In news that shouldn't surprise any of you, dear readers, the Russians are trying to screw with the Democratic primary by promoting Bernie Sanders.
U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.
President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump.
“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post. “My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.
“In 2016, Russia used Internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the Internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”
A spokesperson for the Sanders campaign declined to comment on the briefing by U.S. officials on Russia’s attempts to help the Sanders campaign.
Sanders’s opponents have blamed some of his most vocal online supporters for injecting toxic rhetoric into the primaries. At a Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sanders indirectly blamed Russia, saying it was possible malign actors were trying to manipulate social media to inflame divisions among Democrats.
“All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our elections and divide us up,” Sanders said. “I’m not saying that’s happening, but it would not shock me.”
Bernie Sanders would get pummeled by Trump. Hell, even the Trump people are freely admitting they want to run against Bernie at this point. What bothers me the most is that the Sanders campaign was told about these efforts last month and made no effort to share that info or to denounce it until somebody leaked it to the Washington Post today. The Sanders campaign's defense is that the briefing was classified, but that means then that Bernie lied openly in the debates earlier this month when asked about Russian interference.
The bigger issue is of course that Russia continues to openly interfere in US elections, and that the Trump regime keeps actively blocking efforts to beef up defenses against them, saying they are "partisan" machinations to in fact help Democrats win (by stopping Republican cheating!)
Nothing will be done about that while Trump is in charge and Mitch is running blocks for him in the Senate though. There's a reason they keep leaving the front door unlocked and the lights on.
We're only now finding out about the depth of Russian operations in the 2016 election in places like Florida.
A ransomware attack apparently corrupted some of the data at the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office in 2016, but state and federal officials were not told about the attack for years.
The cyberattack — which became public this week after current Palm Beach County elections supervisor Wendy Sartory Link discussed it in a Palm Beach Post editorial board meeting — raises questions not only about what could happen if other elections offices across the state are hit with ransomware attacks, but also about whether the public would know if they were.
Then-Gov. Rick Scott, who is now a U.S. senator, was not notified of the reported ransomware attack in 2016, his Senate office said. The Florida Department of State also said it was not told about the attack in 2016.
The previously unreported incursion occurred in September 2016, Link told the Tampa Bay Times, under the watch of her predecessor, Susan Bucher. Link said she found out about the attack in November 2019 from one of her IT specialists after her former IT director had been fired. Link said she then reported the cyber incident to the state, the FBI and Homeland Security.
Link said she has since been told the office had been infected with a type of ransomware known as a zepto virus. She said she did not believe the attack was tied to Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election.
The Times was not able to reach Bucher on Thursday. In a Thursday interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Bucher, who was suspended in 2019 by Gov. Ron DeSantis after he said she failed to properly conduct recounts in the 2018 election, said she can “swear on a stack of Bibles” that the cyberattack described by her successor did not happen.
Link, who was appointed by DeSantis to replace Bucher, said she has spoken with the fired IT director as well as employees in her office regarding the attack, saying they described seeing files that suddenly couldn’t be accessed or whose names had changed, and pop-up text boxes demanding payments in order to get the files back. She said employees described moving frantically to contain the infection, saying the IT director at the time screamed for employees to shut down the servers.
She lied about the attack happening, so if you believe it wasn't the Russian, despite the overwhelming evidence of voter registration bamboozling in Florida over the last several years, then there's not much I can do.
Under Trump, America has done nothing to stop another round of Russian interference. At this point the Trump regime is actively gaslighting the world and screaming that the entire thing was a hoax.
There's no way anyone should believe 2020 elections will be fair, free, or accurate.