As if the CIA linking the Russian government to a recent American embassy bombing in Georgia last week wasn’t evidence enough the “reset” never got off the ground, Eli Lake reports Russian intelligence agencies have began stepping up their intimidation campaign against U.S. diplomats:
U.S. diplomats and officials have found their homes broken into and vandalized, or altered in ways as trivial as bathroom use; faced anonymous or veiled threats; and in some cases found themselves set up in compromising photos or videos that are later leaked to the local press and presented as a sex scandal. …
They have become worse in just the past year, some U.S. officials said. Also, their targets are broadening to include human rights workers and nongovernmental organizations as well as embassy staff.
One U.S. official from the Moscow-based National Democratic Institute allegedly had a photo of him doctored to make it look like he was laying down next to an underage girl. The photo appeared in the Russian media, along with accusations from a Russian woman that the official had raped her 9-year-old daughter.
And yet, according to intelligence officials, the Obama administration has not seemed to take these incidents seriously.
“We are concerned about the acts of intimidation as well as their record on previous agreements and other activities,” former Sen. Kit Bond, who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee until 2010, told the Times. “It’s a real concern, I’ve raised it. It’s not the intelligence committee that fails to understand the problem. It’s the Obama administration.”
It’s as if the Obama administration is intentionally trying to play ignorant in order to maintain the façade the reset has been successful, no matter how bad the situation actually is. Just last week, Obama praised President Medvedev and the “enormous progress” of the reset strategy, in an interview with Russia’s official state news agency:
“Well, first of all, I think it’s important for us to look back over the last two years and see the enormous progress we’ve made. I started talking about reset when I was still a candidate for president, and immediately reached out to President Medvedev as soon as I was elected. And we have been, I think, extraordinarily successful partners in moving towards reset,” Obama said.
It’s interesting Obama continues to focus on his relationship with Medvedev, as opposed to with the actual leader in Russia. I’m sure Obama gets along great with the Russian president, but clearly it’s not going to have any impact as long as Prime Minister Putin – a former FSB official – is really running the show.