Sorry, not interested

Russian hacking of our elections? What’s that? What could that possibly mean?

As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.

As a result, not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts.

In other words Trump has sent them a signal: Russia, if you’re listening, hack our elections in my favor, spasibo.

James K. Glassman, the under secretary for public diplomacy during the George W. Bush administration, said the center’s uncertain funding and temporary leadership reflected the administration’s lack of interest in countering either jihadist or Russian propaganda.

“They’ve got the vehicle to do this work in the center,” Mr. Glassman said. “What they don’t have is a secretary of state or a president who’s interested in doing this work.”

Mr. Tillerson is focusing his energies instead on drastically shrinking the department, leaving a significant part of its budget unused and hundreds of important decisions unmade.

And Russian trolling unhindered.

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