Did Russia Elect Trump?

Foreign espionage is routine. Careless use of unsecure email shouldn't be.

BeeBright / Shutterstock.com

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the CIA has concluded that Russia acted to aid Donald Trump in winning the election. The story follows accusations that the Russian government was behind the hack of the private servers used by the Democratic National Committee, as well as the Gmail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. The information obtained was provided to WikiLeaks and other sources like the Romanian Guccifer 2.0 in order to be made public and discredit the Clinton campaign—and potentially influence the outcome of the election. The New York Times is reporting that the Russians also hacked the Republican National Committee server but did not release any of the information obtained. The GOP claims that its system was not breached.

The allegations about Moscow’s involvement in the election derive from a still-secret report prepared by the CIA that represents the intelligence community’s consensus on the issue, though the use of the word “consensus” implies that there was dissent over the conclusions, and there is even a suggestion that not all of the community signed off on the final draft. For what it’s worth, the report does not address whether the hacking influenced the result of the election, and both the Russian government and WikiLeaks have denied that they were acting in collusion or were part of any organized effort to promote the Trump campaign.

The White House has responded to the analysis by calling for an investigation of hacking surrounding the campaign and election. Donald Trump has issued a statement dismissing the CIA claim: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction … it is now time to move on.”

The Trump response is frivolous because the vulnerability of the U.S. election process to outside interference is a serious issue involving both private and public information-sharing systems. It is also important to note how critics of Russia in Congress, including Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are already exploiting the allegations to block any possible initiatives by Trump to improve ties with Moscow, which might have serious consequences down the road.

To determine what precisely is being alleged, it is necessary to rely on media accounts, as neither the CIA nor the White House has made public the classified report. It is, first of all, most important to consider the evidence for the hack and dissemination of the information. The White House is claiming the intelligence community has “high confidence” that the hack of servers and the dissemination of the material related to the election was directed from the top levels of the Russian government.

The wording is significant, as it implies that officials have established a direct chain of custody for the materials stolen, including named individuals in the Russian government and conduits used outside it. To put it another way, the U.S. government and its presumed allies at Britain’s GCHQ are claiming that they have obtained information on the series of “cutouts” used to move the information from the hackers to the outlets employed to disseminate the stories. That is why they are claiming “high confidence,” which implies having hard evidence.

That is a serious claim, but it is currently impossible to know whether it is true or not. Some anonymous government officials are reportedly conceding that the direct link from the Russian government to the actual hackers and then on to the disseminators of the information is lacking. If the intelligence community is nevertheless claiming that they know enough to conclude that it was directed from the top levels of the Russian government, then they should be able to produce documentary or other evidence of officials’ ordering the operation to take place.

If the CIA is to maintain its credibility, it should do just that, even if the report is in a sanitized or heavily redacted version to protect sources. Do they have that kind of information? It is clear that they do not, in spite of their assertion of “high confidence.” And there is a suggestion by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a persistent critic of Russian spying who is on the House Intelligence Committee, that the information they do have consists of innuendo and is largely circumstantial.

So what do they actually have? They likely have bits and pieces of the transmission belt the information moved along, and are presuming without necessarily knowing that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s agreement would have been necessary to initiate such an audacious operation. Putting all of that together, they are positing that approval from the Kremlin leadership was part of the process.

Press accounts indicate that there were two hacker groups tied to Russian intelligence that obtained the information in the first place, and that the material was then provided to others for release, WikiLeaks being the most prominent of the outlets used.

Some in the media are claiming that the Russian hack and dissemination of information had two objectives: first, to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton; and second, to “undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system,” as the Washington Post describes it. I would argue that the “undermine confidence” part is implausible and that no intelligence organization would see that kind of objective as worth pursuing except under very rare circumstances. The Clinton campaign is, however, another story. Hillary Clinton castigated Russia throughout her campaign and made it clear that she would be confrontational in Syria and Eastern Europe. Trump endorsed détente, by contrast, so Moscow’s choice of candidate would have been obvious, and the Kremlin might well have decided to take steps to bolster the Trump campaign in support of Russia’s own self-interest.

Using intelligence resources to advance one’s national interest is what all governments do. The objective is to maintain secrecy, but no one should be too surprised when such activity is detected. Attempts to influence foreign opinion in a targeted country or within a targeted group is referred to in the trade as covert action. All major state players engage in covert action to a greater or lesser extent. The CIA certainly uses its media assets worldwide to place stories supportive of politicians and parties favored by the administration in power in Washington. I would have to assume that President Barack Obama has, for example, approved CIA-generated favorable press coverage of endangered politicians like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose policies he strongly supports.

If a covert action involves the media, it will sometimes consist of totally invented stories that usually are quickly exposed for what they are, or accounts that are partly or largely true but also contain spin or some untruths to undermine or influence a prevailing narrative. If the stories are crafted subtly enough, they will be accepted as true by most of the public. Stories placed in that fashion by an intelligence agency, frequently acting through surrogates, can, upon exposure, be considered part of the “fake news” that has so traumatized the media of late.

Far better than fake news from the intelligence-agency point of view is real news, which is why exposure of the Clinton-Podesta-DNC emails was so effective. They were undeniably true, and they bring to mind another Russian intelligence operation in 2014, where the hacked phone of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was exploited to reveal that Nuland thought little of America’s European allies. The lesson that should be taken home from those errors in judgment is that we create our own vulnerabilities that others will exploit. If the DNC wanted to load the dice to make Bernie Sanders go away, it would have been best not to say so in an email. If John Podesta did not trust Hillary Clinton’s impulsive decisionmaking, he should not have written that opinion down and sent it off electronically. If Nuland wanted to commit an act of fornication on Europeans, she should not have discussed it on an unsecured cell phone.

So nearly every country employs espionage when dealing with others and works on promoting its own interests through the use of its intelligence and other national resources. That should surprise no one. And it is impossible to know if the WikiLeaks publication of hacked emails changed the outcome of the recent election, though it is clear that it did not help Hillary. The lesson is not that the Russians spied on the United States and covertly assisted a candidate they favored. That should be a given, well understood by people in the White House and elsewhere in the administration. That information is no longer private in an age where electronic intrusion or hacking can be run out of someone’s garage should also be a given. But when aspirants to high office are careless in what they say, when they say it, and how they communicate to associates, there will be consequences.

Far better to mend our own fences than try to punish the Russians for doing what comes naturally. That would only lead to a tit-for-tat worsening of an already bad relationship.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

Hide 72 comments

72 Responses to Did Russia Elect Trump?

Newer Comments →
  1. probate courtier says:

    If the Russians are really serious about meddling in American politics they should form a organization here called the America Russia Political Action Council (ARPAC) and do what Israel has been doing through AIPAC and allied organizations for the last 40 years.

  2. Charles Cosimano says:

    If it did, it is the third time Russia has come to the aid of our Republic. The first time was during the War of Independence, when Catherine the Great issued a declaration of armed neutrality which mean her warships would escort her merchant vessels through the British blockade, thus insuring continued trade between the American states and Russia.

    The second time was in 1861, when Russia made an agreement with the Union to come into the Civil War on the side of the Union if there was any British or French attempts at intervention, thus blowing British diplomatic attempts to create a united European policy out of the water and in the process helping to make Gladstone look an even bigger fool than God made him.

    And now again, to help prevent the monster Hillary Clinton from becoming President. If it is true, we owe the Russians a great debt.

  3. Fran Macadam says:

    Given former CIA Director Morrell’s extreme Hillary partisanship, and his shopping of this story long before these anonymous and unattributed “fake news” accusations surfaced without corroboration, this appears to be a Deep State coup attempt.

    A lot of people want change in this country, but the well-connected powerful who are challenged aren’t going to surrender without an ugly power struggle.

    This particular propaganda seems to wrap up all the oligarchy’s bete noires into one giant vast international right wing conspiracy, as per Hillary’s long established paranoia, but metastasized into involving Putin, Assange, Snowden, the alt-right, nationalists in every western country, Trump, millions of irredeemable deplorable downsized racist whites, all media outside the Washington Post and New York Times, particularly critics of bankers, wars and the surveillance state and whatever juvenile SJW villains can be fantasized as interfering with the elites’ sense of entitlement.

  4. EliteCommInc. says:

    I am concerned that the CIA would make this matter public. I have my suspicions about the end game here. Too many insiders involved in the CIA have been very vocal downright extreme as to the threat the election of Mr Trump would be for the country. In my view it would be to the organization to keep the matter in-house and among related responsible parties in order to track the culprits.

    This type of information release coming from a source other than the director or said appointed official is disconcerting. I want our government accountable to public scrutiny but in the last twenty five years we have agencies acting almost independently. At least that is how it it appears. And since this election process nearly two years in the making it “feels’ like it has just gotten worse.

    I am sure that what I sense has more to do with the current executives ‘laissez faire’ style of governing. Though by the executive orders, it wouldn’t appear the case. The DIA, the CIA, the Dept of Education and the FBI to have their own agenda as independent organizations willing to voice their concerns at will as opposed to through channels. And that the CIA and the FBI seem at odds over the same data sets or issues is reminiscent of the cross purposes of information control concerning 9/11.

    And while Mr. Trump may have missed the branch he hit the tree. This is the kind of loose information that was presented for the case for war with Iraq. Where the source is the key as opposed to the data.

    I can understand why the author is hesitant to simply say,

    “Sounds and looks like ‘bullocks'”

    Seems if there was a case to be made the place to make it would be to the WH the FBI and other agencies tasked with security of cyber networks. But neither the Democratic party the Republican party are wings of the government. The security of their networks should be utmost concern in electronic communication.

    a step back Sec Clinton dd not loose the election because of fake news fake intelligence the Russians or even Mr. Trump. She lost because she was out of touch with where most of the country thinks the we should be headed. Unlike Gov. Romney whose comments were inadvertent slights, Sec Clinton openly slighted the people she needed to win the election. She was tackless in her views of working citizens. She focused her efforts on the the Northeast and western US and of those the bubble world of the elite. Members of the armed forces didn’t need to hear from the Russians they fully grasped what happened in Benghazi and the manner in which the Sec blamed her staff the press a video tape . . . Most of the country didn’t hear fake news, the press spent most the efforts making up , exaggerating, manipulating events and content about Mr. Trump.

    I certainly want other states from interfering in our processes but they will. And I certainly want the organizations tasked with protecting us to do their job. And I am very concerned that the CIA or some number in its ranks are using an open forum to on this matter of cyber security.

    I doubt there is any evidence that Mr Trump colluded with the Russians to win an election. Barring such an act of treason, would that the CIA and others accept that in January the man they least thought likely to win did and they should get ready to serve him to the nations interests.

  5. John S says:

    “The lesson is that…when aspirants to high office are careless in what they say, when they say it, and how they communicate to associates, there will be consequences.”

    How about when aspirants to high office and their appointees cover up hostilities coming from foreign governments? Shouldn’t that be the lesson?

    “Far better to mend our own fences than try to punish the Russians for doing what comes naturally.”

    I am unaware of any other country doing what Russia is doing. I am also unaware that we are doing same to the Russians.

  6. PAXNOW says:

    And the U.S. doe not do regime change? BTW – Iran’s purchase of $16 billion in jets will help pay for the new $38 billion in aid to Israel.

  7. Kurt Gayle says:

    Once again Philip Giraldi cuts through the crap and goes to the heart of the matter:

    “If a covert action involves the media, it will sometimes consist of totally invented stories…or accounts that are partly or largely true but also contain spin or some untruths…Far better than fake news from the intelligence-agency point of view is real news, which is why exposure of the Clinton-Podesta-DNC emails was so effective. They were undeniably true, and they bring to mind another Russian intelligence operation in 2014, where the hacked phone of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was exploited to reveal that Nuland thought little of America’s European allies. The lesson that should be taken home from those errors in judgment is that we create our own vulnerabilities that others will exploit. If the DNC wanted to load the dice to make Bernie Sanders go away, it would have been best not to say so in an email. If John Podesta did not trust Hillary Clinton’s impulsive decision making, he should not have written that opinion down and sent it off electronically. If Nuland wanted to commit an act of fornication on Europeans, she should not have discussed it on an unsecured cell phone.”

  8. collin says:

    This is terrible argument and allows the rules of election norms to be changed. Hacking is a crime and should be punished. Otherwise, the federal government is telling hackers it is OK and now sensitive e-mails can can read by everybody. Or better yet, Democrats should understand that every e-mail written could be put on Donald Trump tweet as enemy of the nation.

    According to your logic for 2020, Democrats in California should work with Chinese hackers against Republicans.

  9. connecticut farmer says:

    Apropos of election interference, check out Time Magazine’s cover story of July 15, 1996. And wasn’t it the CIA who put Shah Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne in Iran in 1953?

    The Clinton acolytes should stop whining about mystery Russian involvement in the election. Anyone else caught pulling a stunt like she pulled with the emails would’ve lost their job, pension and possibly their freedom.

  10. SteveM says:

    About Russia as a stealth agent for Trump and the Russia Today (RT) television network as a supposed media vehicle for Trump propaganda. Elites like Ambassador McFaul condemn RT while obviously never having actually viewed their programming.

    RT has a cluster of American produced programs. The programs On Contact, Redacted Tonight, Watching the Hawks and The Big Picture have a baseline political slant that is far American Left. RT’s entire PM schedule has been and still is a contiguous Trump beat-down. They were unequivocally and vociferously anti-Trump during the entirety of his campaign. And probably 80% of the positions that those programs take run counter to Russian policies and sensibilities. Moreover, the Ed Schultz program repeatedly ran stories that were very critical of Trump. And anti-Trump Redacted Tonight is vulgar, sophomoric crap. Frankly, why RT funds those programs is beyond me.

    If the Kremlin wanted to assist Trump via RT, why did so much of its programming do beat-downs on Trump night after night? If the Russians were using RT as a vehicle to advance the Trump candidacy, they did a pretty lousy job of it. It’s far easier to discern that the American MSM were in the tank for Hillary Clinton. That lack of pro-Trump propaganda consistency by Russian media also makes me very leery of the U.S. government (Deep State) claims about Russian hacking to support Trump. I.e., the Russians aren’t stupid…

  11. Slugger says:

    I don’t understand. Sure, we need to be cautious about missteps committed by our politicians, and I’m willing to believe that there have been far too many. However, other nations’ intelligence services are clearly and by definition acting in the interests of their nation. I don’t believe that the world is full of enemies, but the self-interest of other nations will inevitably be incongruent with ours. We should keep an eye on them.

  12. Mr. Askance says:

    An American alphabet “intelligence” agency wants us to believe the Russian government hacked this stuff . . . and another one (FBI) says there is no evidence someone hacked Hillary’s private unsecured email server. Riiiiiight.

    And isn’t it more than a tad hypocritical for US government “intelligence” officials and politicos to hyperventilate over possible Russian manipulation when the US government’s “intelligince” agencies engage in murder, foment political coups, prop up tyrants, and manipulate political outcomes in other countries . . . to say nothing of hack computers and other electronic devices?

  13. Conserving What? says:

    We need to distinguish between Russian disinformation (not alleged so far)and possible Russian involvement in disclosing the truth. The email disclosures were not of emails written by Russia, but of emails written by Clinton and within the Clinton campaign. It is ironic, indeed funny, that after illegally jeopardizing national security by using a private server for government activities–and claiming that it didn’t matter–Clinton’s vulnerabilities were so easily hacked.

  14. Kurt Gayle says:

    This is pure speculation on my part, but the timing (Friday, Dec 9) of The Washington Post and New York Times stories — “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” and “Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says,” respectively – seems aimed at dissuading Donald Trump (who favors detente with Russia) from choosing Rex Tillerson (who favors detente with Russia) as Secretary of State.

  15. enjolra says:

    Emails can be hacked. Hand written letters can be intercepted. Conversations (whether face to face or over the phone) can be recorded. How would you have had the Clinton campaign coordinate between itself and the myriad organizations it worked with, ESP?

  16. Ignas Nikolajev says:

    As Russian I find those discussions extremely funny.

    Well ultimately it will come to this phrase:

    “USA is a great power and not some 3-rd world banana country, where Russia can freely appoint a candidate that they want.
    But please correct me if I’m wrong” – V.Putin.

  17. AJ says:

    And it is impossible to know if the WikiLeaks publication of hacked emails changed the outcome of the recent election, though it is clear that it did not help Hillary.

    So many factors went into Hillary’s defeat, it is difficult to tease them out. When she urged voters to support her as the first woman nominee of a major party, many women were in fact turned off. Could that have had an effect on the final count? Who knows? But you can’t blame that on Russian hackers.

  18. SteveM says:

    Re: John S, “I am unaware of any other country doing what Russia is doing. I am also unaware that we are doing same to the Russians.”

    FYI:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/that-worked-out-well/

    U.S. clandestine operations and NGO’s (CIA fronts) have been actively trying to influence/subvert Russian politics since the Soviet Union collapsed.

    Washington explicitly ran the disastrous “regime change” operation that has wrecked Ukraine. (Nitwit Nuland’s Vulgarian Folly)

    And the number of covert U.S. operations to destabilize and overthrow various foreign governments is too numerous to itemize here. It can be noted that those entanglements led to hundreds of thousands dead, shattered infrastructures and economies and trillions of American taxpayer dollars wasted.

  19. EliteCommInc. says:

    “And wasn’t it the CIA who put Shah Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne in Iran in 1953?”

    No.

  20. SDS says:

    “I am unaware of any other country doing what Russia is doing. I am also unaware that we are doing same to the Russians.”

    I would suggest you study recent American history; like 1900-present….

  21. Priorities says:

    Russia has a lot of catching up to do if it really wants to tip American elections its own way. And at least so far the Russians only seem to be trying to influence elections; i.e. they’re not having Russian American candidates run for office in order to do Russia’s bidding inside our government, or outright buying American politicians and influence for cash money.

    The first thing Eric Cantor did after he became House Whip was meet privately with Binyamin Netanyahu in a Washington hotel. Some of the politicians who lambast Trump for saying nice things about Putin themselves openly and competitively brag about passionate devotion to Binyamin Netanyahu. They have invited him to address more joint sessions of Congress than any other world leader, including Winston Churchill (who at least fought shoulder to shoulder with us, like a real ally). Not a critical word in the mainstream media, and yet the FBI tells us that year-in and year-out, Israel spies on us at the same level as Russia and China.

    Until our national security establishment shuts down Israel’s ongoing spying and interference in our electoral and policy-making processes, Americans will snicker at this sudden, hypocritical elite “concern” over whatever Russia did (or didn’t) do in the run-up to the last election. After all, the Russians are still at the stage of hacking our systems from the outside. Israel has already moved on. It’s hacking us from the inside.

  22. Will Harrington says:

    Collin

    Hacking is an activity. Whether it is a crime or not depends on who’s bull is being gored. After all, it was American hackers who infiltrated Iranian computers and programmed their centrifuges to destroy themselves. Should we prosecute them? Russians hacking the DNC and the RNC doesn’t even rise to the level of cyberwar. They are political parties, not the state. If they can’t secure their own information, so what? Maybe we need some new parties with a better sense of reality.
    One thing we can say. If it is true, the Russians are far better at winning hearts and minds than Obama. His clumsy attempt to influence a foreign vote probably helped the Brexit cause.

  23. The Dean says:

    John McCain and Chuck Schumer were on CBS this morning and they want to investigate whether Russia affected the outcome of the election.

    Direction from two men; John McCain a man that has been living off of his hero status for a long, long time, and Chuck Schumer a liberal democrat.

    This is the man who picked Sarah Palin as his Vice President and calls the leader of nuclear Russia a thug. We are all supposed to bow are heads and defer to him because of his trauma in Vietnam every time he speaks. Your hero status is wearing very thin her Senator McCain.

    So my big question: If the intelligence agencies have conclusive evidence of Russian interference and we need a congressional investigation, then should we not have a congressional investigation on the invasion of Iraq? Where are the WMD’s? How do we explain killing thousands of civilians on conclusive intelligence from our sources?
    This political hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

  24. Uh, Okay, If You Say So ... says:

    When it comes to wacky conspiracy theories, the alt-right ain’t got nuthin’ on the dead-ender Clintonites: “He only won because the RUSSIANS conspired with the FBI to hack the NSA and hypnotize Anthony Weiner into planting those emails on poor Huma’s computer! To thwart this monstrous plot and restore the integrity of the democratic process, it is imperative that the Electoral College betray the voters!”

  25. Dennis says:

    Must reading from Antiwar.com: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2016/12/11/stop-cia-coup/

    Rather ironic that the media wants to believe the CIA!

  26. Kurt Gayle says:

    Philip Giraldi, Paul Gottfried, and Scott McConnell all gave strong support for Donald Trump’s approach to Russia in their remarks for the Nov 4th TAC Presidential Symposium:

    Philip Giraldi: “[Donald Trump] would respect Russia’s Vladimir Putin and deal with him fairly in an effort to avoid conflict. As Russia is the only country in the world that could plausibly destroy the United States, that is the correct policy.”

    Paul Gottfried: “[Trump] may also mean what he says when he promises to try to cultivate better relations with the Russian government.”

    Scott McConnell: “[Among] the core elements of Trump’s campaign…rejection of the exceedingly dangerous Beltway groupthink moving us toward confrontation with Russia—[is] as important as ever and ought to be primary concerns of the GOP going forward.”

    Indeed, among millions of Trump supporters nation-wide on Nov 8th there was widespread support for Trump’s pledge to improve US-Russia relations and to lessen the risk of war.

    Few of us doubted that if Trump were elected President the Washington Establishment would fight ferociously to block Trump efforts to improve US-Russia relations. But how many of us imagined that this fight would begin even before Trump took office – that the fight would begin over Trump’s would-be nomination of Alex Tillerson to US Secretary of State?

    Leading the anti-Tillerson drive are the usual anti-Trump, Establishment Media suspects (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, and ClintonNetworkNews) and the most hawkish of the “revive-the-Cold-War” senators (e.g., McCain, Graham, Rubio, Schumer, and Schumer).

    For those of us who understand how important better US-Russia relations are to the US national interest, this is a fight that we must win!

  27. KevinS says:

    “the monster Hillary Clinton”

    UGH! Seriously? Get a sense of perspective.

  28. KevinS says:

    Connecticut Farmer writes, “The Clinton acolytes should stop whining about mystery Russian involvement in the election. Anyone else caught pulling a stunt like she pulled with the emails would’ve lost their job, pension and possibly their freedom.”

    One need not be a “Clinton acolyte” (is that different the someone who voted for her?) to be concerned about foreign meddling in US elections. Clinton’s misdeeds in no way justify or excuse Russian meddling, though you seem to think it does for some reason.

  29. KevinS says:

    Conserving what? writes, “We need to distinguish between Russian disinformation (not alleged so far)and possible Russian involvement in disclosing the truth.”

    So the later would be ok? Do you apply the same logic to Edward Snowden, who as far as I know only disclosed the truth?

  30. c matt says:

    Hillary Clinton castigated Russia throughout her campaign and made it clear that she would be confrontational in Syria and Eastern Europe. Trump endorsed détente, by contrast, so Moscow’s choice of candidate would have been obvious,

    As was our choice, if avoiding WW III was anywhere on your radar. We did not need Hildebeasts’s emails to know she was a disaster in the making. All they did was basically confirm what everyone already knew about her – she is a dangerous contemptible human being who should be nowhere near the levers of power. The fact she won the popular vote just shows how naive and gullible Californians and New Yorkers are. All the more reason to support a Calexit and a NYexit.

  31. Bill Dee says:

    Let’s not forget the Exxon Mobil – Rosneft/Gazprom deal to explore for oil in Russia’s arctic region, a $700 million deal just for exploration not to mention oil production deals worth perhaps billions. The deal was killed after sanction were put in place in response to Russia invasion of Ukraine. Very interesting to see Exxon Mobil’s CEO as Secretary of State in a Trump Administration that seems very friendly with Russia’s Putin. That alone would be plenty of motivation for Putin to find ways to toss the election to Trump.

  32. Thrice A Viking says:

    For my part, I never cease to marvel that a handful of Bernie Sanders supporters (or was it just one?) were claimed to have hacked into the DNC, and yet the same party now insists it must have been a foreign government with massive hacking potential to have perpetrated these matters. And that HRC wasn’t endangering national security when she was S of S. I guess blaming the big, bad Russian bear is the best they can do with a highly untenable position.

  33. McGraph says:

    I think the issue here is not so much that Russia tried to influence our elections — they are not our allies — but that they may well have succeeded. That’s on us, and it’s an embarrassment.

    It’s not just a failure to use email correctly, it’s a failure to sift through useful and useless information, to interrogate the source of that information and its motives. That we let ourselves become not just victims but puppets of espionage is scandalous. It does make us look like a “3rd world banana republic”, and to my mind it does call into question the legitimacy of this election.

  34. Igor says:

    And the report of McLaren’s secret, and the CIA report secret. A lot of secrets they have in sports and in politics, and against Russia.
    Sanders was not necessary in a brazen “merge”, then the Democrats would still be at least some hope to win the election.
    And the fact that there was a leak of information about the ugly side activities of the democratic party in the presidential election – so it does not claim to Russia and Wikileaks, and to themselves: first, to those who worked on this, and secondly, to those who made it or is planned, condoned or implemented.
    Well, last but not least, to those who couldn’t keep it a secret (also there were computer geniuses for the storage of classified information), only can do is to scare Russia with their attacks (in fact, the latter is also a kind of cyber-terrorism only in politics).
    Here, truly, who lead – on and rack.
    No matter how much farm and not pastoi their “moderate terrorists”, that they fought with the enemies of the United States, in the end, he becomes a terrorist.
    And proved experience with Biden and his accomplices.

  35. Mike says:

    Good article, but the author falls into the same trap that many folks do….thinking that the Russians would prefer Trump over Clinton. That’s just BS. The one thing the Russians and before them the Soviets crave in a US President, is predictability.

    Reagan was unpredictable as will be Trump. If the Russians were involved in something like this (which I doubt) they would be on Clinton’s side, not Trump’s.

  36. Fran Macadam says:

    What Russia’s government thinks or does not think had zero influence on my own election thinking. These people are so suffused with self entitlement that they think if they don’t get what they consider their inheritance, it must be due to a devious plot by outsiders. Think again – it’s due to all of us deplorables, by the many millions, who simply can’t abide continuing domestic status quo policies that damage every ordinary American regardless of ethnic background.

  37. Jo says:

    Giraldi states that “The Trump response is frivolous because the vulnerability of the U.S. election process to outside interference is a serious issue” I don’t get it -why would a president-elect make a frivolous response to such an serious issue? So, it’s ok that Trump makes light of such matters? If there is nothing to fear, why not say, “Yes, this needs to be looked at.” It would shut down the entire issue. I wish the author had addressed this instead of trying to make do the “investigation” himself.

  38. RR says:

    So the DNC put their finger on the scales of the Democratic primary to help Hillary win against Sanders, the Russians and Wikileaks hack evidence of this and release it, and now the Russians have interfered with the election? The funny thing is that Clinton supporters can’t see how hypocritical this sort of allegation is in the first place. It’s just another example of why Clinton was such a horrid candidate in the first place and ultimately why she lost.

  39. Vladimir Makarenko says:

    Maybe I do not understand something? No single fact pointing to Russian government involvement/hacking/whatever is put on the table for everybody to see. Instead “reliable sources” inside CIA, etc. All that stinks like another political dirty game than any concern about foreign involvement in the US elections.

  40. enjolra says:

    @McGraph

    I agree with everything you wrote except for the last bit about this revelation throwing the legitimacy of the election into doubt. People voted for Trump. Russia didn’t rig a bunch of Wisconsin voting machines. Once we decide that people who cast votes unwisely or for the wrong reason we give up something important. I think.

    I think the real problem is the response this story is getting from certain sections of the conservative right which seem to not understand why it’s maybe a bit of a thing that a foreign government used our elections to further their goals. It might be time to re-evaluate the idea that the GOP is the party of national security.

  41. Philip Martin says:

    Concerning The Dean’s (2:13) comment on political hypocrisy, it seems to me that if the House and Senate can conduct seven different investigations of the Ben Ghazi incident, then surely one routine investigation of this matter shouldn’t be out of order. Or should it?

  42. Greg says:

    It may be common place for great powers (including the US) to influence other countries’ elections, but shouldn’t it be a concern if they do so effectively? Shouldn’t we be concerned that (assuming the intelligence communities consensus is correct) that they managed to concentrate the attention of the media and Americans on Hillary’s e-mails once again rather than Donald Trump’s defense of the indefensible? We’re not talking about “picking a winning candidate” after all, but simply tilting an election. I’m not saying it’s “no big deal” on the contrary, it is a really big deal – no foreign power should be able to push one candidate over the top. I don’t buy the moral equivalence argument that the author makes, but even if “every country does it” we shouldn’t allow it to be done to us. And the return to criticizing Clinton over her e-mails sounds a lot like blaming the victim – not that she should get a pass on sloppy security, but I object to the notion that it’s OK for Russia to tip our election, but not OK that Hillary is sloppy. It reminds me of the idea that one shouldn’t object to being spied on if you don’t have anything to hide.

  43. M Widlund says:

    Look how far spiteful partisanship can misguide. There are individuals here happy and supportive of Russian covert action against the authenticity of an American presidential election.

    This would be treasonous talk just 26 years ago.70 years ago it would be grounds for federal charges. 240 years ago, treason against the American revolution would have earned you perpetual infamy like Benedict Arnold.

    Today, Russian covert meddling is celebrated!

    How far we have fallen.

  44. VikingLS says:

    “So the later would be ok? Do you apply the same logic to Edward Snowden, who as far as I know only disclosed the truth”

    Yes a lot of the conservatives here DO, and regard Snowden as a hero. That’s why we like people like Giraldi. This is not some Rupert Murdoch outlet.

  45. VikingLS says:

    @McGraph

    If it turns out that Asange can back up his current claim that he got the emails from a DNC whistle blower, not the Russians, you are going to look really really silly.

    The way you all are reacting to this is like a man being furious that someone turned over emails to his wife that showed he had a mistress. The problem is NOT that somebody, maybe the Russians, brought things to light that embarrassed Democrats, the problem is that the DNC wrote the emails.

    If Americans factored those emails in, that’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s relevant information.

  46. Hal Fiore says:

    I have absolutely no way of knowing if Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party communications and the dissemination of selected nuggets for the obvious use of Trump’s campaign. But it’s perfectly clear that someone was. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be in dispute.

    I think it’s highly unlikely it was done by a few stoned Anonymous dudes or teenagers in a cybercafe in Macedonia. So someone with resources, capability, and motivated against Clinton.

    Now one of our intelligence agencies, one I never had much trust in, is purported to have reached the conclusion that the actor is Russia. Maybe. But they seem to be having their credibility challenged by another of our intelligence agencies, whose director made a ham-fisted and transparent effort to aid the Republican candidate.

    If the charge is bias, we have innuendo on one side and demonstrated overt action on the other.

    I wonder if this is another example of the media being played, but by whom I’m not sure. Making Russia the focus of the charge provides a specificity that can be challenged, and that would tend to generate just enough doubt to brush the whole thing under the rug. Meanwhile, the fact remains that our election was actually hacked.

    If you sit with that for a while, it raises some other uncomfortable questions. First, if this capable agent was able to hack one of the parties, is there any reason to believe the other party was not hacked in some way? What information might this power have gained, and what leverage might it give it over the winning candidate?

    Second, if they were able to hack the parties, might they have the capabilities to hack the voting machines? Trump’s poll-defying strength came in a handful of states and the margin was not large. Contrary to comments some have made here, while Clinton did alienate many voters, it’s unclear how many votes that 4reall6y could have meant to the still very unpopular Mr. Trump. Maybe enough to lose the election, at this point we must assume so, but it’s not as if the election weren’t within a margin that could have easily gone either way. She won the popular vote by more than 2% at this point in the counting.

    Also, might a motivation for Russia or another foreign nation to interfere with the election, assuming for a moment that it was foreign, be to select an inexperienced leader for the biggest competitor any up-and-coming nation is likely to face?

    Finally, we can consider that the hacker might not be foreign, and wouldn’t we then have a case of domestic agents at work for partisan purposes? What do we do about that? That is, how do we ensure a level playing field for future elections?

  47. ADC Wonk says:

    Connecticut Farmer writes, “The Clinton acolytes should stop whining about mystery Russian involvement in the election….”

    McConnell, Graham, Rubio, McCain . . . they’re all Clinton acolytes?

    Michael Gerson writes, today:

    Trump’s blanket attack on the intelligence community for incompetence — as though he were still going after “Little Marco” or “Lyin’ Ted” — is an insanely dangerous antic that materially undermines American security. Given the extraordinary range of threats faced by the United States — Chinese provocations in the South China Sea, Russian attempts to dominate neighboring countries, North Korea’s progress toward nuclear-tipped missiles that could reach California — a mutual trust between the president and American intelligence services is essential.

    He concludes: “Has a foreign power gained improper ascendance in our country? Unless that possibility is confronted in forthright fashion, suspicion will linger and fester.”

    We ought to investigate and find out what actually happened. You know, transparency and all that? Informed decisions?

  48. TR says:

    If the Russians had been against Trump and released selective hacked e-mails and he had lost, most of those above who are so blasé above would be howling. The perfect example of a partisan conversation.

    I think there should be an investigation, but I see no evidence that Hillary lost because of leaked e-mails.

  49. c matt says:

    So the DNC put their finger on the scales of the Democratic primary to help Hillary win against Sanders,

    And that doesn’t even get to MSM, Big Hollywood, and the GOPe putting their fingers on the scale to help Hildebeast win against Trump. Hypocrisy, they name is Liberal.

  50. c matt says:

    released selective hacked e-mails

    Yeah, like 100,000 of them. Quite selective. Again, not a single one disavowed, and no one showing how they were “selective” or “out of context.” If they would have spent half the energy showing this “context” (with the full power of the MSM at their back) that they did denouncing the Russians, they could have diffused any influence. Of course, since the “selective” and “out of context” barb is a complete lie, they had no other choice but to shoot the (alleged) messenger. Deflecting blame is only second to projection in Democrat Defense Tactics.

    The only ones jeopardizing the authenticity of the American elections are the DNC, BLM and the MSM. In particular the MSM with its daily barrage of fake news, and the audacity to claim others peddle fake news.

Newer Comments →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *