This morning, Associated Press (AP) had the story that Russians have succeeded in hacking into the US energy grid, though they were then expelled. From the CNBC version:
U.S. national security officials said the FBI, the Homeland Security Department and American intelligence agencies determined that Russian intelligence and others were behind the attacks on the energy sector. The officials said the Russians deliberately chose U.S. energy industry targets, obtaining access to computer systems and then conducting “network reconnaissance” of industrial control systems that run American factories and the electricity grid.
The U.S. government has helped energy businesses kick out the Russians from all systems currently known to have been penetrated, according to the officials. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security information, left open the possibility of discovering more breaches, and said the federal government was issuing an alert to the energy industry to raise awareness about the threat and improve preparation.
Key points from and about this terrifying story:
- Russian hacking of the US energy grid has been happening for some amount of time. We’re only hearing about it now.
- The story was leaked — by people who are with the FBI, Homeland Security and/or the Intelligence Community.
- It was leaked to a wire service (AP), which supplies news to most if not all news media outlets across the USA (and other nations). This means the leakers wanted it known far and wide and fast.
So why was it leaked, and why now?
My feeling is that it was done for more than one reason, and here are the ones I can think of:
1) To force the administration by the weight of public opinion to act against Putin’s Russia. If so, it’s working; Trump went ahead with the sanctions, albeit in a limited manner, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the US considers Putin’s Russia responsible for the UK poisoning on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, closing ranks with all the other NATO countries.
2) We are nearing the end-game, i.e. Mueller is working towards indicting Trump and/or Trump family members. As that impends, the above agencies want to:
- turn American public opinion further against Putin’s Russia
- make it understood by the public, the media and Congress that Putin’s Russia is a hostile foreign power, is dangerous, and is in effect at war with the US
- add greater credibility to the accusation that Putin’s Russia interfered with the presidential election
- make everyone and anyone who conspired with Putin’s Russia look like the traitors they are in the eyes of the public, the media and Congress, so that when Mueller indicts Trump for conspiring, support for him from his base is weakened
- force Republicans in Congress to consider impeachment at that point
In other words, they want to make Americans get how badly they have been betrayed—that Trump & Gang were put into office by a guy who wants to be able to control whether their nation, meaning all its people, all its industry, all its institutions, etc. …has electricity. And thus force Congress to act appropriately.
Possibly also they want to force Trump to take steps to safeguard the integrity of American elections rather than doing absolutely nothing, as he is right now.
Putin’s Russia, Trump, his family, his minions, the GOP and all the other traitors, wherever they are, will fight all this for all they’re worth. I wonder if Putin is on the phone with Trump right now, threatening to release kompromat or pull the plug on the family financially if he doesn’t step back in line.
It’s going to be a very interesting spring.