What, Should Trump NOT Ask Russia For Help With The Cyber? Really, He Shouldn't? Okay

OK, one more game of Minesweeper and then I'm definitely going to stop the Russian hacking.

Donald Trump had a great idea Sunday morning: How about we make sure the Russians never hack our elections again by joining up with them to create a super-secure cyber security program where both countries would make sure they were keeping America safe from Russian hacking, and the other way around, too? Unfortunately, the Washington Elites (and almost everyone who knows anything about cyber security) thought it was a terrible idea, because they're no fun, so then Trump had to walk the idea back by Sunday night, which just goes to show why no really great ideas ever get taken seriously.

Still, Trump had a neat idea to keep America safe -- a lot safer than that dummy Barack Obama did!

That would not be problematic at all, you see, because Donald Trump told Vladimir Putin very sternly not to hack our elections ever again, and then Putin said he'd never even hacked us in the first place, so that's all taken care of and is old fake news now.

You may be astonished to learn that not everyone -- or even anyone -- thought that was the greatest idea! The timing of the tweet, as the Washington Post pointed out, was especially convenient for members of Congress who were going on the Sunday shows, giving them just enough time to practice their spontaneous one-liners about what a bad idea it was. For instance, there was Lindsey Graham, who went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to call it "not the dumbest idea I've ever heard, but it's pretty close":

Graham went on to say that it would be wrong to simply "forgive and forget" the hack of the 2016 election, which seems unfair, since if Trump was willing to have Russia help us prevent any further Russian hacking, then obviously he recognizes Russian hacking was a problem, right?

On CBS's "Face the Nation," John McCain said he though it was a nifty idea, too, since if anyone knows about the hacks, it would be the guy who ordered them:

"I am sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort since he’s doing the hacking," said McCain, who then went on to gripe about the process of writing the current defense authorization, for some reason.

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, who knows from computers since he has a degree in computer science, told Politico Trump's proposal was “dumb as a rock”:

“Would we form a unit with the Russians to study how we prevent a Russian nuclear attack on the U.S.? We wouldn’t” [...]

Another Democrat, Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle, even vowed to introduce legislation on Tuesday and pursue amendments that would “make sure, in absolutely no shape or form, we spend taxpayer money on this crazy and dangerous idea.”

“This is an opportunity for Republicans to show that they truly do care about this issue and that this is an issue that rises above party politics,” Boyle, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview.

Politico reported that Trump's idea didn't come completely out of his vegan baby butthole; rather, it seemed to refer to a somewhat different initiative announced Friday, a "joint cyber working group tasked with establishing a framework to resolve digital disputes," which is a far cry from some kind of "security unit" that would jointly police the cybers. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that the goal there was to "have a dialogue" with Russia about achieving reasonable assurances that neither country would interfere with each other's computer networks, which actually is the sort of thing previous administrations have pursued. For instance, the Obama administration used a computer equivalent of the "nuclear hotline" between the U.S. and Moscow last fall to tell Russia to knock it off with the hacking of state election systems. While Politico didn't explicitly say Trump had just fucked up what he'd been told about the dialogue around increasing security, we're perfectly willing to believe Trump may have done just that: He got briefed about the working group and, somewhere in Trumpbrainspace, converted that into a proposal for an "impenetrable Cyber Security unit."

Politico also points out that while the computer-security hotline to Moscow remains in place, other elements of the Obama effort to improve cooperation with Russia on cyber security had to be abandoned when

law enforcement swaps of cybercrime information were even turned “into recruitment tools for Russian intelligence and criminal groups,” said Megan Stifel, the National Security Council’s director for international cyber policy from 2013 to 2014.

So after about 12 hours, Trump was on the Twitters again, explaining it was all just a beautiful dream, and why do you haters have to be such haters?

So never mind. We made peace in Syria (as everyone knows, Syrian cease-fires always hold), but fine, throw away my brilliant idea. Just be that way.

Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul had a really practical suggestion for the president, for the next time he has a brilliant idea for a major foreign policy change:

An NSC meeting? Sounds boring. Couldn't Ivanka just sit in for him?

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[WaPo / Politico / Guardian]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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