(Photograph: President-elect Donald Trump will be busy examining all the changes made in Washington by President Obama’s use of his pen and phone.)
In keeping with Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s advice to never let a serious crisis go to waste, the outgoing president expanded federal power in order to have “more oversight” on the electoral process. He did this despite the fact there were never allegations that Russian hackers penetrated anything more that the DNC, a non-government entity.
Without the fanfare that usually follows the signing of an important and dramatic shift in policy, President Barack Obama has ordered the head of Homeland Security to extend federal involvement into what’s been considered a function of the individual states: Oversight of the electoral cyber-systems in each of the 50 U.S. states. While the majority of news outlets either ignored this violation of the U.S. Constitution or relegated it to the back pages of newspapers, Emmy Award winning newsman Graham Ledger was all over the story on Thursday night during his show The Daily Ledger aired on One America News Network (OANN).
With Americans being feed a steady diet of news stories blaming the Democratic Party’s losses in the 2016 election cycle — especially Hillary Clinton losing the presidency to Donald Trump — on Russian government hackers. while only a few Americans were paying attention, an Obama minion allegedly “pulled a fast one,” according to several law enforcement and government security officers.
“On Friday, in the midst of an attack on a Florida airport and other big news stories, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson released a statement that should disturb anyone who wishes to see the nation’s election system spared even more corruption by a political party that feeds on centralizing power,” noted political consultant and strategist Michael Baker.
Instead of looking at its own failings and political weaknesses — coupled with an enormous number of dissatisfied Americans who decided eight years of progressivism was enough — the Democratic Party’s brass and political bigwigs decided to blame the Russians for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s cyber-system.
The Democrats, the Republican Party’s Trump-haters, and the news media continue to accuse the Russians of hacking and then releasing material that allegedly exposed members of the DNC. Some of the power-brokers within the party were exposed as being racist, corrupt, disrespectful of their own voters, and overly cynical. Rather than accepting defeat, as Republican voters had to do a number of times, the Democratic Party stalwarts decided to pursue the narrative that the Russians hijacked the election on behalf of the Trump campaign.
The Democrats have noted that cyber-security continues to be a top priority for DHS, as it is for state and local election officials across the country. This designation enables the states, should they request it, to leverage the full scope of cyber-security services we can make available to them.
But the allegations about a Putin-Trump conspiracy have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual election, according to Mike Baker. The conservative strategist points to the actual charges: that hackers got into the Democratic National Committee’s cyber-system and stole documents that weren’t governmental nor classified.
“I don’t understand how Americans are so ill-informed. The DNC is not part of our government. It’s a political party. It was up to them to protect their information and their cyber-system. The worst outcome was that a bunch of political hacks ended up with egg on their faces. Period,” Baker said.
According to Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will label the election systems run by individual states as being “critical infrastructure.” This categorization will allow election systems to “receive prioritized cyber-security assistance” from DHS. While such an action requires a request from a state or local government, it would be in the best interests of the Democratic Party to have such a broad mandate.
“In his press statement released on Friday to a news media proven to be unreliable in honest reporting, Johnson proclaims that the election infrastructure should be designated as part of the Government Facilities Critical Infrastructure Sector. Johnson insists that systems and components of the nation’s election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law,” according to one skeptic, former military intelligence officer and city police detective Benjamin “Benny” Cardona.
In his statement, Johnson announced: “I have reached this determination so that election infrastructure will, on a more formal and enduring basis, be a priority for cybersecurity 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.”
One former criminal investigator finds Johnson’s guarantees suspicious. “This is the same administration that said ‘if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’ and ‘this healthcare plan won’t cost you one dime more.’ It’s also the same people who blamed the Battle of Benghazi on an anti-Muslim video,” said Theresa O’Malley, a former police expert on corporate corruption and fraud.
“At present, there are sixteen critical infrastructure sectors, including twenty subsectors that are eligible to receive prioritized cybersecurity assistance from the Department of Homeland Security,” said Johnson, who was appointed the head of the DHS after he donated a large amount of money to the Obama campaign.