- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2018

An Obama administration official said he warned the National Security Council in 2014 that U.S. elections would be targeted by Russia, only to be met with resistance.

Brett Bruen, White House director of global engagement from 2013 to 2015, said he told his colleagues of Russia interfering in Ukraine’s 2014 election using the same methods — social media trolling and propaganda — that now are being decried by Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, with some even blaming them for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

“I was sitting in the Situation Room saying, ‘Why do we continue to look at this as an issue that only concerns Ukraine, that only concerns Eastern Europe? This is something that’s going to march across Western Europe. This is something that’s going to march over to our shores, and we need to be ready,’” Mr. Bruen told CNN.

He detailed what a U.S. government task force had done to counter successfully Russia’s actions in Ukraine and said the Obama administration should establish a command center to do something similar for U.S. elections.

Mr. Bruen told CNN that officials did not recognize the threat and resisted his suggestions.

He singled out Victoria Nuland, then assistant secretary of state for the Europe bureau, as not recognizing the danger.

Ms. Nuland told CNN that there wasn’t the money to do that.

“My memory is that Bruen wanted essentially to re-create the old USIA (US Information Agency), but there were no resources for that. The White House wasn’t going to approve funding,” she said. “We were operating on a shoestring budget as it was.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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