If Julian Assange has been hand-delivered evidence from Putin and Russian intelligence that will "put Hillary Clinton away" the fear now is that he's waiting until the last two weeks of the election to use it to bury her and assure a Trump victory. I don't buy it at all and think it's hogwash, especially since all the DNC leaks have done so far is gotten rid of the bad apples in the DNC and has done the Democrats a favor. The larger point is given so much evidence that Russia is behind this, what can the Obama administration actually do?
The administration insists it has improved its ability to respond quickly to cyberattacks, and officials increasingly say they support publicly calling out foreign nations that hack the United States. One administration official noted that it took just five weeks for President Barack Obama to impose economic sanctions against North Korea in response to the destructive late-2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.
Yet current and former officials acknowledge that constructing a public response isn't an instant task. Merely preparing a declassified explanation of who perpetrated an attack or readying economic sanctions takes weeks. Bringing criminal charges — as the Justice Department has done with state-backed hacking suspects in Iran and China — can require years.
And the U.S. has never leveled any official public reprisal for hacking by Russia, despite years of evidence that hackers linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime have carried out intrusions of the White House, State Department and Pentagon.
Obama himself preached caution at a news conference this week. Imposing penalties, he said, “requires us to really be able to pin down and know what we’re talking about.”
The prospect of a lengthy wait is unnerving for Clinton supporters, who see potential repeats of last month’s mass release of Democratic National Committee emails as one of a handful of unpredictable curveballs that could still toss the White House to Donald Trump. Democrats have charged that the website WikiLeaks dumped the emails as part of a Russian effort to aid Trump, who has praised Putin and expressed doubts about U.S. commitments to allies in Eastern Europe.
Russia has denied having anything to do with the DNC hacks or a separate breach aimed at donors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But if the U.S. concludes that Putin’s regime is to blame, a growing chorus of security hawks says the White House must make it clear that such meddling in the U.S. political system cannot stand.
“If in fact you could definitively or strongly develop a case for attribution against Russia, that in fact the Russians should be confronted with it and we should confront them publicly with it,” former Obama administration National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Thursday during a POLITICO Playbook breakfast.
“I don’t think countries are paying a price for this kind of activities,” Stephen Hadley, who held the same post under George W. Bush, said at the same event.
Calls for action have also come from several congressional Democrats and Republicans who serve on defense, law enforcement or intelligence committees, as well as a bipartisan group of 31 security and counterterrorism experts who urged Obama to “take prompt actions” that would “deter foreign actors from pursuing such tactics in the future.”
“This is not a partisan issue,” wrote the experts from the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, who included Bush Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former CIA directors Michael Hayden and William Webster. They added: “Our president should be chosen by American citizens, not by foreign adversaries or interests.”
The prospect of Trump winning with Russian help has even gotten Republicans scared enough to back the Obama administration on this. That to me says everything, that there is actually somebody they hate more than Obama and Clinton: Putin and Trump.