Sen. Jim Risch’s sudden about-face concerning the United States’ policy on Russia is not in keeping with Idahoan deeply rooted patriotic values of security and independence. Regardless whether these hacking attempts have actually influenced an election (yet), Risch’s apparent reckless indifference to the advice of our non-partisan intelligence agencies is deeply troubling.
In April 2016, Risch criticized Obama’s Russia policy, stating about threats to the Ukraine: “Unless someone does something, you can expect the same thing to happen over and over again. That’s what history teaches us. And that’s exactly what happened here — there were essentially no sanctions for what Russia did, and as a result of that, why would they hesitate ... .”
Yet on Jan. 11th, during a hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee, I watched as Risch reversed himself when it was the U.S.’s security at stake. He stated that because Russia is not the “most aggressive hacker in this business,” the hacking “wasn’t even a 10,” and because hacking is “ubiquitous,” Russia’s actions should be dismissed. Even if Risch’s comments are true, if unchecked, the threat won’t be low for long. Risch’s view is wrong-headed and not in keeping with Idaho’s values. Even a “1” is too much.
Tami Springer, Boise