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35 Russian diplomats leave U.S.

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If they were spies, why weren't they expelled earlier?

And if Obama knows they are spies, wouldn't it make more sense to withhold that information and monitor them instead?

This "spy" nonsense just seems like an excuse for Obama's ridiculous decision.

Obama also shuttered two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.

Oh I see, the Russians have "compounds" in Maryland and New York. By "compound" I guess the AP means that the Russians have some kind of fortress with machine guns in high towers and stuff.

Geez, those Russians are scary, suddenly they have a whole bunch of spies running around and "compounds" all over the US.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Good riddance.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Burning bush, you seem to be very pro Russian and pro Putin and very anti Obama. Why don't you move to Russia since it's so great there?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

bass4funkJAN. 02, 2017 - 11:30AM JST By the way, Raul is still arresting people that speak out against the government, jailing political prisoners, not allowing FREE speech. So besides fun in the sun, what did the US really get from the Obama/Castro relationship?

There is a general tendency for access to capitalistic choice with trade and an increase in standard of living to lead to freer societies. This of course is a trend that takes generations to fulfill, and hence won't fit neatly into partisan nit-picking.

Neither Iran nor Cuba are anything but superficial comparisons to Russia though. Both Cuba and Iran were culturally and commercially isolated from the US - it was not legal for citizens to travel there. We've been allowed to travel to Russia for decades, even through the Cold War I believe, and trade has been permitted as well. So this is not a case of Trump "opening up" an isolated country to interaction with the US, it's a case of Trump rolling over and tolerating Russian violation of US sovereignty. That may be acceptable to people like you who just want to score pro-Trump internet points, but for most Americans, that's a serious problem.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@SuperLib

Good riddance

To give these people on Dec.30 the order to leave in 48 hours intentionally meant only to spoil them the holidays. Petty nasty trick that only emphasizes what a petty schmuck Obama is. On Jan.20 not only half of Americans, but a lot or people from other countries will say "Good riddance"!

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

From Trump:

"It could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation," he said.

He's learning. You don't need to come out and prove anything, you just have to create a sliver of doubt that you can leverage to erode confidence in other people's conclusions. Then you hammer home the point that no one can really prove anything either way, so no action is justified. Right out of Putin's handbook. Literally.

I'm not an expert on how the separation between Congress and the Presidency works with something like this. I'm guessing Trump can roll back the sanctions, but can he stop the FBI and CIA from sharing the reports with Congress? And I'm guessing he doesn't have the authority to stop an investigation by Congress. So to that end he can try to shield Putin but won't be able to fully stop investigations and the release of the information.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

AsakazeJAN. 02, 2017 - 11:52AM JST To give these people on Dec.30 the order to leave in 48 hours intentionally meant only to spoil them the holidays. Petty nasty trick that only emphasizes what a petty schmuck Obama is.

Because in the world of of international espionage, it's paramount you ensure the people tampering with your elections have a nice holiday. I wonder if you extend this courtesy for all the people who target the US?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Why would you expel diplomats during a diplomatic crisis? These Russian diplomats are probably America's best advocates within the Russian government. They've been living in America for years, sending their kids to American schools, shopping at Wal-Mart, watching American TV, developing friendships with Americans etc. This does seem more like the Democratic party's revenge rather than a well considered plan that puts America's long term interests first.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@katsu78

I wonder if you extend this courtesy for all the people who target the US?

Putin extended this courtesy. He decided not to retaliate in the same way (which is the norm "in the world of international espionage") and invited kids of US diplomats to the celebrations in the Kremlin. Or you think that fathers of these kids do not spy on Russia or "target" Russia in other way? The difference in attutude marks the difference between a real statesman and, umm, Obama.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

So besides fun in the sun, what did the US really get from the Obama/Castro relationship? More importantly, what did the Cuban people get out of it?

What damage did it cause? What would the Cuban people have gotten out of it if things stayed the same? Let me guess: it would've given the world the impression that Obama has a pair the size of an elephant's? From what I gather commercial flights from the US to Cuba are back in order, which means Cubans in the US will be able to visit relatives more often than the once-a-year-or-whatever trip they were previously allowed to do. And why would you want to maintain an adversary so close to home? Why not make friends?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There hasn't been a shred of evidence offered up to support this expulsions by the spoiled brat Obama and his Democrat sore losers. They expelled the cook...

The report and blustering and opinion pieces from the propaganda mouth of the Washington Post about the Vermont power grid being hacked by the Russians has turned out to be a complete fake-news falsehood, but very little gets published to correct the record, as usual.

The US has interfered in more worldwide elections and governments than any other entity in the last 150 years. Expel the entire U.S. State Department.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

@Asakaze"On Jan.20 not only half of Americans, but a lot or people from other countries will say "Good riddance"!"

Couldn't agree with you more !

0 ( +6 / -6 )

there hasn't been a shred of evidence offered up to support this expulsions

So which are you, CIA, FBI or HLS? Presidential support? You must be one of them to know what information they do or don't have.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

@Strangerland

They may have evidence but qwertyjapan is entirely correct to say that it hasn't been offered up. After the lies we've seen over the past decade and a half, assuming they have a smoking gun is incredibly naive. Even the BBC has so far declined to print the spy allegations in their lead story and continues to refer to them as diplomats. I'm guessing their journalism standards prevent them from publishing allegations based on nothing more than hearsay.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

What ever happened to the "Putin is hacking the US power grid" story that the Western MSM was peddling two days ago.

You know the one where they found some commonplace Malware on a dusty PC that wasn't even connected to the internet.

That hype story, which was laughed off by even amateur computer guys, seems to have died a quick death.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

AsakazeJAN. 02, 2017 - 12:38PM JST Putin extended this courtesy.

No, he did not. If he had been intending to expel American diplomats in Russia but sent them home after the holidays, then he would be extending that courtesy. But he is not expelling them at all because he knows Trump is going to do his bidding for the next 4 years so he doesn't need to.

Besides, I'm talking about you personally, not Putin. Do you extend the same courtesy to other people who harm the US that you're demanding be extended to these espionage agents? When we're investigating Muslim terror cells, do you demand we give them Ramadan off, for example? Or are you just pulling any rhetorical trick you can think of to try and score points for team Trump.

I hope he at least pays you for the cheerleading.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Burning Bush"You know the one where they found some commonplace Malware on a dusty PC that wasn't even connected to the internet."

Seems, you underestimate the enormous mental power of Russian hackers. They need not internet connection at all.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Canny Putin refused to take Obama's "poisoned pawn" thus complicating the game for Trump, but the president-elect will be surrounded by seasoned Cold-War and anti-Russian consiglieri who will make sure that Putin does not play Trump like a violin. That said, it's going to be fascinating to watch Trump's antics on the international stage. Most Americans may not realize it , but they have actually put Tony Soprano in the Oval Office. I do miss James Gandolfini, though: a much nicer man.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Yes, they use ESP to hack and control the power grid...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

They may have evidence but qwertyjapan is entirely correct to say that it hasn't been offered up. Here is the new tweeter world, when having evidences is less important than doing a tweet about them to take a decision. The fact that Putin just decided to not take any actions speaks volume on how guilty he knows those spies are, and the fact that TRUMP who benefited from the hacking is calling PUTIN's action "smart" is even more speaking.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I wonder if the Dems and never-Trumpers in Congress will read these ...

http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/12/did-russia-tamper-with-the-2016-election-bitter-debate-likely-to-rage-on/

White House fails to make case that Russian hackers tampered with election - Dec 30, 2016

US issued JAR billed itself as an indictment that would prove Russian involvement.

... The US government's much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. ... The 13-page report, which was jointly published Thursday ...

... Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers' "tradecraft and techniques" and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups. ...

And, this article provides a link to another critique of the JAR:

http://www.robertmlee.org/critiques-of-the-dhsfbis-grizzly-steppe-report/

Critiques of the DHS/FBI’s GRIZZLY STEPPE Report - December 30, 2016

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Strangerland: So which are you, CIA, FBI or HLS? Presidential support? You must be one of them to know what information they do or don't have.

Oh c'mon, Stranger! The interweb is full of sites released by both Russia and the US detailing all spy collection information for the public to read through to determine if action was justified. Just this morning I watched the surveilence video and heard audio recordings of the evidence used to expel a spy in the 90s. I even verified his undercover identity with the fingerprints and birth records, all downloadable pdf files. I'm not seeing any of that for this case so we can conclude that there is no evidence.

All jokes aside.... Here's what Putin and Trump will do next. The fact is tracing a hack to an individual is impossible to do. Even if you trace it to his terminal he can say someone else was using it. They could even claim that the US broke into the Russian facilities in the middle of the night and set in motion the hacking and....well, you get the point.

What they do is look at the sum of the evidence and decide if they can make a reliable conclusion. That's intelligence work. Obama didn't know that Bin Laden was in that compound for sure, but they had a collection of evidence that was deemed credible enough to send soldiers in with orders to kill. It's the same with hacking just as it's the same with everything else.

Most people don't know that, and it's a huge opportunity for Putin and Trump if they know what most people don't know.

People will think that 100% proof is required to reach a conclusion and then take action. Their statement ends up like this, with the parts they omit in parenthesis: "There isn't 100% proof (as there rarely is) so we can't be sure and if we can't be sure then we can't respond (even though we've responded with far less direct proof in other situations as is the nature of the business.)"

The bonus comes with the fact that it's long, messy, technical explanation. I lost Trump supporters a long time ago on this post. By the time they reach this sentence they will have cycled through a few zingers in their minds and are just waiting to reach the end so they can post them.

It all comes down to what power Congress has to investigate and to what extent they can control the process despite Trump's objections.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Those 35 should feel fortunate that they only crossed Obama. Those who cross Putin have a tendency to meet with fatal accidents.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What about North Korea blowing up officials with rockets? Ok, forget that. But, Putin said no, and now they're ousted. What changed?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The bonus comes with the fact that it's long, messy, technical explanation.

I'll bite, give us this "messy" and "technical" explanation.

Here's a thorough technical analysis if you have the time and patience to read it.

https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2016/12/russia-malware-ip-hack/

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Putin extended this courtesy. He decided not to retaliate in the same way (which is the norm "in the world of international espionage") and invited kids of US diplomats to the celebrations in the Kremlin. Or you think that fathers of these kids do not spy on Russia or "target" Russia in other way? The difference in attutude marks the difference between a real statesman and, umm, Obama.

I think if Putin really wanted to, he could have easily retaliated in the same way in response to what Obama has done, if you want to call it calculating or methodical is irrelevant, Putin scored big on this one making Obama look like angry antagonist. I'm No fan of Vladimir Putin, but I don't think Trump is wrong FOR NOW in his approach and how he's handling Putin, later who knows, but I have a feeling Trump could be Putin's worst nightmare if he's backed in a corner and would take a more hardline stance when it comes to the Kremlin. I think the very last thing on Trump's mind is to start WWIII with Russia.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

If they were spies, why weren't they expelled earlier?

We, and your side as well, usually have a pretty good idea which diplomats are involved in intelligence work and handling clandestine and propaganda operations. However we don't continually expel each other's intelligence officers. That just wouldn't work as a modus vivendi. Can you imagine if we were declaring non-grata 2-3 diplomats every other month? No, our respective counterintelligence services (our FBI) just monitor each other's guys and girls. If someone really gets caught red-handed so to speak then they may be kicked out. Both sides have done it before.

This is different. In this case it's likely FBI's best information that expelling those 35 all together and giving them only 72 hours to leave is calculated to maximize disruption to their intelligence (and other) operations. Minimizes time for a handover. Should only take Moscow a few weeks to get things running again. Nothing personal against these folks but it comes with the job.

We should further reimpose full Cold War era limitations on Russia's diplomats and expect it in return. Congress should revive the old interagency group that used to be tasked with tracking Soviet intelligence and covert operations.

However we got here, Cold War 2.0 is on. There is no half in, half out anymore.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Superlib

Congress and Senate are controlled by Repubilcan majorities. Despite President objection, congress can pursue the further investigation if there is bipatisian agreement. Some Repubilcan elders suspected there were some hackings they want to investigate more. However Presdident has executive power for reinstating diplomats.

After reinstating, if there is something goes wrong, President will be risking not only his job but also national security. Reinstating is very risky move. One rotten tomato can spoil the whole bucket.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

gcbel - good description of the process. My grandfather worked for AID (now known as USAID - a bit redundant) in various southeast Asian countries, and he was surrounded by spooks posing as AID officers (though he was never one himself - as far as I know). It's a continuation of the Great Game.

Two important points many posters seem ignorant of are that intelligence agencies usually report on probabilities, not facts - if they were facts, they'd be in the NYT. The other is that they have zero influence on policy - that is, how a governmental agency (i.e., the presidency) reacts to these variables.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let me see if I understand the liberal narrative correctly here:

Trump said "Hey Russia if you're listening, hack Hillary's emails"

Which would mean that Trump effectively asked Russia to help him break US law.

Russia then complied, hacking into the emails of the former Secretary of State of the United States, seemingly with ease as they did it at the ideal time.

Trump then got elected, with the majority of Americans voting against him, but because of Russia's help he won.

He then nominates the most pro-Russian candidate possible to be his Secretary of State

And then in an international dispute between the US and Russia, Trump openly sides with Russia and dismisses as irrelevant the intelligence community of the United States. And he calls the leader of Russia "very smart" during the dispute between Russia and the US.

Well if the liberal narrative were correct, it'd be Coup d'Etat time wouldn't it?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Let me see if I understand the liberal narrative correctly here:

Trump said "Hey Russia if you're listening, hack Hillary's emails"

Which would mean that Trump effectively asked Russia to help him break US law.

So I guess it means, liberals think Trump is conspiring a virtual overthrow of the US government b supporting Putin and what Deos Trump get in return? Bragging rights?

Trump then got elected, with the majority of Americans voting against him, but because of Russia's help he won.

Liberals will in some way try to rationalize that point.....somehow...

And then in an international dispute between the US and Russia, Trump openly sides with Russia and dismisses as irrelevant the intelligence community of the United States. And he calls the leader of Russia "very smart" during the dispute between Russia and the US.

Which would be considered treason and whether or not you like Trump that would be the most ludicrous scenario to think about. I don't even think the Democrats believe it. I feel that this the bottom of the Barrel scraping.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Burning Bush"Trump then got elected, with the majority of Americans voting against him, but because of Russia's help he won"

Don Trump is a Real American. The true Manchurian Candidate is Barack Hussein Obama. In particular, he openly supported so-called "vetted rebels" in Syria, various trash originated from Al Qaeda.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Laguna- Heh, I think even today the guys from USAID more often than not are under that cloud of suspicion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Those diplomats should have said "We'll be back," then gone to one of the sanctuary cities until Jan 21.

Super: "Good riddance."

What, expelling diplomats on zero evidence of wrongdoing is a good thing? Where's the evidence?

Donald Trump Will Fix Israel & Russia Relations Barack Obama Ruined:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7W2D-dVKs4

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

gcbel - yeah, USAID and the State Department. I had an Iranian student working on his PhD in composite metals fabricated by explosive welding (!) who desperately wanted to visit the US but was always denied a visa. He came to me with concern over an email he received purportedly from State; a bit more correspondence and some investigation on my part pretty much confirmed my suspicions: the contact was a spook trying to recruit my student as an agent in Iran from the embassy in Tokyo. Very dangerous for him; we politely declined, and he is back in his country now, still alive. It can be a very dangerous game.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama closed a couple of holiday houses for the Russian's diplomats children in upstate New York and Maryland. Does it get any lower than that? But the MSM sure ran with a "Big Story and Breaking News". I'm starting to wonder if Obama is actually assisting Trump in his transition. Wouldn't surprise me, and would give Obama some bonus points for me.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Don't trust people who present unanswered questions as evidence. They create the "why", then they slip in an unsubstianted answer, then keep returning to the question when asked for proof.

John: Why did building #7 at the World Trade Center collapse the way it did? Because George Bush and a few hundred operatives planted explosives in the building without anyone knowing.

Jill: Do you have direct evidence to support that claim?

John: Well then why did it fall like that??!?!?!?

Asking questions is fair and encouraged, but you still need evidence to support your answer. Just asking the question isn't proof that the narrative is false and doesn't excuse you from proving your own answer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh my...

Assange: Russia was not our source ( he ain't lyin' ):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyCOy25GdjQ

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good on Obama, Commie agents and traitor Yanks getting what they deserve! You can bet the FBI and CIA have recorded all the traitors crawling out of the woodwork supporting these sleeper agents for future use

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh my...

WASHINGTON POST FABRICATES RUSSIAN HACKER STORY: Washington Post Now a Fake News Propaganda Machine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVLrnfF6Cho

Maybe Trump can get the diplomats to return after Jan.20.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Serrano: Oh my ...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/01/01/fake-news-and-how-the-washington-post-rewrote-its-story-on-russian-hacking-of-the-power-grid/

'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid - Jan 1, 2017

... The following morning, nearly 11 hours after changing the headline and rewriting the article to indicate that the grid itself was never breached and the “hack” was only an isolated laptop with malware, the Post still had not appended any kind of editorial note to indicate that it had significantly changed the focus of the article. ...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Oh my...

Julian Assange FULL Interview 1/3/17 ( the Russians had nothing to do with Hillary's election defeat ):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg6gu3qY7rA

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

SuperLib: The bonus comes with the fact that it's long, messy, technical explanation. I lost Trump supporters a long time ago on this post.

What are you talking about? Your post is long and messy, but there's nothing technical in it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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