- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A healthy amount of skepticism of our intelligence community, mainstream media and Democratic Party is warranted.

I accept, without a doubt, that the Russians tried to meddle in our election last year and hacked into the private email accounts of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Retaliatory actions against Russia are justified. Just like they were against China when it hacked into the Office of Personnel Management in 2015, where it stole the personal information of 20 million current and retired federal employees. Yet, the U.S. decided to sit that one out.

The Chinese, Russians and North Korea have been hacking the U.S. for years.

In 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panettta warned the U.S. was facing a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” and was increasingly vulnerable to international hackers who could dismantle the nation’s electric grid, transportation system, financial networks and government.

“Electricity grid in U.S. penetrated by Spies,” a Wall Street Journal article read — dated April, 8, 2009.

“State Department email system hacked, shut down,” a November 2014 CBS News headline reported. “Earlier attacks have been blamed on Russian or Chinese attackers, although their origin has never been publicly confirmed,” the article said.

Republicans have — for years —- advocated for a stronger international response to the unending hacking, but were put down by the Obama administration.

“Russia’s cyber-attacks are no surprise to the House Intelligence Committee, which has been closely monitoring Russia’s belligerence for years,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said in a Dec. 9 statement. “Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression. It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the threat.”

Indeed.

The Russian hacking has been catapulted on the front-page of every paper, and is being defined as the crisis of our time — because, at this moment, the topic is advantageous to the Democratic Party.

It reeks of partisanship and politics.

How and why did The Washington Post get and publish the classified report President Obama received yesterday into the Russian meddling, before President-Elect Donald Trump was briefed on the matter on Friday?

Did the White House or the intelligence community leak the information in an effort to put Mr. Trump on the defense? To try to mitigate and control his reaction to the report?

It wouldn’t be the first time the Obama administration has bent the intelligence community for its own political gain.

House Republicans felt the administration tried to slow-walk and obfuscate their investigation into what led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi back in 2012.

The administration blamed a viral video for the uprising in Libya, when in truth, it was a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound. Republican lawmakers found it especially difficult to extract information from the administration to try to discern the intelligence community’s role in the cover-up.

Then, in August, a government report found the U.S. Central Command altered its intelligence reports to make President Obama’s war on the Islamic State look better than it was.

Rather than reporting to the White House and other intelligence agencies what the status on the ground was, intelligence analysts painted a rosier picture, including the readiness of Iraqi security forces and the success of the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Lastly, the Obama administration has refused to release the papers regarding the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Republicans have pushed for the declassification of the papers and documents recovered when U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader in 2011.

Mr. Dunes, in September, threatened to take the unprecedented tactic of subpoenaing the files from the intelligence community. He said the law required them to comply nearly two years ago based on the Section 313 of the Intelligence Authorization Act, which mandated a “complete declassification of the Abbottabad documents within 120 days.”

It’s estimated that more than 1 million Bin Laden documents remain unreleased, for whatever reason.

So yes, it’s warranted to question the intelligence communities motives, the sway the White House has over it, and whether our national security has become politicized or not.

It will then be up to Mr. Trump to decide what the best actions will be moving forward.

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