Late Sunday night, a new report emerged in the New York Times after correspondents there began asking about something very curious inside the State Department. It turns out that plenty of money has been requisitioned for the office of United States diplomacy to investigate and battle any Russian meddling in our elections, and to prevent it from happening again in the future — granted to them by Congress before Donald Trump was even inaugurated.
In fact, upon bipartisan agreement on the fact that foreign meddling and propaganda attacks were actually a thing that was happening in America, and with less than a month left in office, Obama’s State Department was granted $60 million “to counter anti-democratic propaganda by Russia and China” by coordinating efforts between government institutions like the DHS and the DoD.
Twelve days after Trump was inaugurated, there was a new Secretary of State, and Rex Tillerson, with his deep Moscow oil ties, seemed less than eager to continue the mission that had been funded by the outgoing administration. He was so reluctant, in fact, that he sat on the money for another 7 months before finally asking the Pentagon to transfer the money into the State Department account. Rex does not believe, you see, that government is able to spend money responsibly, even in departments he’s in charge of.
Perhaps the transfer request was a sign that Tillerson had gotten over his “meddlers gonna meddle” attitude that has so often been on display during his tenure as The Guy Whose Job It Is To Stop That Kind Of Thing. But even that’s not a great assumption, since Rex was on Fox as recently as last month saying the same crap:
If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that. And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.”
Oh. Well, I guess if there’s nothing we can do, there’s nothing we can do. How about sending that money back now?
What’s that? You haven’t spent a dime of this money set aside to push back on foreign interference, and you want another $60 million? I mean, okay. I guess if that’s what we need to do, then let’s do it.
So next step would be, what, like having some people learn Russian, or maybe hiring ex-spies or something. I mean, that’s what Obama’s overseer of the Global Engagement Center said could probably be a good thing:
There are now thousands of former Russian journalists who have been exiled or fired who are doing counter-Russian stuff in exile who we could help.”
Yeah, no. We haven’t hired any of those guys. We haven’t so much as bought a copy of Rosetta Stone Russian for some senior deputy undersecretary’s niece or something.
That’s what Trump’s State Department has done with the now $120 million it has been given by Congress to fight Russian meddling in our elections, a pretty important one of which is coming up in about 8 months.
I wonder why that is?
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