Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything
UPDATE (1/7/2016): In a surprisingly good analysis of the publicly released intelligence report on the alleded Russian campaign to undermine US democracy, hack the DNC server and help elect Donald Trump, Scott Shane of the NY Times on Saturday writes:
"What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack...Instead the message from the agencies essentially amounts to 'trust us.' There is no discussion of the forensics used to recognize the handiwork of known hacking groups, no mention of intercepted communications between the Kremlin and the hackers, no hint of spies reporting from inside Moscow' propaganda machinery...
"The absence of any proof is especially surprising in light of promises on Thursday from ...Clapper, that he would 'push the envelope' to try to make more information public....But Susan Hennessey, a former intelligence agency lawyer who is now managing editor of the online journal Lawfare, writes: 'The unclassified report is underwhelming at best. There is essentially no new information for those who have been paying attention..."
"This report is unlikely to change the minds of skeptics who, like the president-elect, remember the intelligence agencies' faulty assessments on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and fear being misled again."
Another sign that even the completed classified report on Russian election manipulation will be yet another dud is word that “US officials” say it will contain “no major new bombshell disclosures” regarding Russian hacking. Does anyone besides me hear the sound of someone attempting to lower expectations?
Already the outline of a climb-down is starting to take shape. After for months insisting that the intelligence agencies had “all the evidence” to prove a Russian hack of the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails, despite Wikileaks’ and founder Julian Assange’s insistence that their source was a leaker, not a hacker, and was someone not connected with Russia or the Russian government in any way, the story now has become that the Russians hacked the DNC and Podesta, but then used a “third party” to funnel the purloined emails to Wikileaks, perhaps without Wikileaks knowing the Russians’ role.
Clearly the first version of the CIA’s and Clapper’s story has collapsed.
We’ll have to see now whether this Russian hacking story 2.0 holds up better than a typical Microsoft Word security patch.