ABC's Jon Karl To Obama White House: Uh, Why Weren't You Guys Freaking Out When China Hacked Us?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 5:00 PM
ABC's Jon Karl To Obama White House: Uh, Why Weren't You Guys Freaking Out When China Hacked Us?

Katie wrote earlier today how outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia did not alter the results of the election through hacks, but tried to interfere by unleashing a deluge of propaganda. That’s not the same thing as messing with the vote tallies. The two targets were the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta’s email. It’s not good, but, again, hacks are just another part of the 21st century life. And the headquarters for a national party and the email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign aren’t necessarily the most sensitive targets that have ever been breached; a point that ABC News’ Jon Karl brought up at the White House press briefing yesterday. The Left is going nuts over this story, but where were they when China infiltrated the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2015?

Via Real Clear Politics:

JON KARL, ABC: So when the Chinese hacked OPM in 2015, 21+ million current and former government employees and contractors had their personal data stolen by the Chinese. Why did the White House do nothing publicly in reaction to that hack? Which in some ways, was even more widespread than what we saw here from the Russians?

JOSH EARNEST: These are two cyber incidents that are malicious in nature but materially different.

KARL: 20 million people had their personal data taken... fingerprints, social security numbers, background checks. This was a far-reaching act--

EARNEST: I'm not downplaying the significance of it, I'm just saying that it is different than seeking to interfere int he conduct of a U.S. national election. I can't speak to the steps that have been taken by the United States in response to that Chinese malicious cyber activity--

KARL: But nothing was announced. There was not a single step announced by the White House. '

EARNEST: It is true that there was no public announcement about our response, but I can't speak to what response may have been initiated in private.

KARL: But no diplomats expelled, no compounds shut down, no sanctions imposed, correct?

You don't do that stuff secretly.

Also, let’s not get all holier than thou about running interference in an election either. The Obama administration didn’t order hacks, but they did give hundreds of thousands of dollars to an Israeli group, OneVoice, who then used the money to fund an anti-Benjamin Netanyahu effort during the 2015 elections. The money was thought to be earmarked for the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, but OneVoice even told the State Department in an email the actual intentions for the funds. It was all cited in a congressional report at the time. Of course, State denies ever seeing the cables.

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson listed two other cyber attacks that have occurred during the Obama administration, both of them more serious in nature than the DNC and Podesta breaches:

  • In 2015, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyberattack against a federal agency.
  • Also in 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen in a malicious cyberattack.
  • The GAO reports that between 2006 and 2015, the number of cyberattacks climbed 1,300 percent — from 5,500 to over 77,000 a year at 24 federal agencies.
  • Last March, China government hackers continued a malicious pattern of cyber attacks on U.S. government and private networks, according to U.S. Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers. China has been linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to wide-ranging cyber attacks aimed at stealing information and mapping critical computer networks for future attacks in a crisis or conflict.