President Barack Obama has placed more sanctions against Russia and expelled intelligence operatives from America for allegedly interfering with our 2016 election. The sanctions include expelling 35 Russian intelligence officers and closing two Russian compounds.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security found some information that Russians may have phished into the Democratic National Committee over the summer. (Before I go on, I need to correct the media. NO ONE hacked the election. Saying Russia hacked the election implies Russians invaded our voting booths and physically changed votes. That did NOT happen.)

Fact is the Democrats cannot handle the fact that President-elect Donald Trump crushed and embarrassed them on Election Day. Don’t forget that the Democrats also lost a lot of seats in the House, Senate, and state legislatives.

So Obama slammed down the hammer to show those Russians he means business….or something:

In addition to the sanctions, the State Department has declared 35 Russian intelligence operatives “persona non grata” in the U.S., giving them 72 hours to leave, and is shutting down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.

The Maryland property is a 45-acre property at Pioneer Point, and was purchased by the Soviet government in 1972.

The New York property is on Long Island and is 14 acres and was purchased by the Soviet government in 1954.

The Treasury Secretary meanwhile has named two individuals — Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan — it says were involved in “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”

“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior,” Obama said in a statement.

Of course the Russian government are sitting back and laughing at all of this:

Officials in Russia lashed out against the sanctions and have promised retaliation:

“We think that such steps by a U.S. administration that has three weeks left to work are aimed at two things: to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, to deal a blow to the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Yeah, well, we’ve seen this act from Russia before. America has been sanctioning Russia since the Kremlin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014. After each action, Russia has promised retaliation and so far…nothing.

But you know what is really scary? The fact that this all happened without any concrete proof the phishing schemes came from Russia.

Mollie is correct. I spoke with Michelle Ray, an editor at IJR and founder of ClearVoter, who knows the insides out of technology. She told me this:

Hacking an election would involve gaining access to our voting system and altering votes. That never happened. What did happen was a cluster of poor security and effective phishing schemes that exposed, through human stupidity, information that made Clinton look even worse as a candidate than before its release. Who knew that was even possible?

Here are a few definitions you need to know:

HACKING: to circumvent security and break into (a network, computer, file, etc.), usually with malicious intent

PHISHING: to try to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an email that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization, usually a financial institution, but contains a link to a fake website that replicates the real one.

Phishing. PHISHING. Michelle also told me that this could have been a Chinese hacker bouncing off a Russian server. Think about it. Everyone knows the sour relationship between America and Russia. This is a perfect situation to manipulate the system and make it appear that Russia tried to influence the election.

There is no absolute concrete proof that anyone in Russia performed these phishing schemes. Another thing, the DHS and FBI identified those behind these schemes as Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS). Sooooooo…grouping Russian civilians and government officials? That’s a big difference. How can you group them together?

The phishing scheme offers no proof that these attacks came from Russia, Russian civilians, or the Russian government. But let’s go ahead and blame another superpower over it, thus giving Moscow more of an excuse to attack us.

I have covered Russia since Ukraine broke out in protest in November 2013. I have grown to hate and despise Russia and President Vladimir Putin. You know what I hate even more? Jumping to conclusions. Immediately blaming anyone, especially Russia, without absolute positive proof also ticks me off, especially when said country has the ability to inflict actual damage on us.

People have asked me my thoughts on this. Do I think Russians phished the DNC and possibly John Podesta? Yes. But considering how easy it is to phish and bounce off other servers, I cannot say with complete confidence Russia did this and it sickens me that our government has done this.


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