Despite his last name, White House spokesman Josh Earnest’s job is not to tell the truth. If he did, he’d be fired and replaced. (Although, this late in the game, there might not be any point.)
His job is to spin everything so that it makes the President and his administration look good, rational, and competent.
ABC News’ White House correspondent Jonathan Karl had a good question for Earnest. Considering how much attention that Russia is getting allegedly for interfering with our presidential election – the sanctions, the expelling of 35 diplomats, the closure of two Russian entities in the U.S., the buildup of Special Operations forces in the Baltic States – why was there no public response when the Chinese hacked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in 2015?
Not only did they hack that department, they stole the identities and personal information – such as fingerprints and social security numbers – of over 20 million government workers and contractors. That was a much bigger deal than what the Russians supposedly did with the DNC and John Podesta. Yet, the Obama administration didn’t do or say anything pertaining to what the Chinese hackers had done. And now, all of a sudden, Russia’s supposed actions are seen as a huge deal.
But Josh Earnest tried to spin it as a case of apples and oranges. Here’s part of their exchange:
JON KARL, ABC: So when the Chinese hacked OPM in 2015, 21+ million current and former government employees and contractors had their personal data stolen by the Chinese. Why did the White House do nothing publicly in reaction to that hack? Which in some ways, was even more widespread than what we saw here from the Russians?
JOSH EARNEST: These are two cyber incidents that are malicious in nature but materially different.
KARL: 20 million people had their personal data taken… fingerprints, social security numbers, background checks. This was a far-reaching act–
EARNEST: I’m not downplaying the significance of it, I’m just saying that it is different than seeking to interfere in the conduct of a U.S. national election. I can’t speak to the steps that have been taken by the United States in response to that Chinese malicious cyber activity–
KARL: But nothing was announced. There was not a single step announced by the White House.
EARNEST: It is true that there was no public announcement about our response, but I can’t speak to what response may have been initiated in private.
KARL: But no diplomats expelled, no compounds shut down, no sanctions imposed, correct?
You don’t do that stuff secretly.
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