Obama knew about Russian hacking as it happened. He didn't stop it and didn't mention it until Trump won

For all its management and security shortcomings, the National Security Agency remains the world’s most important spy service. Its signals intelligence reach is truly global, and its highly classified SIGINT, year in and year out, accounts for something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our Intelligence Community. NSA, which recently celebrated its 65th birthday, remains the backbone of Western security, our top-secret shield against spies and terrorists.

No small part of that success can be attributed to NSA’s effective leveraging of foreign partnerships. Its spy links with the Anglosphere date to World War II and are termed Five Eyes (for the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom). Inside NSA, this alliance is called Second Party. This partnership is so close that it’s best to view the Five Eyes SIGINT arrangement as really one integrated espionage effort that covers the globe.

However, those are hardly NSA’s only foreign partnerships. The agency enjoys intelligence-sharing links with spy services all over the world. Some of these relationships, termed Third Party inside the SIGINT system, date to NSA’s founding in 1952, and all are shrouded in strict secrecy. They are seldom mentioned in the media, as some of these top-secret links are highly sensitive politically.

However, one of the agency’s Third Party partnerships has just burst into the public eye in an unprecedented manner that profoundly shifts the debate about Russian shenanigans against our politics in 2016 and the election of President Donald Trump. Yesterday, the Dutch daily de Volkskrant published a detailed account of the secret spy-games conducted by Western intelligence against Kremlin hackers in the lead-up to our presidential election. Based on insider accounts in both the United States and the Netherlands, the article rings true to anyone who’s acquainted with how NSA Third Party relationships function.

The essential storyline is relatively straightforward—and shocking. In the summer of 2014, hackers working for the 300-person Joint SIGINT Cyber Unit, staffed by the Dutch internal security service or AIVD and the Dutch military’s foreign intelligence service or MIVD, managed to crack into Cozy Bear. Known as APT29 in spy circles, since 2010 the shadowy Cozy Bear has pillaged countless Western governments and businesses with its aggressive hacking. The JSCU’s covert infiltration of Cozy Bear’s headquarters in downtown Moscow represented a stunning intelligence coup.

The Dutch hackers saw everything inside Cozy Bear, which they quickly assessed was a front for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR. They monitored not just Cozy Bear activities in real time, they even watched their goings-on by getting control of cameras inside their offices. What JSCU witnessed was damning for Moscow. In November 2014, they observed Cozy Bear operatives hack into the computer networks of the U.S. State Department.

Close NSA-JSCU collaboration after the State Department hack enabled an ongoing look at how the SVR launched cyber-raid after cyber-raid on American institutions in 2014 and after. Washington was so grateful they sent cake and flowers to their Dutch partners. However, this top-secret look at Cozy Bear activities means that Western intelligence had a clear, real-time window into what Kremlin hackers were up to, for instance, when they stole the emails of the Democratic National Committee in the spring of 2016. Those were the very same emails that did so much damage to the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton when WikiLeaks posted them online a few months later.
There is much more.

I question how much damge teh emails stolen emails did to Clinton's campaign.  Most of the damge to her campaign was self inflicted by her own mishandling of classifed material.  The hacked emails only showed that the fix was in inside the Democrat party to make sure she beat Bernie Sanders.  That was pretty clear without any email confimation of it. 

What this story does disclose is that no drama Obama's response to the hack was to do nothing despite immediate knowledge.  Perhaps he wanted to stay inside the Russian's OODA Loop, but if that was the case he blew it by disclosing the access to their operations in an attempt to discredit Trump's victory which had nothing to do with the hack. 

It should also be clear that Obama and his intelligence operatives knew from teh beginning that Trump had nothing to do with the hack yet many Democrats continued to push that false narrative.


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