Saturday, August 13, 2016

There Needs to be Hearings on the Russian Hacks on the Democrats

Noah Rothman has a very interesting piece in commentary about Russia's wading into our 2016 POTUS election.

This morning I noted that-as intelligence analysts predicted-that there was a perfunctory hack of the RNC but, totally predictably, nothing was turned up in the hack. Meanwhile, on the same day, the personal cellphone data of every Democrat in Congress was made public-though some of it was old data, thankfully.

Rothman has some thoughts:

"The cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee in June was sophisticated in a way that no simple hacker collective could replicate. The organization that targeted the DNC was looking for information specifically related to donors and the Democratic Party’s likely Republican opponent, Donald Trump. The digital trail left behind by the hackers left indications of Russian involvement. It wouldn’t become clear that there was a political motive behind the attack, however, until the illicit, Russian-linked intelligence clearinghouse WikiLeaks intervened in the Democratic nominating process."

"Just as the Democratic Party’s delegates were gathering in Philadelphia, the secretive group led by Julian Assange released 20,000 email exchanges that authorities believed were procured in that June hack. Temporarily, the communications indicating that DNC officials had long favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders to win the party’s presidential nomination shattered any appearance of party unity. The effect was brief; the party eventually united around Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the appearance of Russian intervention in the domestic American political process allowed Democrats to pose as the victims of a foreign conspiracy, speeding the healing process after a divisive primary."

It's a testament to how strong the Democratic party is in 2016 that the effect was brief. And in some ways this has backfired as it has actually made the US much more suspicious of Russia and makes Trump look like the Manchurian Candidate.

Then, there's Julian Assange. Dead Enders of the Left who are haling Assange as some kind of romantic hacker for the public good should remember that he is the one who really hurt the cause of climate science a few years ago by hacking their private data-though the hacked data showed nothing seriously damning; sound familiar?

"Weeks after the conventions closed, the scope of the hack and its links to Russian-backed entities are only now coming into focus. On Wednesday, the New York Times revealed that the initial intrusion into the DNC was part of a much larger operation. The Democratic Party’s congressional and gubernatorial committees, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign, were targeted as well. “American intelligence agencies have said they have ‘high confidence’ that the attack was the work of Russian intelligence agencies,” the Times reported. Their sources on Capitol Hill revealed that the FBI had all but assured congressional investigators that Moscow was behind the hack targeting an American political party."

Desperate times call for desperate measures:

"On Thursday night, the White House revealed to reporters that it was considering a drastic move: Naming the source of that hack as the Russian government or entities supported by Moscow and targeting them with enhanced sanctions. In doing so, however, there is no question that what is objectively a matter of national security would become politicized."

Rothman is knowledgeable but is something of a false equivalence type.

"Neither Republicans nor Democrats can escape blame for attempting to craft a favorable political narrative out of the likely Russian-linked hack. “This is an electronic Watergate,” insisted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The Russians broke in. Who did they give the information to? I don’t know. Who dumped it? I don’t know.” Trump-supporting Republicans, too, have been tempted to embrace the work of WikiLeaks and their foreign benefactors. As the polls look worse and worse for their candidate, some are speculating with a note of unguarded hope that the Russian-backed outfit will release some damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the fall that will rescue them from the voters’ wrath."

"This isn’t about politics; it’s about national security. And it should be treated as such by every American, regardless of their partisan affiliation."

Ultimately, though he's right. This is not a partsian issue.

"This is not intergovernmental spying. If proven to be the work of Russian-backed hackers, this was the infiltration of private entities by a foreign power with the intention of altering political events in the United States. The committees that were targeted did nothing wrong. They did not violate governmental protocols or expose themselves unduly to infiltration and subversion. The documents that were retrieved from that hack are stolen goods. Simply because they were laundered through WikiLeaks does not render them less hot. To use them for political benefit is craven."

"Though it cuts against partisan interest, Republicans have a duty to oppose Russian intervention in the political process just as Democrats are obliged to decline to use their victimized status as some sort of political weapon. This is bigger than 2016; it transcends politics. Americans should treat this attack on U.S. interests with the gravity it deserves."

But if this is true then shouldn't the GOP House have hearings on these hacks?

UPDATE: Tom Brown linked to this good piece on Russia's attempted subversion from Heritage that point out that the Right has shamed itself in embracing Putin for partisan advantage.

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