By Derek B. Johnson - Sep 12, 2018
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Sept. 12 laying out an interagency process between the Intelligence Community and the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State and Treasury to impose economic and other sanctions on countries, groups or individuals who are found to be meddling in U.S. elections, hacking into election or campaign infrastructure or conducting disinformation campaigns.
In a press briefing, National Security Advisor John Bolton said the order was designed to cover both "foreign interference in our elections and really the political process more broadly."
"It includes not just interference with election and campaign infrastructure, but it also covers distribution of propaganda and disinformation," Bolton said.
After news of the order broke, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) released a statement calling the executive order as described through press reports "insufficient" because it leaves the president with broad discretion to determine whether such sanctions are warranted.
"We remain woefully underprepared to secure the upcoming elections, and an executive order is simply no substitute for congressional action," Warner said.
In a joint statement, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said the order "recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it." The lawmakers, who sponsored a bill to require consequences for election meddling, said that "mandatory sanctions on anyone who attacks our electoral systems serve as the best deterrent, which is the central tenet of the bipartisan DETER Act."
The order lays out a multistep process for imposing penalties on countries, groups or individuals. The Intelligence Community will have 45 days to assess whether an entity has interfered in an election or the political process. Those findings go to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, which have an additional 45 days to assess the evidence. If they concur, those entities will be subject to a range of automatic sanctions.
The Departments of Treasury and State also have the option of imposing additional penalties down the line.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said this process is intended to kick off after an election has taken place, but Bolton also clarified that the order is "intended to be active now" and does not preclude the possibility of actions being taken before an election.
Bolton said the order was not specific to any single country, and Coats said the Intelligence Community has observed disinformation campaigns and foreign interference on this front from a number of countries.
Like other U.S. officials, Coats said the administration hasn't seen activity on the same level as 2016, but he noted a potential ramp-up is "only a keyboard click away and we're taking nothing for granted here."
"We have seen signs of [meddling] not just from Russia but from China, capabilities potentially from Iran and even from North Korea," said Coats. "It's more than Russia here that we're looking at."
Over the past two months, tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have announced the discovery of hundreds of accounts, pages and websites that they believe are tied to foreign influence campaigns. Some appear designed to affect the upcoming midterm elections while others seemingly target broader influence objectives within foreign countries.
Congress has introduced a number of bills to clamp down on the kind of election-related cyberattacks or political disinformation campaigns that U.S. intelligence agencies believe were carried out by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election.
Bolton told reporters that the administration wanted to act decisively under its own authorities because "you never know how long legislation is going to take." He noted, however, that he has had discussions with at least two dozen members of Congress in recent weeks about legislative options.
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehaviour acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
All articles contained in Human-Synthesis are freely available and collected from the Internet. The interpretation of the contents is left to the readers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Administrator. Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Human-Synthesis will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. Human-Synthesis grants permission to cross-post original Human-Synthesis articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified.
The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Human-Synthesis articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites. Human-Synthesis contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.