Johnson immediately sent an inquiry to the White House press office, including a deadline for an answer, as the office told him to do. After the deadline passed with no response, he ascertained that the office had indeed received his request. Several more attempts were made, also with no response, other than his request had been forwarded to the appropriate “spokespeople”.
This falls into the realm of a Really Big Deal. If there were no problem, one would logically expect that the press office would quickly confirm so, but instead its silence has only accentuated the problem.
Johnson’s Power Line colleague John Hinderaker has also raised the question about why the White House press corps of Professional Journalists™ had been oddly uncurious, other than to speculate that with the upcoming elections, wherein the electoral chickens are expected to come home to roost (to quote Obama’s longtime pastor and mentor) on the ash heap of quite a few Democrat politicians, the mainstream press is circling the proverbial wagons around the Obama administration which has already been buried with an unceasing avalanche of evidence of its incompetence. [That constitutes my entry into the Metaphor Prize of the Week Award.]
But in an effort to forestall the greater story, the administration has released the news that an “outage” has affected “some EOP users”, so says Reuters. Hinderaker appropriately points out that the key word is “some”, which could fall somewhere between the National Security Staff and the Office of the First Lady. Are there a few targets, or many?
A follow-on release allowed that “there were no indications at this time that classified networks had been affected.” Note that “at this time” can fall into the same category of dissembling as “some”.
Then, a second source steps up – the Washington Post – and discloses that the outage was in fact caused by hackers, “thought to be working for the Russian government”. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the story tosses in this tidbit halfway through the article:
US officials were alerted to the breach by an ally, sources said.
So, it’s not bad enough that the White House security system is breached – we also weren’t capable of detecting it on our own. What has historically been the most vaunted electronic intelligence gathering system in the world had to be told by some other country’s intelligence service. I expect that some will be relieved that at least we weren’t tapping someone’s phone.
If we are to learn anything of substance about this story, it will have to wait until well after the election, or even after Obama finally leaves office. But there is enough confirmation that the Russian government (not just Russians, but the government) has successfully tapped into the computer system of the White House. We just don’t know quite yet what that degree of success constitutes.
Update: I notice that now John Hinderaker has also picked up on the "alerted by an ally" angle.