As Donald Trump continues to offer no strong, retaliatory response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Kremlin has decided to step up its spying efforts in the United States.
According to a new report from CNN, “Russian spies are ramping up their intelligence-gathering efforts in the US, according to current and former US intelligence officials who say they have noticed an increase since the election.”
To nobody’s surprise, the intelligence officials cited Trump’s weak response to the 2016 Russian cyberattack as one of the reasons why Moscow has been encouraged to intensify their spying efforts inside the U.S.
More from the report:
“Russians have maintained an aggressive collection posture in the US, and their success in election meddling has not deterred them,” said a former senior intelligence official familiar with Trump administration efforts.
Russians could also be seeking more information on Trump’s administration, which is new and still unpredictable to Moscow, according to Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of operations.
Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.
Not only has the president failed to issue any type of serious response to Russia’s election meddling, but he still has a hard time admitting what the U.S. intelligence community has already concluded – that Russia is responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
Just today in Poland, while the president was embarrassing himself again on the world stage, he said of last year’s election meddling: “I think it could have been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people that interfered.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 6, 2017
With an American president willing to look the other way while another country wages an attack on the U.S., why wouldn’t the Russians be emboldened?
Trump may have campaigned as a strongman who will put America first, and that’s what many of his supporters continue to see him as. But his weak stance toward Russia – the American adversary hat helped put in the White House – is hurting the United States, and it shows that he is interested only in putting himself first.
As Hillary Clinton warned the country during the campaign, Trump would be a Putin “puppet” who would deliver every last item on the Kremlin’s wish list.
Since day one of this presidency, that’s exactly what we’ve seen.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.