Two Years Ago — Russia Hacking : The Facts about Obama’s Warning Message to Putin

“International law, including the law for armed conflict, applies to actions in cyberspace. We will hold Russia to those standards.”

US Message to Moscow over the Red Phone (October 31 2016)

“Moscow’s hacking and dumping of Democratic emails to WikiLeaks is not an initiation of armed conflict. It’s not a violation of the U.N. Charter’s prohibition on the use of force. It’s not a situation that would allow the U.S. to respond in self-defense militarily.”

Michael Schmitt — Chairman of the U.S. Naval War College’s International Law Department


Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers

January 2 2017 — On October 31 2016, US president Obama sent the Russians a direct message through the cyber channel. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: One Year Ago — International Law and Cyber Warfare. From the Tallinn Manual to a Digital Geneva Convention?

RELATED POST: NSA Hacked French President’s House: Video Back Online

RELATED POST: CIA Playing the “Russia Card”. Again…

RELATED POST: DNC & Podesta Emails Were Leaked by US ‘Insiders’, as well as Hacked by Russia!

RELATED POST: Former MI6 Chief: ‘ Electronic voting presents serious hacking risk.’

UPDATE (January 2 2019) — Considering the extraordinary amount of coverage dedicated to ‘Russiagate’, I find it amazing that this story has received almost no coverage at all!

I believe that this post is still worth reading despite being written two years ago! Please, keep in mind that this is the only use of the so-called ‘Red Phone’ by the Obama administration. Not exactly business as usual…

Two years ago, Sir John Sawers — former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service [MI6] — recommended  traditional ‘pencil and paper’ approaches to voting because they are “actually much more secure”.

“The more things that go online, the more susceptible you are to cyber-attacks,” Sawers said on Tuesday (3 January 2017) on the BBC’s The New World: Axis of Power.

Two years later, nothing has been done. Neither in the US, nor in Europe.


President Obama’s warning message was not about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of its chairman John Podesta’s emails.

The “Red Phone”

The so-called “Red Phone” system is used to communicate in moments of crisis. It was never a literal phone, instead beginning as teletype more than 50 years ago, then converting to first fax and then email to link the U.S. and Russia through their Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers.

The Message

On October 31 2016, the Obama administration used the Red Phone — for the very first time –to send a message to Moscow.

According to a senior U.S. official, part of the message reads:

“International law, including the law for armed conflict, applies to actions in cyberspace. We will hold Russia to those standards.”

Did the message work?

“Look at the results,” said an Obama administration official.

“There was nothing done on Election Day, so it must have worked.”

An attempt by Russia to manipulate the voting results?

Currently, US media are reporting  the following story:

“Russia Intelligence Services (RIS) have hacked the DNC and leaked the information/emails to WikiLeaks in order to influence the US election in favour of Trump.”

This story, actually better described as a mix of non-stories and fake news, does not make any sense whatsoever. The joint FBI-DHS report contains no real proof.

(Actually, it reveals that the malware used is an old code, available from an Ukrainian website! Is the Russian economy so devastated that this is the best the FSB and the GRU can afford?)

Former CIA director James Woolsey points out how this whole affair must be understood.

Firstly, the word ‘hack’ must be unpacked. Yes, there is Russian disinformation going on and yes the RIS eavesdrop and hack. After all, it is their job. Any country that can do it, does it. And none does it better and on a larger scale than the US.

Secondly, a large number of US votes are made on ‘touch screen’ devices without any paper backup. If these machines were hacked (perhaps with the help of an insider), it would be a nightmare.

Does the US Intelligence Community have evidence that someone attempted to hack these voting machines?

Considering the on-going hysteria about a non-story, I doubt that such evidence would be revealed to the public.

Of course, if these machines disappear from the next election, or receive paper backup, that will be a clue.


We know that the NSA has been hacking for years Merkel’s conversations and tapped Ronald Pofalla, her former chief of staff as well as the staff of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and his predecessor Helmut Kohl.

Just in Germany, the NSA targeted 125 phone numbers of top German officials for long-term surveillance.

We can only conclude that the US does not consider such a ‘hacking’ activity as an “Act of War”.

Thus, I must come to the conclusion that if Obama ‘called’ Putin on the ‘Red Phone’ to warn him that a cyber attack would be considered an ‘Act of War’, something far more sinister  must have been feared.

Whatever it is, the US administration must have reached the conclusion that it would be a threat to the National Security of the United States.

An attempt — perceived or real — by Russia to hack the US voting machines would certainly fit the bill.


Obama used a cybersecurity link for the first time to warn Russia

What Obama Said to Putin on the Red Phone About the Election Hack — NBC News


Russia Hacking : The Facts about Obama’s Warning Message to Putin

Two Years Ago — Russia Hacking : The Facts about Obama’s Warning Message to Putin

This entry was posted in CIA, CIA Director, Disinformation, DNC & Podesta Leaks, FBI, Nuclear, Nuke, Obama, Putin, Russia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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