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Time to Get Real About Russia Cyber War

Author: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
October 12, 2016
USA Today

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Our democracy is under attack by Russia, but almost no one is treating the situation with the gravity it deserves. President Obama is loathe to retaliate. Would-be president Donald Trump denies that any attack is happening. And the media are acting as enablers for the attackers.

The first shots were fired in June when two groups of hackers, known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s computers. On July 22, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, accused rapist Julian Assange’s Wikileaks began publishing the trove of 20,000 stolen emails. The embarrassing revelations about DNC bias against Bernie Sanders forced the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chairman. U.S. intelligence and private security experts immediately identified Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear as fronts for the FSB and the GRU, the two Russian intelligence agencies, and Wikileaks as a bulletin board for them. Yet the press corps seemed to treat the content of the emails as bigger news than they way they had been revealed.

Further hacks followed with the victims including former Secretary of State Colin Powell; his emails produced stories about his negative views of both Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yet it took until Oct. 7 for the U.S. intelligence community to publicly confirm that the culprits were Russian hackers operating with the sanction of “Russia’s senior-most officials” and that their goal was “to interfere with the U.S. election process."

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