyber attacks on our electric grid since 2014 and earlier, e.g., according to Cyber expert Joe Weiss. Check here for his sobering report this morning on the Vermont case, including a much broader perspective than the above press accounts. It also includes his brief unflattering assessment of the Grizzly Steppe operation and the associated DHS/FBI report.
And don’t forget that National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers testified in 2014 that he anticipated a cyberattack on the U.S. electric grid that could black out the nation’s source of electricity within the next decade (Click here.) — and the clock is ticking. He pointed to Russia and China as potential culprits.
By the way, the NSA is the nation’s most competent expert on these matters, not DHS or the FBI.
So—wake up America. This cyber threat is very important as a national security matter!
As a political matter re. the recent election, not so much. Furthermore, it is no surprise that nations, including Russia and the United States for that matter, sometimes seek to influence others’ elections.
For example, I recounted in recent messages the experience in the 1980 and 1984 elections that I watched close-up, when the Soviets sought to defeat Ronald Reagan — sometimes with the notable help of Democrats. For example, Senator Ted Kennedy, no less. Click here for my December 13th message (“Shocked, Shocked to find that Russia tried to influence our election!”) and here for my December 20th message (“More Sound and Fury . . .”) for even more related information — including an informative radio interview with Rep. Peter King (R-NY), former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
For shame! To the degree that members of the Intelligence Community are complicit in this charade intended to undercut and impede the future Trump administration, they should be fired.
There are other last gasp Obama administration initiatives obviously intended to frustrate and delay the incoming Trump administration in its efforts not only to deal with the above issues, but also to delay addressing other objectives that the American People expect President Trump to accomplish based on his campaign promises. For another message.
And our leaders should “Drain the Swamp,” indeed!!!
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
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