I don’t know how many different ways to say it. Russia didn’t discredit Hillary Clinton. She discredited herself.
Even assuming these unsubstantiated claims were true – that Russia, at the behest of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC and John Podesta’s emails and gave stolen documents to WikiLeaks to release, all for the purpose of helping Trump win – all that means is that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were exposed. Nothing was altered in the emails and documents.
Nevertheless, the intelligence community is adamant – or, at least pretending to be adamant – that Putin worked to “discredit” Hillary Clinton in an effort to get Trump to win. The actual evidence they have is still “secret.” NBC News reported:
A Russian covert operation designed to undermine American democracy evolved into an attempt to help Donald Trump win, according to the declassified version of a long-awaited intelligence report released Friday.
In “Key Judgments,” the report says, “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
The report says that the Russian government tried to help Trump “by discrediting Secretary Clinton.” It says that of the three agencies that prepared the report, the CIA, the FBI have “high confidence” in this judgment, while the NSA “has moderate confidence.”
The report also says that the Russian hacking campaign targeted or compromised “elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards,” but not systems involved in vote tallying.
However, even the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper himself has stated that there was no way to gauge whether these efforts had any effect on the outcome of the election.
I certainly don’t deny that Russia – and many other countries – are involved in hacking into U.S. government agencies. The U.S. does the same thing with other nations. And it’s never really been much of an issue until now.
And that’s the question that hasn’t really been answered. Why is the U.S. government just now concerned about Russia, when they – and China – have apparently been doing this for a long time? I think the answer is obvious.
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