Top intelligence officials including convened Thursday for a hearing to discuss the Russians involvement with hacking our elections. Washington Post ‘sources’ said agencies had intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election showing senior Russian government officials celebrating Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton.
According to the Washington Post:
“CIA and other agencies claim that Putin’s goals went beyond seeking to undermine confidence in America’s election machinery and ultimately were aimed at tilting a fiercely contested presidential race toward a candidate seen as more in line with Moscow’s foreign policy goals.”
NBC news says the suspected Russian hacking targeted the DNC, but also the White House, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the State Departnment. President-elect Trump questioned why NBC was given intelligence before he was briefed and called for action.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said Russia’s attempt to hack was “an unprecedented attack on our democracy”, while Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) minced no words when referring to retaliation against Russia, citing President Obama threw a “pebble” with regards to sanctions and would have thrown a “rock” at the Kremlin. Graham warned that Republicans could be next to get hacked and to take cyber-security seriously.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange made it clear that his source for the leaks was not the Russian government.
“Our source is not a state party. So, the answer — for our interactions — is no … Our source is not the Russian government. It is not state parties.”
Assange said he was not trying to help Trump win the presidency and that he simply wanted “to give the American people true information about the players that they were going to have to deal with.”
President-elect Trump continues to question and downplay the intelligence communities report on Russian hacking. After meeting with top intelligence officials on Friday, Trump iterated he had a “constructive” meeting but still had questions as to the extent of Russia’s cyber-attacks. Trump again took to twitter, blaming the DNC for being vulnerable to attacks:
After getting called out for his support for Assange and not the intelligence community, Trump responded:
Americans have a right to question and have an opinion of the extent to which Russia has been involved in our election process, but the Obama Administration has been one of the least transparent in modern history. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper gave false testimony back in 2013 to Congress with regards to NSA spying. Then there was a recent report on Friday that Russian hackers penetrated the electrical grid of a Vermont utility. Burlington Electric Department said they had found code associated with Russian hackers on an employee’s computer. It was later reported that this was not true and Russia had no involvement. Jon Karl of ABC asked this question to WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest:
“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?”
It brings up a valid point. Russia and China have multiple times launched cyber stack on the United States. However, President Obama never instilled sanctions or any type of punishment. This time around, it seems purely political.
Until further evidence is provided Americans should be skeptical. No one wants Russia meddling in our election process. However, let’s not stretch the truth and risk worsening relations with Russia.
The declassified report can be read here: https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/