“Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) today released the third volume in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference, “U.S. Government Response to Russian Activities.” The report examines the Obama Administration’s reaction to initial reports of election interference and the steps officials took or did not take to deter Russia’s activities. Today’s installment is the third of five volumes in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation. The first volume, “Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure” was released in July 2019. The second, “Russia’s Use of Social Media,” was released in September 2019. The two remaining installments will examine the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russian interference and the Committee’s final counterintelligence findings.
After discovering the existence, if not the full scope, of Russia’s election interference efforts in late-2016, the Obama Administration struggled to determine the appropriate response. Frozen by ‘paralysis of analysis,’ hamstrung by constraints both real and perceived, Obama officials debated courses of action without truly taking one. Many of their concerns were understandable, including the fear that warning the public of the election threat would only alarm the American people and accomplish Russia’s goal of undermining faith in our democratic institutions. In navigating those valid concerns, however, Obama officials made decisions that limited their options, including preventing internal information-sharing and siloing cyber and geopolitical threats…”