‘Dangerous talk’: Democrats cautioned for calling Russian cyber intrusions an ‘act of war’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 27, 2017

Democrats, who just over four years ago mocked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s warning on Russia, are now pushing the narrative that Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election was an “act of war.”

“I think this attack that we’ve experienced is a form of war, a form of war on our fundamental democratic principles,” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey Democrat, said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last week.

“I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and I think that’s why the American people should be concerned about it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat.

“This past election, our country was attacked. We were attacked by Russia,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat. “I see this as an opportunity for everyone on this committee, Republicans and Democrats, to not look in the rear-view window but to look forward and do everything we can to make sure that our country never again allows a foreign adversary to attack us.”

Michael Schmitt, an international law professor at the University of Exeter in Britain said that he finds “that sort of talk dangerous.” Schmitt led the team of legal experts that formulated the Tallinn Manual 2.0, a comprehensive analysis of how international law applies to cyberspace.

Schmitt said Russia’s hacking was not an act of war but a violation of two prohibitions: one on violating another state’s sovereignty and another on intervention into another state’s affairs.

“Without a scintilla of a doubt, it is not an act of war,” Schmitt said.

Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, also cautioned individuals about using the term “war” to refer to the cyberattacks: “If it’s an act of war, then you’ve got to start thinking of your response to that sort of thing.”

Zero Hedge noted on March 26 that “if hacking and/or seeking to influence the outcome of elections is truly an ‘act of war’ as these Democrats suggest, then we would kindly remind them that their former leader ‘declared war’ on the majority of the civilized world during his eight years in office.”

Courtesy of WikiLeaks, here is a list of some of the individuals who were wiretapped by the Obama administration:

  • The U.S. National Security Agency bugged a private climate change strategy meeting; between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
  • Obama bugged the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for long term interception targeting his Swiss phone.
  • Obama singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Johann Human, and targeted his Swiss phone for long term interception.
  • Obama stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relationship with Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu.
  • Obama intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the U.S. “extort[ing]” them at the WTO Doha arounds (the talks subsequently collapsed).
  • Obama explicitly targeted five other top EU economic officials for long term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgian phone numbers.
  • Obama explicitly targeted the phones of Italy’s ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long term interception.
  • Obama intercepted details of a critical private meeting between then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berlusconi, where the latter was told the Italian banking system was ready to “pop like a cork”.