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 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

UNITED STATES SENATE, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, Washington, DC, January 10, 2018

DEAR COLLEAGUES: For years, Vladimir Putin’s government has

engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the

rule of law in Europe and the United States. Mr. Putin’s Kremlin

employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions,

cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups,

and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime, and

corruption. The Kremlin has refined the use of these tools over

time and these attacks have intensified in scale and complexity

across Europe. If the United States fails to work with urgency to

address this complex and growing threat, the regime in Moscow

will become further emboldened. It will continue to develop and refine

its arsenal to use on democracies around the world, including

against U.S. elections in 2018 and 2020.

Following attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, U.S. presidents

have rallied the country and the world to address the challenges

facing the nation. Yet the current President of the United States

has barely acknowledged the threat posed by Mr. Putin’s repeated

attacks on democratic governments and institutions, let alone exercised

the kind of leadership history has shown is necessary to effectively

counter this kind of aggression. Never before in American

history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored

by a U.S. president.

The threat posed by Mr. Putin’s meddling existed before the current

U.S. Administration, and may well extend beyond it. Yet, as

this report will demonstrate, the Russian government’s malign influence

operations can be deterred. Several countries in Europe

took notice of the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S.

election and realized the danger posed to their democracies. They

have taken steps to build resilience against Mr. Putin’s aggression

and interference, and the range of effective measures implemented

by European countries provide valuable lessons for the United

States.

To that end, this report recommends a series of actions that the

United States should take across government, civil society, and the

private sector—and in cooperation with our allies—to push back

against the Kremlin’s aggression and establish a set of long-term

norms that can neutralize such efforts to undermine democracy.

Yet it must be noted that without leadership from the President,

any attempt to marshal such a response will be inherently weakened

at the outset.

(IV)

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In addition, it is important to draw a distinction between Mr.

Putin’s corrupt regime and the people of Russia. Many Russian citizens

strive for a transparent, accountable government that operates

under the democratic rule of law, and we hold hope for better

relations in the future with a Russian government that reflects

these demands. In the meantime, the United States must work

with our allies to build defenses against Mr. Putin’s asymmetric arsenal,

and strengthen international norms and values to deter such

behavior by Russia or any other country.

The events discussed in this report are illustrative, not exhaustive,

and cover a period ending on December 31, 2017. There are

several important geographic areas that remain beyond the scope

of this report, including the Russian government’s role in the Syria

conflict, its complicated relationship with Turkey, or its involvement

in places like Central Asia and Latin America. The Russian

government’s use of corruption and money laundering also merit

additional examination by relevant committees in Congress, as well

as the Executive Branch. Given the ongoing investigations by the

Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, this report does not

delve into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Furthermore,

U.S. election infrastructure, electrical grids, and information

systems are outside the jurisdiction of the Senate Foreign Relations

Committee and therefore beyond the scope of the recommendations

in this report, but certainly warrant further study.

Finally, there must be a bipartisan sense of urgency so the

United States immediately begins taking the steps necessary to fortify

and protect our democracy from Mr. Putin’s malicious meddling.

There is a long bipartisan tradition in Congress in support

of firm policies to counter Russian government aggression and

abuse against its own citizens, our allies, and universal values.

This report seeks to continue that tradition.

Sincerely,

BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Ranking Member.


https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FinalRR.pdf

Originally posted at otkaznik1.dreamwidth.org

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