Over the past year, the media and the Left have become quite incensed about state-sponsored interference campaigns against the American electoral system. Many in the legacy media, along with Congress and much of the Left, continue to demand that President Trump act at once to respond to foreign actors meddling in our elections. Countless pundits have declared Russian interference efforts as an “act of war” against our democracy that calls for an immediate response. Liberal pundit Max Boot even went so far as to describe the Russian operation as the worst attack on America since 9/11. It was the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, others claimed.
To this day, there’s still no proof that the Russians actually “hacked” anything. On the contrary, the Russian interference campaign does not appear to be a sophisticated effort. Russia has an advanced cyber-warfare apparatus, and its 2016 election actions appear to be nothing more than a trolling campaign that was helped by some low-budget social media ad buys.
However, many may not recall, but the Obama campaign was actually hacked by a foreign actor. A foreign government (or multiple countries) hacked into the Obama campaign and stole troves of private information.
President Obama confirmed the shocking news in a May 2009 cybersecurity speech.
“What isn’t widely known is that during the general election hackers managed to penetrate our computer systems,” President Obama revealed.
He added: “But between August and October, hackers gained access to emails and a range of campaign files, from policy position papers to travel plans. And we worked closely with the CIA — with the FBI and the Secret Service and hired security consultants to restore the security of our systems.”
The former president did not attribute the attack to a particular country. However, later in the speech, he did call attention to Russia’s cyber sophistication, while leaving out any mention of China’s equally advanced cyber program.
An FBI official anonymously told the media that China was responsible. A 2013 report later claimed that the Chinese government sanctioned the attack. Others hadn’t made up their minds at the time. Technical experts speculated that China or Russia was probably the main culprit behind the hacking. Several elements of the intelligence community confirmed that both the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign were successfully hacked.
Over the next eight years, intelligence community assessments continued to warn about the metastasizing threat in the cyber realm. From 2009 to 2016, cyber threats to the United States got top billing in the intelligence community’s annual Worldwide Threats Assessment report. Year after year, our intelligence agencies called attention to China and Russia as top-tier cyber operators, followed by other nefarious adversaries such as North Korea and Iran.
Yet the sitting president appeared uninterested in combating these emerging threats. Instead, he seemed more inclined to appease these nations. When it came to Russia, Obama was focused on promising “more flexibility” during his second term and presenting an actual reset button to the Kremlin. In 2014, North Korea was deemed responsible for conducting a major cyber attack against Sony. The Obama administration publicly criticized Pyongyang but did not take further public action. During Obama’s two terms, China continuously conducted major cyber operations against the United States. In 2015, hackers connected to the Chinese government broke into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s information systems, stealing over twenty million sensitive records. Obama also mostly ignored Beijing’s regional aggression and build-up in the South China Sea.
The hypocrisy is astonishing. Obama did hardly anything to fight back against real, sophisticated, state-sponsored hacking operations that occurred on his watch. At the same time, the media and the Left have decided that President Trump is derelict in his duty as commander-in-chief for not responding to a low-level Russian interference operation.