Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything
The Russian hacking hysteria in the US media, and among parts of the public -- especially liberal Democrats -- is becoming increasingly embarrassing.
Over and over we have been told that the government, whether in the form of the departing President Obama or unidentified “intelligence sources” cited in news reports, or statements by private security contractors with their vested interest in trying to show how vulnerable America’s (and the Democratic Party’s!) servers are, that they have solid evidence that the Russians hacked DNC emails and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails, only for it to turn out to be more of the same innuendos, circumstantial “evidence,” suspicions, and inevitably ridiculous and embarrassing errors (like the Washington Post’s breathless and false story that the Russians had hacked the Vermont power grid and could shut off the heat during a cold snap).
The latest example is yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, which featured the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who is the boss of the CIA, the NSA and the rest of the whole vast US intelligence apparatus. Clapper told the committee that he stands “more resolutely” than ever behind the CIA’s initial assessment of Oct. 7 that Russian leaders at the “senior-most levels” had orchestrated a campaign of interference in the presidential election.
Clapper testified ominously about a vast campaign of interference which he claimed involved everything from hacking the DNC to spreading disinformation and what he called “fake news.” He said, “Whatever crack, fissure, they could find in our tapestry...they would exploit.” Why, he said in outrage, their state-owned English-language television station RT-TV (available in about 15% of American home cable packages) even “disparaged our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights.”
Gee, how evil can an empire be? (And worse yet, Clapper disclosed that the NSA had recorded Russian officials cheering and laughing when they realized Trump had defeated Clinton! My god! We should retalliate!)
Seriously, if an American citizen is ignorant enough not to at least be skeptical about a report about American politics that is being aired by a news organization called Russia TV, we’re in serious trouble. But I guess that’s another issue for another day. And as for that annoying glee heard in the Kremlin election night, can't we assume there was the same glee in the White House when Boris Yeltsin narrowly defeated Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov in a run-off to win a second term as Russian president? So gloating counts as election interference now?