Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes, has steadily been distancing himself from former President Obama over the last couple months. Once a staunch defender of Obama’s entire Administration, he has become strangely silent.
In an interview last week with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, the discussion quickly came to rest on the question of whether Obama did enough to stop the alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election that happened during the waning days of his Administration. When asked by Todd why the Obama Administration seemingly dropped the ball, Rhodes replied tepidly.
“I actually wasn’t as much in the room on that because—and for—but for a specific reason, which actually does point to what I think we might have done differently,” Rhodes had said. “It was treated as kind of a cybersecurity threat, so the people talking about this from kind—” to which Todd said, “Did you put it in a box over here?”
Rhodes replied by saying that, “It was in a kind of cyber lane because, rightly, we wanted to defend the election infrastructure. Then there is the issue of ‘do we alert the public to this?’ And we did, and I think we thought the October 7th statement was going to be this huge deal, we were saying the foreign power is meddling in the election and it’s Russia.”
The DHS – Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Director of National Intelligence had jointly released a statement, back in October 2016, in which they were confident that the sites which were run by the Russian government like the DCLeaks.com and the WikiLeaks have released very sensitive “e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.”
After Hilary had lost her election campaign to Trump, there were a lot of Democrats who had blamed the Obama administration for letting the Russian matter settle down. Senator Mark Warner had said that the administration had ‘choked’ while Adam Schiff, a Democratic Representative was of the idea that the delay in the response was one of “a very serious mistake.”
Rhodes, who was one of the most important people to form up the Iranian Nuclear Deal, said that the people had the ability to “overplay the notion” that the ex-President Barack Obama could have possibly done more to make Russia’s interference a huge issue. But he further said that he also believes that the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump would have made a huge issue out of it and would have called the system “rigged,” and that the government does not have any control over “fake news.”
“What the U.S. government was just not designed to handle was the fake news because, actually, we don’t have a lever to pull to say to someone, ‘Hey, that stuff on your Facebook feed about Hillary’s health is fake,'” he had said. “What was really missing is a sense of how does the U.S. government and Silicon Valley and media platforms, how do they adjust to a reality in which Russia is weaponizing information? And there we just frankly didn’t have any capacity.”