The author is President of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) and a prominent US citizen diplomat
When listening to the October 9 debate between Hillary and Trump, I heard Hillary come out emphatically saying that Russia was responsible for hacking America’s emails to tamper with our election process. I wondered how it had been determined that this was the truth, sufficient for this bold, declarative sentence. Maybe I had missed something? I have hardly watched any of the TV news regarding this election Was it really so? Surely she wouldn’t tell a bald-faced lie to a world-wide audience during the debates without specific information.
So I immediately canvassed a dozen people “in the know” on our E list to learn how this information was attained. In retrospect, there is NO evidence that this assertion was the truth. If it had been these people would have definitely known about it and could give references. Regardless of which candidate one is listening to today, they cannot be depended on to tell the truth. They apparently feel utterly comfortable to say with confidence anything they wish, whether it is true or false.
We have come to a low point in our political discourse …. and public discourse for that matter. This does not bode well for our future or the future of America.
Canvassed comments follow:
“Meanwhile the alternative media insists that the notion of Russian hackers under Putin’s instructions is ludicrous and insists that Hillary and others have provided no proofs. What I can say from my personal experience with the Kremlin elites I have met at the talk shows this past month is that the idea that Putin has a horse in the US electoral race is total nonsense. These (Russian) elites are totally divided over whom to prefer, Clinton (the devil they know) or Trump (considered to be volatile, unpredictable and either too good to be true or a chameleon who will change his tune about Russia as soon as he is elected). On the basis of this circumstantial evidence, I find it utterly unbelievable that the Russians would be doing the hacking.”
“The US intelligence community (I’m not sure who exactly) made an official statement a few days ago that, based on their analysis of the evidence they have (and which they don’t share with the public), they are pretty sure that the hack on the DNC was done by Russian intelligence and probably approved at the highest levels. To be honest, I am not persuaded that this is right and we both know that the judgments of the US intell community are sometimes wrong. But since the rest of us don’t know what the evidence is, it’s impossible to challenge the finding, I guess.”
“I have not seen hard evidence confirming Russian hacking, but I also see no reason to doubt that Russian intelligence is routinely hacking where they can. In recent years, evidence is no longer necessary.
It’s probably naïve to assume Russia is not involved in routine hacking. China is. Israel is. And US routinely hacks into computers and emails in other countries (including emails of leaders of friendly foreign governments like Dilma Rousseff and even Angela Merkel). Would Russia hacking into DNC and US government servers and systems be surprising? They certainly have the capacity and if they weren’t using it, the better question would be why not?
Assuming this is Russian hacking, the timing with which the DNC hacked emails were released to WikiLeaks on eve of Demo National Convention does suggest intent to embarrass Wasserman-Schultz and Clinton at the convention and would appear an effort to help Trump. Has this influenced the election?
Probably not. Has some elements in the Russian govt (intel hackers) tried to discredit Clinton (or DNC)? Probably.”
“On air last night following the debate, the CNN reporter in Istanbul providing fact checking after debate on Russia hacking comments reported that a Russian company he met with confirmed involvement in the hacking. I can’t now find any detail on that, but I suspect Russia has been behind at least some of this hacking.
But every great nation with hacking capacity is doing some of this as standard intelligence practice. But releasing DNC email material to WikiLeaks on eve of convention would appear to be seeking to influence election.
“Not wise on Russia’s part and ultimately will not probably have the intended result. By presumably seeking to help Trump, the Russians may be only hurting him.
Side note: Putin’s comments on Trump were translated entirely incorrectly. Putin never called Trump a “brilliant politician” as Trump contends. Putin called Trump a “Yarkiy politik” – “Yarkiy” meaning “bright” or even “colorful”. This was translated as “Brilliant” which is not the real meaning. I do believe Putin and some Russian gov favor Trump due to conviction Hillary will be very tough on Russia. But may also believe Trump will create chaos in US – or at least drive US to extreme isolationism. Either way, I think Russia is very wrong to believe Trump would be good for Russia.”
“Jesus! Sharon. The question is – I assume – rhetorical.
Who needs evidence? All they need to do is to mention unnamed, shadowy “experts” and you can prove that Putin killed JFK and dug the Grand Canyon…A mere cyber attack? Child’s play!
The appalling part is that people believe her…
“Not to my knowledge. And seeing the long NYTimes front page article yesterday on US torture of guiltless detainees; add our support for the ruthless Saudi war on Yemen–who the hell are we to preach morality to Russia, or anyone?”
“No, I have heard nothing whatsoever except that there has been no concrete evidence that they did so. At the moment, thank goodness I am faraway in Morocco will be returning to US Oct.25th Would really be anxious to talk to you as I am appalled by the continuing ever higher pitch of russophobia.”
Source: Center for Citizen Initiatives