The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It Was the Russians

The Washington Post reports:
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
In all of this, there is the subtle implication that Trump won the election unfairly, that if it weren't for Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and the nefarious Russians, Clinton would have prevailed. This fits the current media narrative and certainly provides a convenient excuse for the Democratss—it wasn't their ineffective blue model, their eight years of failure, or their dishonest and corrupt candidate—it was the Russians!

Let's for a moment assume that the WaPo story is 100 percent accurate, that the Russians favored Trump over Hillary and leaked emails that made Hillary and the Democrats look bad. I'm highly skeptical that the intelligence reports are accurate and unbiased, but forget that for a moment. Let's consider a few things:
  1. Under the Obama administration, the 'intelligence community" has demonstrated that it is NOT beyond partisan political (think: the Benghazi talking points). If they were corrupted once, they could be corrupted again.
  2. The main stream media downplayed the Wikileaks revelations while they were happening. Sure they noted them, but they did everything possible to bury their importance. That means that their broad impact on voter decision-making is highly questionable.
  3. The majority of the electorate viewed emails from inside the DNC or the Clinton campaign as inside-the-beltway noise. It's highly unlikely that those email revelations swayed a substantial number of voters.
  4. The leaks embarrassed the Democrats, showing them to be just as dishonest, venal, and catty as the reviled GOP—maybe worse.
  5. Although there is innuendo that the Russians tried to hack the vote itself, there is no evidence—none—that tampering occurred.
  6. The Clinton Campaign spent approximately 1.2 billion dollars (!!) on advertising. In some battleground states, Clinton ads outnumbered Trump ads 3 to 1. You'd thing that amount of money would allow the Dems to obviate any damage created by Wikileaks.
And there's also this: If the Russians were behind the hacking efforts, it's a deadlock certainty that they had also hacked Hillary's private and unprotected server. If there were incriminating emails (e.g., corrupt dealings within The Clinton Foundation) on that server, the Russians (not to mention China, Iran, NoKo and other bad actors) had them. Rather than releasing them pre-election, it's reasonable to conclude that the evil Russians would bank them for post-election use, if Clinton won. A Clinton victory could have allowed the Russians (and others) to begin political blackmail of a President Clinton to the significant detriment of the United States. Odd that the WaPo doesn't consider that possibility, isn't it?

Later in the WaPo article, they write:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.”
It's interesting that the WaPo seems perfectly willing to allege Russian government involvement, even though the actors involved were "according to the official, ... “one step” removed from the Russian government ..." Yet, the WaPo (and every other MSM news organization) paid little or no attention to the allegations made in Peter Schweizer's impeccably researched, best-selling book, Clinton Cash, noting dozens of instances in which potential corruption swirling around the Clinton Foundation was attributed to actors who were 'one step' removed from Bill and Hillary Clinton. Odd that the WaPo is all over a report that makes Trump election look like it was influenced by a foreign power,* but would not take a second look at allegations that suggest Hillary Clinton is outright corrupt.

Finally, this comment from Ann Althouse:
How does that evidence support the [CIA] finding that the Russians were trying to help Trump and hurt Hillary — as opposed to just hacking into everything they could? Are senior Obama administration officials reliable in making that leap or is this political junk?

There’s also the evidence that “it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public” (through Wikileaks). You have to interpret that evidence. Republicans say “their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked.” The NYT cites a “senior government official” corroborating that position.

The NYT also raises the theory that the Russians — like most people — assumed Hillary was going to win, and they weren’t trying to defeat her, but undercut her presidency. In this theory, they weren’t so concerned with hurting Trump because they didn’t think he’d win.

I’m reading these new conclusions as political junk.
The CIA revelations fit the Democrat narrative so they are to be believed by all progressives and promoted by virtually all of the main stream media. The Clinton Cash revelations don't fit an 'acceptable' narrative, so they were rejected out of hand by all progressives and virtually all of the main stream media. Business as usual.


* It's also odd, that WaPo and the rest of the MSM was uniquely disinterested when irrefutable evidence of foreign donations to the Obama campaign occurred in 2012. Those donations are, by the way, against the law. So donations from bad actors in the Middle East were okay in 2012 but hacking of embarrassing emails in 2016 (when a Dem lost) is somehow not okay? At least the Russians didn't send Trump any Rubles.