Why announce your secret, unprecedented cyberstrike against Russia?

My Twitter feed is mocking the policy behind this news report, but of course it makes perfect sense.  Here goes:

1. The United States wishes to have it be common knowledge that it can embarrass Putin.  But in fact maybe it can’t!  (At least not with a policy we are willing to bear the consequences of.)  So why not threaten that you can?  A truly secret strike probably would hurt him less than an embarrassment.  So start investing in the embarrassment now.

2. If the U.S. does do something cyber against Russia, it may wish to signal in advance that it won’t be truly severe, so as to limit retaliation and lower the probability of ongoing escalation.  Some public discussion can achieve this end.  Truly devastating blows are in fact usually delivered in secret.

3. There is a chance that the U.S. can’t/won’t do much if anything against Russia at all.  In that case third parties (Iran, China) may not know this for sure, and the announcement may have a slight deterrent value in their direction.

4. It may not be possible to understand the entire American strategy without knowing the private messages that are being sent to Putin at the same time.  For instance, the overall strategy may be “announce a coming mild retaliation and privately threaten a more severe action.”  Is that really so out of place?  Probably not.

In other words, “announced secrets” sometimes can make perfect sense.

Comments

"Truly devastating blows are in fact usually delivered in secret."

What are some good examples of this that have been uncovered.

Almost every failed marriage. Almost every failed friendship. No I can't cite to anything published. Why should I bother anyway?

Stuxnet, the cyber attack on the Iranian centrifuges?

Depends on how you define 'in secret.' Why the Iranian centrifuges were failing was meant to be a mystery and thus likely to increase Stuxnet's effect, but on the other hand, Stuxnet was essentially an act of war. Maybe whoever (cough, CIA/NSA/BND - that is the German CIA equivalent, by the way, who would likely have been more than willing to put Stuxnet's authors in touch with all the right people at Siemens to keep the U.S. from getting involved in yet another moronic war in the Middle East) and friends (think a small beacon of nuclear armed democracy in the Middle East) wrote it was interested in not having Stuxnet becoming a precedent.

Unfortunately, as generally happens in the software world, the unexpected occurred, and Stuxnet broke its not so carefully designed/implemented boundaries.

Blowing up a major gas pipeline with a Trojan in the flow control software would be a good one.

http://nowiknow.com/boom-goes-the-natural-gas-pipeline/

Wow, that's a fascinating story. And the mysterious circumstances around his death are chilling. I thought assassinating intelligence officers was usually considered off limits.

The ultimatum the US delivered privately to Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks.

About not harboring OBL, otherwise we'll nuke them?

The real answer to your question is: to muddy the waters and get uninformed voters to associate Trump and Russia.

Don't have to be uninformed to associate Trump and Russia. He's practically wearing a fur hat.

Most Americans would prefer for their president to not be a Russian stooge. And since you aren't American why should we care what you think about it?

msgkings October 15, 2016 at 1:00 am

Most Americans would prefer for their president to not be a Russian stooge.

It is amazing how extreme the back flips in the major parties have been is cycle. Both parties have basically adopted the other's positions on a whole range of issues.

So it is amusing to see the Left, which sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and objected to ever resisting them in any way at all, now supporting the candidate in favor of war with Russia. Of course they don't mean it. Trump has just driven them crazy. Who would have thought the Democrats would campaign for confrontation with Moscow?

I have to admit you are right, though. That, apart from killing Mary-Jo, was the main reason Teddy Kennedy was never going to get elected.

Yeah. Remember that time his foundation accepted $2.35 million from a uranium company in exchange for him signing off on its sale to the Russians, back when he was Secretary of State? And then he covered it up, despite his promise to the President to disclose all donors to his foundation, as a condition of being SecState in the first place? And his spouse went to Moscow and personally received $500,000 for giving a speech?

Talk about a fur hat. It's practically an entire fur blue dress!

This is a perfect example of what that VOX article claimed. Belief flows from the candidate, not from individual voter analysis.

You think no one would care about the Uranium deal if Trump didnt tell them to? I think you need to look into a mirror when you say "Belief flows from the candidate, not from individual voter analysis"

Could you possibly do independent analysis and think this was Hillary's deal? I looked at it, I did my homework. I see glaring gaps in the story. Critically, Clinton had nothing like signature authority here. It doesn't connect.

Another damn "ignore the facts and blame the fact checkers"

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/30/donald-trump/donald-trump-inaccurately-suggests-clinton-got-pai/

Shove that up your "both sides do it"

I would not be so angry about this if other Trump assholes were not promising bloodshed, should Trump lose. They are fed all these conspiracies and eat them up.

https://twitter.com/hblodget/status/787285431683547137

Be a force for good. Find the truth, tell the truth.

Bloodshed? Where are the videos of masked Trump supporters beating Clinton supporters?

You are the best Anon handled person I have ever seen.

Trump supporters are not interested in fact checking or truth. I've tried too. To them "truth" is only what they hear from Hannity on Fox, or from Right Wing radio, or Right Wing conspiracy theory web sites that find Hillary guilty until proven innocent-- and still guilty even AFTER proven innocent-- of every charge any Right Wing pundit has ever made up about her.

This is tribal stuff, not rational, logical, or factual stuff at all. Facts get no respect from Trump supporters. Facts are whatever the Trump tribe says they are.

That is a good ad.

Why would Obama announce a covert action? Because he knows how inept he is and the covert action would either not work, accomplish exactly the opposite, or end up turning into a disaster. So better to blather on about how he is going to get tough.

So what would be gained? Expose the US attack vectors to Russian hackers? Maybe find the 33000 Hillary emails, destroy them so they can't be exposed?

Are the numbers that Obama is seeing scaring him that badly?

She isn't worth it. Don't be a blithering idiot.

It may be something even worse. Why would anyone threaten to start a war a month from an election? Maybe to distract attention from something really ugly that is going to happen, and is out of his control.

I imagine the FBI is almost in full revolt, especially when the latest dump showed Hillary sending classified information over an insecure channel, and it is known because the channel was hacked. I'm certain there are a reasonable number of prosecutors ready to pounce.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

By the way, the huge amounts of money you guys spend on your presidential elections is worth every penny. I haven't been this entertained for a long time.

This one really has been the most entertaining in several decades.

Glad you can enjoy it too. It's the only pro sport I follow. It costs us more in other ways; the money's the least of it.

I believe they are what you would call sunk costs. The election, as the Brexit vote, is exposing. We now know that the FBI has a price. I wonder what it is?

Resurrecting J. Edgar Hoover, friend of liberals everywhere?

Something worse e.g. a new set of tapes of documents that are really devastating beyond the current Wikileaks stuff. The Russians have everything that was on that server but most likely have actual video and audio tape of much worse. Phone sex with interns, etc.

The amusing thing is that the Russians likely have a lot more embarassing information on Trump, and were really looking forward to him becoming their special friend.

Hillary, on the other hand, even according to her opponents, is a vindictive bitch that viciously attacks her enemies - Putin is likely not looking forward to dealing with her at this point. After all, according to some accounts, apparently he did not like how she represented America's interests, lacking any regard for Putin's touchingly sensitive nature.

As usual, your comment is political hate fueled gibberish with zero substance or insight. I'm sure it will give someone reading it on here a boner.

Because Obama himself does the cyber, and not 70 year old signals intelligence organizations. (This dates to Enigma at least.)

Can't wait unto Barron takes over.

This Russia stuff is solely designed to whip up public sentiment against a foreign enemy and associated with Trump for the purpose of ignoring the enormous email leak which includes things like Hilary upper echelon hated Catholics Hilary upper echelon communicating with journalists about what is acceptable to print Hillary's upper echelon talking about Bill receiving a million dollars from Qatar for his birthday Hillary's upper echelon talking about everything and everything and everything. Go read the emails for yourself and you'll see why the media is not covering them.

Hillary admitting that two of the countries that she received tens of millions of dollars from persecute gays and women. Hillary receiving debate questions early from Donna brazile. Hillary can't answer 25 questions she was ordered to by a judge, 20 of which she answers with I can't recall. Hillary staff wearing about Tony, her brother getting gold contracts from the Haiti government while the Clinton Foundation performs quote charity. These links go on and on and on

Marginal Revolution is very lucky to be too small for David Brock to Target with his correct the record Super PAC that openly coordinates with Hillary Clinton to spam and AstroTurf internet forums with pro-hillary propaganda.

Hillary is going to win and it will be very interesting to see correct the record and the Clinton Foundation rule American politics for the next hundred years.

Hillary is the leader of a criminal Enterprise.

Cmon, Trump's an idiot and I certainly hopes he loses. But it's really disconcerting to see the same people calling Snowden a hero, now accusing Assange of being a Russian frontman. Anti-Trumpers are winning the war, but losing their souls. Have we seen even any substantive evidence that Russia is behind any of these hacks? Or are we just going to take the Defense Department at their word? Same way that we took NSA at their word that they weren't listening to our telephone calls. Here's a more plausible scenario: any 12 year old script-kiddie could hack an email server exposed on clearnet for 60 days running completely encryption free. Or maybe John Podesta, like 80%+ of people his age uses a five letter email password, and things two-factor authentication sounds like something from CSI Cyber.

And let's even say Russia is behind the hack. While I don't think any of these leaks document explicitly illegal activity, they really do document a lot of shady shit. Passing along Democratic townhall questions ahead of time, giving editorial control to of supposedly neutral journalism to HRC's campaign, the DNC chair explicitly favoring one primary candidate, lining up ambassador appointments to political donations. At the very least, these exposures should prompt a frank discussion about our current campaign laws. Personally I think the leaks pretty strongly suggest that we should have some analog of Reg FD governing politician-journalist interaction the same way executive-securities analyst interaction is regulated.

These aren't military secrets being hacked. HRC et al. have been majorly powerful figures for 20+ years. Any interest she has a private citizen to privacy in regards to her campaign for the most public, powerful office in the world is pretty de minims. It's certainly outweighed by the public interest in seeing how the "sausage is made". Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

It is strange that revealing the truth is considered "interfering with US elections". One of the reveals, which doesn't seem to be getting as much attention, is that the Clinton campaign and DNC were actively trying to "elevate" Trump even before he officially entered the race:

http://reason.com/blog/2016/10/10/democrats-were-worried-about-rand-pauls
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/150407-Strategy-on-GOP-2016ers-1-1.pdf

Note, the memo goes beyond merely expressing a wish that Trump wins the GOP nomination. It describes an "operationalized" strategy, including instructing friends in the press to take Trump seriously and not marginalize him. So, it appears that Clinton and Putin have in common that they have both worked behind the scenes to help Trump win elections, Clinton to handicap her Republican adversaries with the biggest Loser possible, Putin to handicap his American adversary with the biggest Loser possible.

'It is strange that revealing the truth is considered “interfering with US elections”.'

So, if the Russians were to penetrate IRS systems to reveal the truth of Trump's tax returns, you would be on board?

Given the poll numbers, it's not surprising at all that Clinton would want Trump to win the nomination. He was the one to beat.

It's political vandalism, and somewhat harmful to democracy, but we expect all campaigns do it.

He polled poorly against Hillary. Kasich was the one who had a lock on her if he won.

I said "he was the one to beat" but forgot that was an idiom. I meant, like you said, that Clinton had the best chances against Trump, and obviously wanted him to win.

We in Russia are going to be laughing at this. What are you gonna do? Reveal that Putin is dicking some 25 year woman? We know that. He rigged elections? We know that too. Putin is very popular with the Russian people despite all that.(Personally I'm a supporter of the Liberal Democratic Party.) It would be the height of stupidity to attack anything physical. American politicians don't care about their country but they do care about corporations like microsoft which doesn't want its systems taken down in retaliation.

Russia is just Brazil with nukes. If you could take down Microsoft, why tomorrow instead of ten years ago?

Microsoft standing is far more useful to hackers than Microsoft taken down. Why take down your most effective source of vulnerabilities?

Russia is a very corrupt place. Alcoholism is a major problem. But we're not dumb.

Then they have come on. We used to say "Upper Volta with nukes".

Putin once used some mean words and is a bully besides. And doesn't like the gheys. Therefore you should vote for Stalin. Racist.

Seriously, if Russia is a threat (we have always been at war with Eastasia), lay out the case, and don't pretend that Tolerance and Political Correctness will get him to bend the knee.

If Russia isn't a threat, why are we hellbent on preventing them from ending a civil war in one of their client states? This clusterflock makes no gorram sense. It makes Trump look sane by comparison. It's incredibly sad I typed that but there it is.

How are the sanctions working, anonymous Russian? Is it felt as a justifiable punishment by the citizenry, is it making Russia more desperate, etc?

It's aggravating, but not seen as greatly intolerable. Most adult Russians remember the 1990s and have seen themselves the rising living standards of the 2000s.

We have our Putin here too. The difference is that >50% of Americans actually give a shit if their leader is a terrible person. Russians just want to be proud about owning some nukes, regaining useless backwater territory they lost, and the fact that their apartment is 25% bigger than 10 years ago -- great stuff.

All Russia really has is its now meager oil and gas industry. It is probably the only very meaningful but safe thing the US could hit. But there are of course lots of other cosmetic but embarrassing things we could go after. I envision a picture of someone smacking Putin in the face with a big kaluga.

Being a good person does not mean being a good leader. I like my priest, but I don't want him commanding the 7th Fleet.

Maybe Gary Johnson then? He's seems up to the task.

Great stuff Jan,

Now tell us about the blacks and the Jews.

Haven't Trump supporters covered that topic ad nauseam?

"The difference is that >50% of Americans actually give a shit if their leader is a terrible person. "

No they dont >50% care if their leader is slightly less bad than the alternative.

Is US giving up it's nukes?

"the fact that their apartment is 25% bigger than 10 years ago — great stuff. "

It's so irrational for those Russians to care about their living standards rather than what's really important, "gay marriage" and which politician is dicking his employees.

The West has all the instruments at hand to put real immediate severe pressure on Putin's regime from the inside. Namely going after Russian oligarchs, lesser known functionaries and their close ones (Deripaska, Usmanov, Abramovich et al.). The fact that this option is not being used tells me that Putin is kind of a useful baddy to have until natural course of events sweeps Russia into full blown historical and economic insignificance.

The simplest plausible explanation is that the Federal government is being stupid again.

True, but at least now people like Tyler are calling it smart.

Ten years ago, this exact same thing would be reckless cowboy warmongering.

Agreed. Only difference is that they would take a threat from us seriously. Now, not so much. We've done so much to accommodate Putin, with our reset, and 'after the election' quote that they do not take us seriously. No one does. Who fears Urkel?

The one good thing about this election is that Obama is going away. Either way it goes, foreign policy will be better. Hillary has proven herself incompetent, but at least she's not actively working against out interests.

#3. Take a look at Stuxnet design. It has an extremely limited range of attack by design and is an extremely sophisticated design to attack ONLY Iranian uranium gas enrichment and ONLY using a specific software package. Basically spec'd by lawyers to minimize collateral damage. You can't run a cyber war with shackles like that.

In warfare eras and technology can be offensive or defensive dominate. So a Castle might be defensive, but the Blitz is Offensive. When the United States Government discovers a software vulnerability, it's neither. It's a policy decision to put that in a zero day folder for when Cyber World War breaks out, and not develop a defense. Unfortunately that has consequences in international positions. The ignorant position since the Clinton Administration is that this policy is perfectly fine, because we can credibly threaten cyber retaliation, and some kind of MAD will exist. Here's two problems. First the obvious, our Cyber is way more important than our enemies'. But the bigger one is the second one. MAD regimes depend upon Defensive Dominant technologies: Putting your nukes into Silos that can survive, in Subs that are hard to find, or on Bombers that can credibly get through. It's not the nukes themselves that provide deterrence, it's the second strike capability, the nuclear trinity.

By definition our Zero Day capabilities aren't like a Sub leaving port the Russians can spot with their satellites. Our credibility on this issue rests entirely on doing things like the Iran and North Korea hacks. Also, MAD evolved over decades of negotiation, where the United States and the Soviet Union talked about and showed what they cared about through their spending and actions. To my knowledge, the United States has never said, "this is the red line". A nuclear armed bomber flying into North American airspace is one thing, is taking down Amazon for 48 hours a similar red line? Finally, and most importantly (as in everything else can be accounted for and this would still hold), cyber attacks are an offensive technology. In an offensive technology regime, wars are just more common.

Now, a cyber vulnerability is neither offensive or defensive. That's a policy decision. When the US government forces a tech company to add backdoors so it can hack terrorist cell phones, it's choosing a regime where Cyber Warfare will be easier. The US could shift this to a defensive regime by simply changing it's policy - announcing vulnerabilities and helping find fixes, rather than creating new ones.

But, you know, Terrorists might have called someone once on their workphones, and that's clearly more important.

I largely agree, but to reframe it slightly, the US has always had two conflicting goals: we want secure systems and we want the ability to spy.

My semi-technical observation is that less-technical US elites sold themselves a bill of goods, that they could have both.

We should have gone full bore for security from the day computers got networking.

"We should have gone full bore for security from the day computers got networking."

Ain't dat da trut'?

Well, if I was writing fiction and going the full paranoia route -- Open societies don't keep secrets nearly as well as closed ones. Russia very likely acquired the NSA backdoor keys, to everything, years ago. The Democrats have been trying to link Trump to Putin. If a cyber war breaks out the voting machines will probably be able to be put under suspicion as having been hacked by the Russians in favor of Trump, providing an excuse for ignoring their results. Look for any attempt around the time of election day to try to link the Russians to tampering with voting machines. (What is that saying the keeps coming up in the Stephen King movies - Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness?) Totally fiction. For serious.

the immediate goal seems is to prevent new leaks which can damage Clinton . She survived previous attacks, still Putin wants Trump.
Thus this is about to warn Putin that enough is enough
Just few weeks left to election.
we will know soon, if this approach to warn worked.

Pretty much - Putin invested a fair amount in what seemed like a pretty sure bet. Sometimes, the reaction to such a potential loss is to double down, and this is simply an attempt to dissuade Putin et al from becoming too desperate in recovering from their loss.

Maybe Putin, former KGB member, will now understand why the Soviet Union had such a strict hands-off policy in attempting to influence American politics in any way, shape or form. Basically, whatever outsiders attempt to do seems to turn against them within the bizarre world of American politics.

Because it now likely turns out, Putin will be facing a president who will have no interest in putting up any buildings with her name on them in Moscow. But who will have a lot of interest in making Putin's life as miserable as possible, now that Putin has revealed Russia's interest in meddling with America's affairs. And as noted above, even according to her opponents, Clinton is one nasty enemy to have, who will stop at nothing to destroy her opponents.

Kind of like Putin, when you think about it.

I do not like this antagonizing Russia. Russia is a declining society no need to intervene in their politics. Remeber Iraq.

+ 1000. Shout it from the rooftops. The USSR is gone. What's left in its place is a regional hegemon filled with a population that still adheres to nationalism and is willing to sacrifice certain things for pride and honor.

Leave them alone. The US army is too busy with SHARP training, the invisible war, and integrating transsexuals to fight a war against a real country.

Please, this "of course it makes perfect sense" is court eunuch thinking.

Important ruling class insiders are angry that leaks have harmed the Hillary campaign, and terrified that they'll be next, so they are demanding Something Be Done. The public 'cyberwar" threat is perfect because (A) is looks like 'Something" and (B) the ruling class folks can't monitor it's success, or whether it even happened. Obama is far to cautious to actually risk conflict with Russia, so this sham threat is perfect.

So it's a nothing that can be passed off as a something while the clock is run out.

Yesterday I am accused of "too much Trump," and this morning I wake to too much Trump.

Without him wouldn't this be perfectly normal, and status quo preserving?

A foundation of cold war interaction is equal retaliation without escalation. That is the only way you preserve your strength, your position of power. Anything else is not status quo. Inaction is a loss.

To put it differently, the Russian above wants us to take it like bitches. Will we boys?

Take what like bitches? What has Russia done to us? Shelter a hardened cyber terrorist* like Snowden? Warn us to keep an eye on the Boston Marathon boys? Save our face with a diplomatic resolution to Obama's Red Line in Syria?

I get that we can't let them annex Crimea without some sort of penalty, but that's still not the American theatre. That's for eastern european countries to get angry about.

*Opinions may vary. Drastically.

I see you pick and choosing, but none of those things you name are the named cause for the "equal retaliation without escalation."

You apparently, actually, don't believe that hacking a national party is interfering in our government. Our democratic process.

BTW, here is an authentic Trump tie-in:

https://twitter.com/markberman/status/787280139281395712

So much wrong here, anon, packed in such little space.

1: Please cite proof that Russia is responsible for the DNC leaks.

2: Please cite proof that ONLY Russia went to town on unsecured servers.

3: Please explain how the DNC leaks are threatening American democracy, or why Americans should be kept in the dark about how our democratic process is (or rather, isn't) working. If Russia is responsible for helping inform the electorate, I'd say they should be thanked.

4: Please explain why this even calls for retaliation in kind, and what would be an appropriate example.

Russia isn't our friend, but I don't see why we're going out of our way to make them our enemy.

I am going to step back and answer this patiently and rationally. The national security apparatus is old, really old. It was not invented, manned, and directed by the most recent President. I am confident, and you should be too, that many of the people examining the DNC hack have been in those jobs for a long time. Many of them have served Republicans and Democrats.

I am even prepared to believe, and find it amazing that you do not, that the national security apparatus works for my safety, for the safety of my country.

Now, what is outlandish is that suddenly a "know nothing" candidate comes along, and partisans line up to "know nothing" right along with him.

Be a force for good. Find the truth, tell the truth.

You could say the same for the DOJ, IRS, and (maybe less so) the EPA. But all have been politicized over the past 8 years by a "know nothing” President. Even the head of the FBI. At least there are reports that the most of the agents are pissed about it.

I'm trying to be patient as well, but you still haven't demonstrated why I should be upset at Russia. I agree there's a lot that's old, unsecure, etc about our networks and cyber security, heck, even our energy grid. We also don't have good defenses from submarines. None of this is Russia's fault. I'm genuinely puzzled why you're upset with them.

I used to believe that our national security apparatus worked for my safety and for the good of the country. Then Iraq happened. I'm 31 years old, perhaps the Iraq war in 2003 was before your time, but we were assured that there were weapons of mass destruction, they're yuuge, and that Saddam was a bad guy, believe me, he's gotta go, he's a disaster for the nation. Politicians from both sides, Congress and the Presidency, failed in their job to work for my safety and for the good of the country. I learned from that mistake.

Be a force for good. Make coherent arguments.

I have already made that argument. Our two principal parties are obviously functionally part of our democracy, or government. An attack on either is an attack on our government.

The national security apparatus concurs.

Another way to put is that my argument works if the attack was on the GOP as well, whereas the new GOP position would be "we don't mind being hacked by the Russians?" That's a little too "thank you sir, may I have another" for me.

Or to really flip it, image we had hacked a UK party. Should they accept it?

So, I'm going to guess that, according to this logic, the Daily Show and Rush Limbaugh need to get shut down, too? I mean, they attack political parties too. Sometimes with secret microphones and stuff.

And, um, the GOP needs to burn, and watching it go down in flames is extremely cathartic. I'd love to see some real dirt on them as well. I don't think that "A Pox On Both Houses" is anywhere near a controversial position. If you sincerely think that the Democratic Party is the thin blue line keeping America from descending into anarchy, and that exposing what few flaws it has will make Trump win, I guess I understand the desire for retaliation. Most people don't have that mindset, though.

You still have yet to prove Russia's involvement. Invading Iraq on someone's really strong hunch didn't work out so hot, so I really need something better.

Well, Obama went across the pond and told the British to vote Remain. That's foreign meddling. Annoying, sure, but it doesn't move beyond a 0.3 on my Give-a-Shitometer.

I am confident that if any democracy on earth found that a foreign government had hacked and published one of their major parties' communications, they would consider this an attack on their sovereignty.

Even worse to consider hacking and blackmail, which is implicit in "sure, let them hack."

Hacking political parties' networks is not an attack on our sovereignty. Attacking our embassy in Moscow would be. Assassinating a president would be. See the difference ? The Democratic Party is not the United States.

Also, foreign governments spy and hack us all the time. Neither is an attack on our sovereignty. Let's calm down and get a reality check.

It's good for the US for the population to know more about their overlords. Hopefully the hacks keep coming. In an ideal world everything would be transparent from the get go. Yes, if you choose the public power route, we deserve to know everything: every phone call, every email, we should be able to bug your office and home.

If you want the power you can handle the scrutiny. On both sides.

Explain why blackmail of major parties or politicians is OK, why the national security apparatus should not protect against it.

Geez, what if Putin has GOP emails and has back-channeled that he isn't going to release them .. for now?

In a battle to exploit cyber vulnerabilities the US is much more vulnerable than Russia. The perception that Putin is personally a problem for the US merely elevates his stature but maybe that's what the US nomenklatura wants.

Stepping back, to a meta on these pages ..

I am sure everyone here leads pretty normal lives, and that if you vent a bit you think it is just on-line, just comments, no big deal. You probably accept the Clinton victory, and just think you are getting some harmless digs in. Sure the liberals will win, but you don't want them to feel too good.

That's understandable, but I'm going to say it is wrong. You may be ok, you may leave your trolling at the keyboard, but not everyone does. Some people feed on this in entirely unacceptable ways:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/10/15/three-militia-members-accused-bomb-plot-targeting-somali-immigrants.html

I understand that you are not those guiys, but I'm afraid I have to say that you aren't really standing apart from them.

https://twitter.com/emilythorson/status/787295645090578432

Yes. We've come full circle. You must be too young to see the irony. We had this already: you're either with us, or with the terrorists.

Both plays are idiotic and don't pass the bs test, whether from George bush or shrillary.

The problem here, Anon, is that Trump supporters think they are angry for good reasons. They don't realize that Fox News, Right Wing radio, and Right Wing conspiracy theory web sites are lying to them, and are whipping them up into a scared angry fury of hatred in order to manipulate them. They don't do self-reflection. They just believe what their tribe tells them to and feel what their tribe feels toward immigrants and minorities.

You are one of the more annoying and self-righteous trolls to materialize on MR in a while; why don't you go back to Daily Kos where you belong?

Truth hurts, doesn't it. You've been manipulated, perhaps even brainwashed, but instead of welcoming the possibility of your intellectual freedom, you lash out at those who point out inconvenient truths.

That having been said, Trump supporters often DO have things to be angry about. The problem though, perhaps related to my introductory comment, is that they support Trump at the same time as not realizing that nothing Trump has to offer is likely to make things any better with regard to the things they are concerned about.

The Trumpistas phenomenon is more about burning down the establishment than anything specific. They know they've been lied to. They're mad. Not sure there's much more to it than that. White hot rage, pun intended.

They have no candidates to represent them. They're not progressives, and they sure as hell aren't establishment republicans. The things they do care about have no voice: immigration, free trade, local crime and drug issues, and an economy that doesn't offer middle class jobs to unskilled men.

They're smart enough to realize Hillary isn't going to offer them anything real. Obamacare means they're just well off enough to pay someone else's bills, again.

If anything this is the FDR crowd, resurgent. Either way they're on the wrong side of the future, and they know it. Get an ivy league degree or rot in a McJob. Seems fair to me. Meritocracy for everyone.

On most threads, more Jill = less Troll me.

I conclude that there is a vast conspiracy.

Or maybe that we're interested in different things.

Those militia would probably "feed" on your comments denouncing them, so you'd better stop talking, right?

"The whole point of the doomsday machine...is lost if you keep it a secret!"

- Dr. Strangelove:

Tyler is a genius at overthinking. This "threat" had one purpose only- to "officially" back up the unsupported claim that the Russian government was going around hacking the e-mails of various Hillary Clinton linked groups.

And, to those who think this is an attempt to prevent the Clinton e-mail leaks from continuing:

It isn't because the US government knows the hacks almost certainly weren't done by the Russian government. The only purposed of this "threat" is to support the weak assertion that Russia's government was behind it. It isn't so terribly difficult to hack an e-mail account that it only could be done through the support of a national government. Seriously, my e-mail account has been hacked twice in the last year, and I am pretty sure the Russian government didn't do it so they could send out spam for weight loss scams.

The entire "Putin is hacking Democratic Party e-mails and leaking them" is transparent propaganda. If the Russians really wanted to tilt the playing field towards Trump, surely there are more damaging things they could leak to hurt Clinton.

Nailed it, I hope. I really tried to step inside Anon's head and I just cannot get upset about the email leaks or view it as an existential threat. A more civilized age would have given whistleblowers some protection. Surely a slew of embarrassing emails is not worth starting WW3 over.

A possible analogue could be to the Zersetzung of the Stasi under Soviet East Germany, where the threat to infiltrate any groups of freedom seekers, etc., contributed to additional paranoia, internal fighting, etc.

If helps if the threat is credible.

In some senses though, it might be a "do something" approach. If the public believes that nothing is being done, then concerns about the potential extent of Russian influence or infiltration into US intelligence could grow. So, "do something" might help to reduce the probability that the public will eventually demand various sorts of investigations into various abuses routinely perpetrated by the same organizational structures which are responsible for minimizing the damage of such attacks or following through on retaliation.

However, as opposed to with military stuff, if it decided that retaliation is the appropriate strategy, it is better to wait until something can be deployed effectively than to rush something just not to look weak (e.g., after the missiles went towards that US ship near Yemen, the lack of IMMEDIATE response got a lot of people upset, but even there, they did their homework and it wasn't until a couple days later that retaliation was pursued).

Putin wants Trump to win, obviously. Trump's acting like he's going to submit to Putin at every turn. And Putin reciprocates by leaking HIllary's emails, to try to help Trump win the election. It's amazing how much power Trump has over his followers' beliefs. Fox News loving Republicans used to be Mr. Tough Guy in foreign relations. Now they're all cowering before Putin, wanting to do everything he asks, wanting to put up with threats from him toward the U.S., and to just give in to him every time. If Trump says night is day and day is night, his followers will just believe him and follow along. Trump is right that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose his supporters.

You remind me of a hat I saw this morning which read "Make America Think Again".

I don't think they meant clandestine in the sense of being secret, just that it involves espionage. Of course, the US can hack Russia and embarrass Putin the existing published exploits are sufficient. No reason to send private messages, it isn't like Clinton is going to lose and it doesn't matter much if she wins by 2M or 10M votes. I don't think they would retaliate for just leaking more stuff.

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Looking at Joe Biden's face on Sunday when asked about this. I suspect . . .

#1: . . . that they had already done something, looked like a glitch to the Russians and the shot across the bow to say that was us and we can do more.

or

#2 . . . . they can't really do anything, but glitches that show up will make them wonder, was this the Americans. Get in their heads folks.

. . . makes me wonder if Obama had something to do with my Cable TV going out yesterday when I was watching the news?

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