Obama Orders Investigation Into Russian Election Hacking

This officially just got serious

Is this all for show? A month after the election President Obama has ordered a “full review” into whether Russia played any part in attempted cyber attacks on leading up the 2016 election.

"We may have crossed into a new threshold and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what this means, what has happened and to impart those lessons learned," Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, said in a meeting with reporters published by Politico.

So why now?

One administration source told NBC News that because of Trump’s cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, “Obama is concerned that Russia will go unpunished for the behavior unless he acts.”

According to NBC, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia was behind attempted disruptions of this year’s election, something President-elect Trump has denied. His skepticism aside, Republicans in Congress, including Sen. John McCain, have said they support the investigation, which will look into alleged incidents all the way back to 2008, according to CNN.

It’s a dramatic turn in just over a month. In the aftermath of the shocking 2016 presidential election results, the White House was quick to declare that there was no evidence of hacking of voter fraud. Sure, no one in the Obama Administration was happy to see Donald Trump heading to the Oval Office instead of Hillary Clinton but privately they insisted that the best thing for stability and democracy was to ensure a peaceful transition of power and focus on the next election.

Unfortunately, for those worried about the integrity of our electoral process and even our democracy itself, it doesn’t sound like full results of the investigation will be made public. Monaco said that’s because doing so would potentially tip off any hackers to the methods used to detect hacks. However, she did say the findings will be shared with Congress and other parts of the national security apparatus.

“That’s going to be first and foremost a determination that’s made by the intelligence community," Monaco said. "We want to do so very attentive to not disclosing sources and methods that may impede our ability to identify and attribute malicious actors in the future.”

For its part, Russia has repeatedly denying hacking into places like the Democratic National Committee or attempting to interfere in any way with the election.

“We are also very interested in understanding what they accused Russia of,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told CNN. “Many times the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister Lavrov have asked Americans to provide full information. But never had any response.”

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet