Report: Russia Penetrated FBI Communications Throughout the Obama Years by John Hayward for Breitbart
A report published by Yahoo News on Monday described a “brazen Russian counterintelligence operation that stretched from the Bay Area to the heart of the nation’s capital” during the presidency of Barack Obama. The operation penetrated FBI communications to a “stunning” degree, according to officials quoted in the story, but was misunderstood and downplayed by the intelligence community and the Obama administration, which was ostentatiously attempting to “reset” relations with Russia when the operation began.
Yahoo News tied their years-long saga of counterintelligence cat-and-mouse to several major news events, including the 2016 mass expulsion of Russian diplomats – ostensibly ordered in retaliation for Russian “meddling” in U.S. elections, but actually because those Russian diplomatic facilities were hives of electronic surveillance activity – and the more recent story about the CIA extracting a Russian asset in 2017. According to the report, a significant number of Russian assets stopped talking to U.S. intelligence agencies because they were afraid their identities would be discovered.
To make a very long story short, the Russians took advantage of the Obama administration’s much-ballyhooed “reset” in relations to set up an aggressive network of electronic monitoring devices in the United States, the effort gaining further momentum after Russian President Vladimir Putin became convinced the U.S. was manipulating protests in Russia to delegitimize elections with allegations of vote fraud.
The Russians threw themselves into the job of cracking FBI communications and hit the jackpot sometime in 2011. According to Yahoo News:
That effort compromised the encrypted radio systems used by the FBI’s mobile surveillance teams, which track the movements of Russian spies on American soil, according to more than half a dozen former senior intelligence and national security officials. Around the same time, Russian spies also compromised the FBI teams’ backup communications systems — cellphones outfitted with “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie capabilities. “This was something we took extremely seriously,” said a former senior counterintelligence official.