As part of the sanctions package Obama announced against Russia yesterday was this blast from the Cold War:
Obama put sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies that he said “provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.”
He said the State Department declared as “persona non grata” 35 Russian intelligence operatives and is closing two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that were used by Russian personnel for “intelligence-related purposes.” The State Department originally said the 35 were diplomats.
The 45-acre complex in Maryland includes a Georgian-style brick mansion, swimming pool, tennis courts and cottages for embassy staff.
A senior U.S. official told Reuters the expulsions would come from the Russian embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco. The Russian embassy declined to comment.
To paraphrase Obama’s zinger from the 2012 debate when Mitt Romney pointed out to a clueless and feckless incumbent that Russia was our enemy, “the 1970s called and they want their foreign policy back.”
The true motive behind this was revealed by an Obama White House operative to alleged journalist and proven Democrat stenographer, John Harwood:
Top Obama aide says Trump could reverse sanctions if he's willing to invite "large tranche of Russian intelligence agents" back into the US
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) December 29, 2016
This, of course, begs the obvious question of why Obama allowed these latter day Boris Badenovs to operate freely in the United States up until yesterday and why Trump letting them back in is any different from how Obama operated?
The sanctions are not to punish Russia because Russia has more spies where these come from and we expelled the ones we knew about. So this has little more than an annoyance factor in the scheme of Russian intelligence operations. Plus we’ve known for a very long time who was behind the DNC hack and the “spearphishing” attack on John Podesta. In fact, guys like Tom Cotton have been after the administration for a while to take action on Russian actions.
Obama imposed these sanctions for exactly one reason. He has taken an action unprecedented in American history. He has deliberately set out to delegitimize Donald Trump and to limit the Trump administration’s ability to shape foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East without looking like Trump is a tool of Putin. This has nothing to do with the hack on the DNC or the stellar advice Clinton’s hotshot email crew gave John Podesta and it has everything to do with the CIA “leak” and Obama’s pushing of that story.
These sanctions are just like everything else Obama has done. They are puny, they are ineffectual, they are self-serving, and they are designed to demonize domestic opponents. If nothing else, the man is consistent.