If it seems like Trump and Russia’s favorite Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson are hoping the Russians help keep them in power in the next round of the elections, you probably wouldn’t be making such a big leap in logic. A Business Insider report details how even though Tillerson acknowledges the Russians will undoubtedly try to interfere in upcoming elections, he “squandered over $60 million” in cash that the State Department could have used to combat the obvious glaring problem. It’s absolutely maddening.
This Administration has no intention of protecting us from the electronic attacks by Russia. That is treason. https://t.co/igV2Y8FybV
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) March 6, 2018
During the fiscal year 2017, the $60 million was ready to be transferred to the State Department, authorized by Congress during the Obama administration. The money was earmarked “to fight Russian election interference efforts,” but Tillerson sat on his hands for seven months, and the offer was withdrawn.
In the fiscal year 2018, another $60 million was available. Once more, Tillerson squandered a vast sum of money that could have been used to address the Russian election interference. US intelligence determined the Russians were sowing discord through social media and hacking efforts by early 2017, but the response from the Trump administration has been to do absolutely nothing, even when provided with ample funding, as it turns out.
From Business Insider:
“This time, after another five months of back-and-forth, Tillerson’s State Department was finally given $40 million to counter Russian efforts, a mere third of a potential total of $120 million the department could have used to match the threat,” wrote Michal Kranz.
Instead of using their time to combat the known threat, the Global Engagement Center division of the State Department, which should be working on this problem, is focused on “counter-jihadist and terrorist propaganda” instead. The reason the division isn’t devoting resources is not that there aren’t funds – it’s because Trump and Tillerson have refused to authorize them to begin work.
To make matters even more insulting, Tillerson admits that the Russians will be interfering in our elections, but said, “it’s very difficult to preempt it.”
Here is Tillerson admitting to the right-wingers on Fox News that the Russians will be meddling:
“I don’t know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt as well,” Tillerson told Fox News. “The point is, if it’s their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to preempt it.”
A report from POLITICO stated that Tillerson’s aide, R.C. Hammon said the millions of dollars available were “unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow.”
We can’t anger the Russians trying to undermine our elections, now can we?
As a result of Trump and Tillerson rolling over and giving Russia the green light to continue their cyber-war on the United States, Putin will likely only become emboldened.
“I believe that President Putin is clearly come to the conclusion there’s little price to play here. And that therefore, ‘I can continue this activity,” said US Cyber Command chief Adm. Mike Rogers.
As if Putin needed to be emboldened by a compromised and weak United States today?
Before his rigged re-election on March 18, Putin made sure to announce new ‘invincible’ nuclear weapons, complete with images showing strikes against what looked like the state of Florida.
“They have not succeeded in holding Russia back,” said Putin, referring to the West, which he said had ignored Moscow in the past, but would now have to sit up and listen.
Unfortunately, our President and State Department aren’t sitting up and listening. They are rolling over and offering their allegiance to Putin, by all appearances.
Tillerson’s State Department will receive $40 million in April, according to a New York Times report, but will they do one single thing to prevent mid-term interference? Or will they continue to encourage interference that would help them? This is truly un-American, and should utterly disgust any truly patriotic American, regardless of political party.
See more about this state of affairs from Rachel Maddow:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube