The following is generally what the former National Intelligence Secretary James Clapper said on 5/8/17 at the US Senate hearing where he and the former US acting Attorney General Sally Yates were witnesses, “If there was ever a clarion call to increase the US diligence regarding the Russia’s intervention or any country’s meddling into US politics and presidential elections, this is it.
As per the 5/8/17 Washington Post report, “Sally Yates just threw the White House under the bus” by Jennifer Rubin, the former Attorney General Sally Yates “described two in-person meetings with Trump White House Counsel Donald McGahn. Both meetings were attended by one of McGahn’s associates and a Justice Department career civil servant from the national security division. In other words, there were plenty of witnesses. Yates testified that she told McGahn on 1/26/17 that Justice was aware that what Flynn was telling Vice President Pence about contacts with the Russians was untrue. She explained the “underlying conduct was problematic in and of itself,” and that it set up the potential for Flynn to be “compromised.” McGahn called her back to the White House on Jan. 27 when he asked questions including what was the concern about one White House official lying to another, whether Flynn might be criminally prosecuted, whether taking action would compromise the investigation and whether the administration could see the underlying data. On Jan. 30, Yates told McGahn the intelligence could in fact be reviewed.”
“Yates repeated that the risk was that the Russians would subtly and not so subtly use the fact Flynn had lied to pressure him in ways favorable to them. And she stressed it was not fair to Pence for him to be in the dark. Ironically, it seemed Yates was more concerned about Pence’s reputation than was the rest of the administration.”
During the hearing, Mr. James Clapper was asked what he would recommend to counter Russia’s aggressive propaganda campaign designed to influence US elections.
He said that, “We could do with having a USIA (U.S. Information Agency) on steroids to fight this information war([with Russia) a lot more aggressively than we’re doing right now.”
And both witnesses agreed that the U.S. voting infrastructure needs to be classified as critical infrastructure. Mr. Clapper went on to say that some states were resisting following the DHS STRONG directions along these lines but this needs to be seriously reconsidered and acted upon.
Here is the rest of the story…
Mr. Clapper affirmed the 1/6/17 DHS government recommendation that the “election infrastructure in this country should be designated as a subsector of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector. Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law.”
“(Jeh Johnson) have reached this determination so that election infrastructure will, on a more formal and enduring basis, be a priority for cyber-security assistance and protections that the Department of Homeland Security provides to a range of private and public sector entities. By “election infrastructure,” we mean storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulations locations used to support the election process, and information and communications technology to include voter registration databases, voting machines, and other systems to manage the election process and report and display results on behalf of state and local governments.”
“Prior to reaching this determination, my staff and I consulted many state and local election officials; I am aware that many of them are opposed to this designation. It is important to stress what this designation does and does not mean. This designation does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections in this country. This designation does nothing to change the role state and local governments have in administering and running elections.”
“The designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure subsector does mean that election infrastructure becomes a priority within the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. It also enables this Department to prioritize our cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials, but only for those who request it. Further, the designation makes clear both domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer. Finally, a designation makes it easier for the federal government to have full and frank discussions with key stakeholders regarding sensitive vulnerability information.”
“Particularly in these times, this designation is simply the right and obvious thing to do.”
On 1/5/17, Carlo Muñoz of the Washington Times penned the following report, “Clapper calls for U.S. Information Agency ‘on steroids’ to counter Russian propaganda.”
“The nation’s top spy suggested Thursday that it would behoove the incoming administration to revive the defunct U.S. Information Agency, or USIA, as a bulwark against Moscow’s powerful propaganda operation.”
“We could do with having a USIA on steroids to fight this information war [with Russia] a lot more aggressively than we’re doing right now,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”
“Resuscitating and revamping the agency, which was officially shuttered in 1999, and focusing the organization’s pro-U.S. messaging into social media networks would go a long way in countering Russian-sponsored media outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik, Mr. Clapper said. “[Russia Today] was very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights,” he said. “Whatever crack, fissure they could find in our tapestry, they would exploit it,” via the state-owned news network.”
“Currently the aging State Department-run Voice of America is the closest capability Washington has in offsetting Russia Today’s growing influence across the globe.”
“The State Department’s Bureau of Counter-terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism carries out a similar anti-propaganda mission, but it focuses on fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda.”