Cotton: Say, Why Did Obama Reject Republicans' Proposal to Fight Russian Disinformation?

Guy Benson
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Posted: Dec 23, 2016 10:56 AM
Cotton: Say, Why Did Obama Reject Republicans' Proposal to Fight Russian Disinformation?

In light of the Left's fresh obsession with combating the alleged crisis of "fake news," as well as getting to the bottom of Moscow's malign influence and meddling, the Senator from Arkansas raises a rather interesting point, doesn't he? Via Politico:

The White House opposed a Republican-led push earlier this year to create an executive-branch task force to battle Russia’s covert information operations, according to a document obtained by POLITICO. Sen. Tom Cotton, a leading GOP defense hawk who has long urged President Barack Obama to take a harder line on Russia, sought to force the White House to create a panel with representatives from a number of government agencies to counter Russian efforts "to exert covert influence," including by exposing Russian "falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism, and assassinations.” But the administration rejected the call, saying in a letter to Congress that hasn’t been released publicly that the panel would duplicate existing efforts to battle Russian influence operations — an argument Cotton rejects. His proposed task force drew bipartisan support as part of a larger intelligence authorization bill that passed the House but never got a floor vote in the Senate. The panel would not have been set up in time to have had an impact on Russia’s role in last month’s presidential election — even if the intelligence bill had become law. But the Arkansas senator said in an interview the White House’s dismissal of his proposal is symptomatic of the administration’s lax pre-election attitude toward Russia.

The piece quotes an (anonymous) White House official snarking back at Cotton, calling Republican concerns about Russian hacking "rich." It's hard to overstate the contempt the Obama administration has for Tom Cotton, and the feeling is very much mutual. By the way, it's probably also worth pointing out that all of this hacking and interference from Russia (and others) happened on this president's watch -- and that he reportedly didn't raise more strident concerns about the Kremlin's conduct because he was supremely confident that Hillary would win anyway, and didn't want to upset the Russians. Which is part of a pattern with President Reset Button:

Smart power.