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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

The Obama White House’s December surprise, a new intelligence agency probe into Russia’s hidden hand in influencing the presidential election, has already yielded two new revelations.

The Washington Post reported late Friday that a secret CIA assessment has already found  the Russians helped Trump. The New York Times reported Saturday that the Russians hacked into Republican National Committee computer systems, but did keep that data—unlike the release of damaging communications from the Democratic National Committee during the primaries and emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, during the general election.

Republicans, from the Trump transition team to the RNC, denied that that they were helped or hacked by the Russians, with Trump’s team, saying, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction… It’s now time to move on.”

Significantly, the White House probe will not be conducted by the FBI, whose director, James Comey, announced in late October that the bureau was going to look at newly found emails from Clinton’s private accounts while she was Secretary of State—for classified materials—and then days before the election announced that there was nothing there. That “October surprise” broke Clinton’s slowly growing momentum after the three presidential debates.

“The FBI investigation was looking at specific acts that we saw over the summer and fall of this year,” White House Spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday. “So, as you know, they looked at the hacks at campaign committees like the DNC and other malicious cyber activity that we were detecting.  At the time, they determined that this is activity that could have only been directed from the highest levels of the Russian government.  So, yes, this [intelligence agency probe] is going to put that activity in a greater context. That’s going to look at the pattern of this happening from foreign actors, dating all the way back to 2008.”

Schultz reminded the White House press corps that in 2008, it was Chinese hacking attempts that targeted that year’s presidential campaigns. He said that Russia has a more recent history of trying to sabotage elections in surrounding counties, “and then, of course, in 2016, our intelligence community determined that there was malicious cyber activity intended to interfere with our elections. In the high confidence assessment that was released this past October, the intelligence community made very clear that this was activity directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.”

The WaPo report that grabbed headlines—that the CIA had already concluded that Russia was trying to help Trump—hardly seems like a surprise. While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly said that “no state parties” gave them Podesta’s stolen emails, the Times said intelligence circles had no doubt “Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.” What the Times report didn’t raise, but seems more significant in light of the depth of communications taken from Democrats, is what information do they have on the incoming Trump administration that could be used to Russia’s advantage?

While more disclosures are expected from the White House probe, they are likely to fall into the cyber-security fold, Schultz’s statements suggest, but not challenge Trump’s ascension to the presidency in January.

“This is not an effort to challenge the outcome of the election, that we have acknowledged who won the election,” he said. “It wasn’t the candidate that the President campaigned for.  And so the President has actually gone out of his way to make sure that we are providing for a seamless transition of power.  So we’re not calling into question the election results.  We are taking seriously our responsibility to protect the integrity of those elections.”

Schultz said federal agencies did not see a cyber attack on state election systems on Election Day, and considered that matter closed.

“What we determined in mid-November, a few weeks ago now, is that state election systems did not—the federal government did not detect any increased malicious cyber activity on Election Day or related to the administering of the elections,” he said. “So we’ve already made that determination, and that’s something we’ve announced publicly from here. But in terms of what this review will look at, this is going to be a review that’s conducted by the intelligence community.”

Computer scientists involved in the Green Party presidential recount would disagree with the White House spokesperson’s premise—saying hackers place malware in targets long before the attacks are carried out and can be pro-programmed on triggering events.

The White House said it wants its new probe done before Trump is sworn in as president. But the matter is not likely to go away.

Several members of Congress want to investigate Russian interference in the election. Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-CA and Elijah Cummings, D-MD, sponsored legislation to create a bipartisan, independent commission. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who previously called on Congress to investigate, also wants to head up a review.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights, campaigns and elections, and many social justice issues.

IMAGE: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

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30 responses to “How Russian Hacking Harmed The Clinton Campaign”

  1. Thoughtopsy says:

    If they ever released the Republican emails….. can you imagine?
    Corruption is endemic in that party right from Christie the NJ Sewer Monster on up, and I bet that they have plenty to say about Trump.

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if the corrupt GOP’s private communications were put under the same spotlight as the Democrats. On the whole the Podesta emails seem relatively benign… I bet the Republican ones aren’t.
    😉
    Can’t wait.

    • Nativegrammy says:

      I am certain Trump, as well as down the political ladder with so many in the GOP, have at some point been hacked or are about to be, since apparently it’s rather an easy thing to do and the Russians seem particularly adept at it as well as being consumed with getting it done! I am also certain with whatever they find that is juicy enough or mind blowing enough, they are going to use to “encourage” i.e., blackmail Trump or his sycophants into doing their bidding or worse….Trumps tenure is about to blow the historical records for corruption, lying, and mind blowing insanity, and the utter destruction to the country, institutions, will be incalculable! SOOOO, buckle up we are in for a Hell of a bumpy ride……..for all those who did not get off their duffs, over 50%, to vote as well as the rest who did for either candidate, we will ALL pay the price for Trumps complete and astounding ignorance, his mental issues, unhinged trigger mouth, the list grows daily, with all the negative issues that make Trump, Trump. There will be a new low everyday. I agree with many who worry out loud and with utter conviction state, there is SOMETHING really wrong with Donald J. Trump, and it scares the Hell out of them and certainly has scared me since witnessing this moving train wreck for over a year and a half now.

      • kep says:

        Trump is still soooo much better than having a nasty, corrupt lying crime family queen. If America can flush the liberals out of government, we might have a small chance of undoing all the damage done over the last regime. Americans need to wake up and take our country back from the liberal commies. Trump is a good start.

        • Nativegrammy says:

          You are so out of touch with reality, it is frightening! NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE believes communism is a viable option for anything, anywhere! And I am sick to death of far right morons suggesting anyone who is Liberal is a “commie”. Ignorance on steroids. History has proven that with the ultimate downfall of the Soviet Union and communism failing in the most profound ways, proves it! To take your insults as evidence of your truth, then it should be OK for everyone else to call you far right Trump loving idiots, Nazi’s, especially with real White Supremacists and the American Nazi Party professing their love loudly and proudly for their new leader, Trump. Big news flash no one has taken the country from anyone, you CHOSE to believe that nonsense. We have a 4.6% unemployment rate, the lowest in decades, the stock market is booming, poverty has actually fallen, the debt has gone down more than at any time since WWII, more people are covered by health insurance than ever, those are FACTS, if you call that failure, then clearly you are watching he Republican Parties propaganda channel, Fox News, or reading far right/fake news and lies to reinforce your twisted reality! OF THIS I AM SURE, after 4 years of Trump and his stupidity, reckless mouth and utter ignorance, along with the sickening cabinet choices he has made and the destruction they are about to unleash on this country, we will see if people like you are singing a different tune!!! Because I guarantee you, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR LIFE DRAMATICALLY!!!

          • dpaano says:

            Nativegrammy…..you need to give up trying to educate Kep and his ilk…..they don’t care. They’ve been thoroughly brainwashed by the GOP and too much Faux News….sometimes I think they’ve been hypnotized by FAUX News…that’s the only thing that I can understand as to why they voted in this individual! I still think they all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome!!!

          • kep says:

            It wasnt Hillary

          • kep says:

            Talk about being out of touch with reality. All ive heard from liberals during the campaign was wealth distribution.. COMMUNISM. We now have a ruling elite. They call themselves politicians. Same set up as the soviet union, whereas those in the party had everything and everyone else had nothing. LIBERALS FOLLOW COMMUNIST DOCTRINE.
            You either need to wake up from your 8 year long stupor, or just be honest that you want to see our country become a communist regime.

          • Nativegrammy says:

            You are RIDICULOUS! I guess according to your value system, Jesus Christ was a communist.

          • kep says:

            Ahh. Another good point. Have you noticed how Christians are now being marginalized. How liberals want to push Christianity to the side? Again, communist doctrine. Liberals ARE communists.

      • dpaano says:

        I agree….lately, I’ve hated to even get up in the morning to read the paper or listen to the news and hear another ridiculous thing that Trump has done! Every time something comes out, it seems to be worse than the last thing! It’s depressing as heck, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that is not sleeping well because of worry for this country! As an Army veteran, I worry about all that the service men and women have done to keep this nation safe only to see it possibly lost due to this unqualified, uninformed, narcissistic con artist and his Wall Street cronies!

        • Nativegrammy says:

          What I find so unacceptable, and I reached that point even before Trump ran for president as it is who he is and always has been, is, I hate drama queens, have absolutely no patience for them, don’t listen to, have no respect for, dismiss immediately any kind of drama queen/king behavior add to that psychotic lying to a degree never seen before, OMG. There are enough crisis’s in life, real problems/issues that need thoughtful, nuanced and sometimes difficult solutions…..and here is this horrible, lying machine, ignorant, creature, Trump, just one outrageous lie after another, desperately seeking the attention he craves incessantly, like a heroin addict! Drama, after drama, lie, after lie, but now it’s not just reality TV and ain’t it funny, now it’s all of our lives, the country’s existence, pride, representation of once being the representation of the greatest democracy in history, and Trump is affecting all of it, just vomiting all over it……..It certainly gives new meaning to “No drama Obama”. God almighty, Trump’s whole persona, ignorance, just plain stupid to have to deal with daily, by contrast, will make missing Pres. Obama all that more acute, painful and absolutely unbearable!

          • dpaano says:

            What is totally scary to me is that he fails to listen to security briefings and thinks he’s “too smart” to have to deal with them. But, on a day-to-day basis, he tweets something that he knows NOTHING about and causes major problems! Look at his recent tweet about Lockheed and the F-35’s…..a plane that he has NO idea about. Instead of FIRST going to Lockheed and finding out EXACTLY what the F-35 is all about, what armament it carries, what it’s specifications are….he goes ahead and makes a totally inane comment! He does this every day, and all he’s doing is angering people, like China, that he shouldn’t be angering! He wants to rebuild our military, but he’s now being picky about the cost to do so before he has even looked into what those costs are and why! If this is how he’s going to run the nation, we’re seriously in trouble. I think a lot of the GOP congressmen/women are seeing this and some are even starting to become brave enough to fight back! We can only hope that they are brave enough to NOT approve some of his nominees, especially Bannon, the EXXON guy, and a couple of others that have NO business running various departments! At this time in our nation, we need people to run these departments that KNOW what they’re doing….not people that happen to have a lot of money and gave it to Trump to get him elected! Talk about “pay to play,” he’s the epitome of it even after he was so cocky about Hillary doing the same thing…..in fact, he’s doing MUCH of what he accused Hillary of doing during his campaign! I don’t know how long it will be before his followers figure out that he’s just a con man with absolutely NO idea how to run the government. He seems to think he can run it like he’s run his businesses, which wasn’t all that intelligent if you look at his track record. Unfortunately, they’re all seriously brainwashed!

  2. Godzilla says:

    The FBI calls the CIA evidence “inuendo and circumstantial” . Regardless, it don’t matter. It wasn’t the fact that all those email got released, by Wikileaks, not the Russians, it mattered what they said. For those of you who are feeling the butthurt from this nonsense, maybe you should look back at how much money the Obozo Administration, with the witch being SoS, spent on undermining the duly elected Ukraine government. Being hypocrits is no way to go through life.

    • jmprint says:

      “Being hypocrits is no way to go through life.” The republican have the corner market on hypocrisy, tell them.

      • dpaano says:

        Actually, quite a few Republicans, including McConnell, are pushing for the investigation. You’d think that if Trump were so sure that there was no hacking or problems with his election, he would also be adamant about the investigation…..what is he hiding….other than his income tax returns?

        • jmprint says:

          Not once have we heard Trump say anything against the Russians, it’s always back handed. He continues to put Putins feeling before Americans, hIs admiration for him will not allow him to defy his god.

          • dpaano says:

            Do you suppose it’s because he’s become Putin’s “puppet” based on the fact that he owes Russian so much money? It’s a thought, isn’t it?

          • jmprint says:

            Partly and the other part I think it’s more that he is mesmerized by the idea of being a dictator, and the unlimited amount of money he can make. After all Putin has 85 billion to Trumps measly billion.

  3. itsfun says:

    I read how “Russian finger prints” are on the hacks. If the Russians did the hacking why would they leave their finger prints? There are certain things hackers do when hacking, Why couldn’t North Korea, Iran, China, etc. do the hacking and purposely leave Russia type markings. Would it not be stupid for Russia to leave the same signs that everyone would know. Another thing the left is whining about is the Hillary and DNC emails. The emails were theirs not made up.

    • kep says:

      Oh no it wasn’t. The Republicans made all that up. Anything that may be considered bad or corrupt is all lies. Hillary is a saint. She should have been President because of divine right, and because she is a female. Just as Emperor Obama should have been placed in power because he was a black Muslim.

    • jmprint says:

      And what you don’t think documents can be altered?

    • jmprint says:

      Are you CIA certified? You are repeating Trump talking points, Trump tried to say that hackers can’t be caught, once the hacking is done, but that is an outright lie, to convince idiots like you.

      • itsfun says:

        not CIA certified, but I was Microsoft certified and a IT security officer. Hacking fingerprints are not like your hand and unique to only you. Hackers can copy others. There is no credible evidence that Russia hacked anyone.

        • jmprint says:

          The technology isn’t the same as was ten or twenty years ago, and yes eventually you can find out who the hackers are, or where it originated.

          • itsfun says:

            wrong, have you ever head of dynamic addressing. You machine can change its IP address every time it signs on.

  4. Godzilla says:

    Russian hacking….who cares? If someone breaks the law, that’s why we have cops, arrest, then prove guilt.

    The REAL problem didn’t come from any hackers, it came from the words written within the leaked emails. For anyone who wants to fool themselves and think the emails were altered, that bullcrap excuse has already been thoroughly debunked. They were authentic and showed the corruption and collusion. Busted, period.

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