Andrew Higgens published a stunningly disturbing article in the New York Times Friday morning entitled, “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them.”
The Kremlin is accused of a “new and particularly noxious form of an old K.G.B. dirty trick known as kompromat, the fabrication and planting of compromising or illegal material.”
Thus the child porn planted on Vladimir K. Bukovsky’s computer. He is described as “a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.” He faced charges that were only dropped nafter the prosecution reviewed an independent forensic report that determined that an unidentified third party had probably put the child porn on his computer. He accused the Kremlin of using this new form of an old trick to discredit an opponent.
This is the kind of “cybermischief-making where Russia has proved its prowess in the Baltic States, Georgia, Ukraine and, according to American intelligence officials, in the computers of the Democratic National Committee.”
Sure this is bad enough on its face, and it rings true with the allegations that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election, an accusation that in spite of all 17 US federal intelligence agencies making, President-elect Donald Trump does not believe. Or claims he doesn’t believe. But since Putin already got his way with our election, the upcoming danger is to those who are investigating Russia’s interference.
“Experts agree that there is overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 US presidential election. Overwhelming. It’s not disputed. It’s overwhelming,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) explained. “Our nation’s seventeen federal intelligence agencies say that they are confident that Russia directed the cyber attacks, and that they were intended to interfere with the US elections process. Let that sink in.”
On Wednesday, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and House Oversight Committee, Rep. Cummings, announced that they would be introducing a bill to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But Democrats are not alone in this. While many Republicans are gleefully using Machiavellian themes to justify their willing compliance with Trump, others see the dangers and realize that they could be next. And I’d like to think that they are also simply patriotic.
“It’s pretty clear to me that Wikileaks was designed to hurt (Democratic presidential nominee Hillary) Clinton and it could be us tomorrow,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN Thursday, saying he would be doing his own investigations into Russia’s hacking of the U.S. election.
Graham said he believes Russia “did interfere with our elections” and added, “I’m going after Russia in every way you can go after Russia. I want Putin personally to pay a price.”
From the NYT article, “Russia’s cyberwarriors serve a multitude of goals, including espionage, the disruption of vital infrastructure — as happened in Ukraine last year when nearly a quarter of a million people lost electricity after a cyberattack on three regional energy companies — the discrediting of foes and the shaping of public opinion through the spread of false information.”
So if you connect the dots, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see horrific accusations made against Swalwell, Cummings, Graham, or even McCain or any other elected official who supports and advocates going after Russia.
Russia is not our friend, no matter what Donald Trump has been led to believe. A friend doesn’t try to destroy your country’s democratic process by hacking into one party’s emails and possibly even planting or distorting an email or two (this is what they do, so it’s not clear to me why anyone would have reported on the hacked emails as actual emails in the first place) in order to impact an election.
The next logical question is to ask ourselves why some Republicans are so against an investigation into a foreign entity hacking their own country’s election.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.