As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.”
The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!”
“No doubt Putin regrets his short-sighted actions to disrupt our elections,” says James Corton, a former official at the National Security Agency who now consults on security matters for businesses and public agencies. “I think what people forget is that the United States is well ahead of other countries in its cyber espionage capabilities. We invented the Internet, after all. No one knows it better than we do. So, when you play with fire, you will be burned by fire, and we have the matches—and the lighter fluid.”
The images are already having an impact, say U.S. security officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they are not authorized to speak on U.S. security policy. “People in Russia are laughing at their president, and at a meeting this morning among diplomatic officials in Brussels, one European minister was heard telling a Russian minister that his president ‘looked stupid.’ No doubt Putin is not happy right now.”
The White House said there’s more to come. “These images are just the first step in a carefully calibrated retaliation,” said Earnest. “The goal here is not to humiliate Putin but to send a signal that if you mess with something as important as the U.S. election, you will face consequences.”
Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee is believed to have influenced the outcome of the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, who has expressed admiration for Putin, by releasing material damaging to the Democrats. Putin is believed to have personally directed the hacking.
“I’m sure Putin wishes he hadn’t done what he did, but it’s too late now,” says the former NSA official. “The images are out there, and he looks stupid. He’s paying the ultimate price.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): pd (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
In the first charge to come out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion by the Trump campaign, a grand jury has indicted one third of American voters for acts of criminal stupidity. “Evidence collected over the last six months provides clear and convincing evidence that 62.9 million Americans acted with criminal negligence and stupidity in voting for a man who repeatedly demonstrated he is unfit for high office,” the highly anticipated document says. The indictment, which was unsealed in federal court today, says Donald Trump, when he was a candidate for president of the United States, made it clear he neither understood nor respected the institutions of the country he was seeking to lead. “Voting for a candidate who undermined the democratic institutions of the United States violates the duties of Americans to undertake their responsibilities as voters responsibly. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what s not that any compromising information the Russians could reveal about him would not hurt his political standing among his supporters. “If Russian hackers were to reveal that I, say, participated in a golden shower with prostitutes, no one who supports me would believe it,” Trump said today at Trump Tower in New York City. “I’m not saying I participated in that in any of my tips to Moscow when I was seeking Russian money to bail my company out of bankruptcy. But even if I did and the Russians released a video of me doing it, it wouldn’t affect me. Everything is doctored, everything is fake. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he will move U.S. spy operations to Russia, which has “terrific” surveillance and “fantastic” intelligence gathering. “Our spy operations are a disaster,” Trump said after meeting with Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who is in line to head up the CIA. Trump said his “good relationship” with Russia president Vladimir Putin makes the partnership with Russia’s spy agency, known as the KGB, a “fantastic opportunity to get the best intelligence, the best knowledge of what’s going on in the world.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Analysts say pro-Russia remarks appear to be sprinkled into the presidential nomination acceptance speech that Hillary Clinton gave on the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and they wonder if the remarks were added at the last minute by Russian hackers who’ve infiltrated the servers of the DNC. “The speech was more pro-Russia than we expected, and that makes you wonder what the Russians have done now that we know they’ve hacked the DNC servers,” says Jon Brighton, cyber security branch chief at the National Security Agency. One line that might have been added, Brighton says, comes about halfway through Clinton’s speech, when she’s talking about the bonds of trust that appear to be fraying in the United States. “America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” she says. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. Luckily, we maintain strong bonds of trust with Russia and our good friend Vladimir Putin.” More.
The Democratic National Committee has been hacked. Colin Powell has been hacked. The NSA has been hacked. The American Olympic Committee has been hacked. So many opportunities. So many directions. When you can get into any email you want, whose email do you get into next? That’s the question Russia’s state-supported hackers have been asking themselves and now they want to get your input. In a first for Russia’s hackers, they’ve put out a call on their Facebook page to get ideas from you on whose lives they should turn upside down next. “Tom Brady? Beyonce? Barbra Streisand? It’s just so hard to know,” said the group, which calls itself Анонимный, or “anonymous” in Russian. “It’s impossible to keep up with who’s trending. “Drake is big. But you already know what his emails are going to say. There has to be a surprise factor.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged he plans to govern as a dictator but he wanted to reassure voters that he would make decisions in the interests of the country. “When I curb the press, it wont be to hurt America, it will be to make America stronger,” he said. “If I let the press criticize everything I do—and they will, because they’re totally dishonest—I can’t get anything done. I want to get things done, so I have to curb the press. But we’ll still have some free press. We’ll keep the good ones. It won’t be entirely gone.” Trump promised to take a firmer hand on how cases get settled in the courts. “Right now our courts are a disaster,” he said. “We have cases backlogged. Why do we use juries as much as we do? Especially if the person is guilty. Let’s get these guilty criminals directly into jail and save he courts for when we really need them.” More.
With his inauguration approaching, President-elect Donald Trump has asked a group of scientists to determine how much hair
spray he’ll need to keep his famous combover in place during his inauguration speech, which traditionally takes place outdoors. The group has been meeting for almost a week and more meetings are planned between now and inauguration as it tries to nail down the precise amount he’ll need given the unpredictability of the weather in Washington in January. “It’s a challenging task,” said Jeffrey Barnes, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering in Palo Alto, Calif. “Wind, rain, snow, cold temperatures—there are a lot of unknowns come inauguration day that could play havoc on what is arguably the most famous combover in the world.” More.
NEW YORK CITY—President-elect Donald Trump said this morning he’ll take revenge on personal slights against him and humiliate his critics “on behalf of everyone in the United States” and not just on his own behalf. “No one wants to settle scores for all Americans more than I do,” he said while meeting with potential picks for his cabinet in Trump Tower. “I want people to know they can take pride when I hit back at someone doubly hard when they cross me. I take pride in that, and I hope all Americans will, too.”nTrump said he’s spent his life rewarding people who say nice things about him and striking back at people who call him names, and that won’t change now that he’ll be rewarding and striking back at people on behalf of everyone. More.
Not waiting to get into the White House to exercise his unique brand of Twitter diplomacy, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump late last night wondered aloud if Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, get their pantsuit ideas from the same JC Penney catalog. “I notice it’s not a catalogue Melania has laying around on her nightstand,” he said. “Maybe there’s a reason for that. Does Victoria Secret make sizes big enough for them? I doubt it!” He also called North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine two weeks ago a “pathetic” attempt to be relevant in the global arena and said it makes the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, look “small and sad.” Trump also revisited one of his favorite topics about China—its currency manipulation—by condemning the International Monetary Fund for adding the Yuan to its list of reserve currencies. “Just like it manipulates its currency, China has manipulated the losers at the IMF,” he said. More.
U.S. President Barack Obama said today in an interview with the foreign press that it’s been a tough seven years and he still has one more to go, but he takes comfort knowing it will soon be over and and he can go back to Kenya. “That’s what keeps me going,” he said. The first black president of the United States said adjusting to life in America has not been easy, even though he’s lived here most of his life. But he thinks he did a good job as president and would like to run for the presidency of Kenya in a few years, if the people of his native country will have him. “Winning election in Kenya is not quite as straight-forward as it is here,” he said. “Here, you give a few speeches and, if people like your style, you become well-known and then you just compete in primaries and caucuses held by the states. More.
WASHINGTON—The Republican National Committee is sending shockwaves through the United States by releasing clearly undoctored photos of President Barack Obama romping with young, scantily clad women in the Oval Office. “It is with a heavy heart that we release these genuine and authentic photos depicting our president acting in a way that can only be described as unpresidential,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said at a hastily called press conference today. More.
WASHINGTON—The National Rifle Association today staged a protest outside the U.S. Department of Transportation here against that agency’s ban on privately owned military assult-styled vehicles on federally funded highways. “It looks like Barack Hussein Obama wants to make sure only the government has the right to bear arms when those arms are attached to motorized vehicles,” NRA President Wayne LaPierre said at the protest, which involved blocking Constitution Ave. with dozens of privately owned vehicles adapted to accommodate military-styled automatic weapons, including several with grenade launchers. “Well, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that guns don’t have to be carried on one’s person for us to enjoy the freedom to have them. Just because they’re mounted on vehicles doesn’t make us any less free to carry our guns.” More.