KER Politics – Tue 10 Jan, 2017
What could be more counter productive that reinstituting the Cold War?
Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:
What a strange beginning to 2017. Just when we thought the “Russia hacked our elections” narrative might quiet down, the intelligence agencies released two unclassified reports meant to prove President Obama’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered his intelligence services to launch a “multi-pronged” operation to make sure that Donald Trump is elected president. It really is the stuff of a 1960s Cold War spy thriller, but unlike in any decent Hollywood production the actual reports both fell flat. No smoking gun, not even a squirt gun.
Even those cheering a new Cold War with Russia were disappointed in the intelligence reports. The Daily Beast, which is among the most vociferously anti-Russia news sites, moaned that, “US Spy Report Blames Putin For Hacks, But Doesn’t Back It Up.”
What may have been the strangest part of the second report, titled “Background to ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections’: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution,” was that it devoted at least 50 percent of the actual text to a several years old assessment of the activities and intentions of the Russian-government sponsored television network, RT. Perhaps the salacious stories about how RT is brainwashing Americans into believing Putin over their own government is meant to divert attention from the fact that the real meat of the report — evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC to ensure a Trump victory — was in fact pretty thin gruel. And certainly these dramatic accusations were meant to divert attention — successfully, in the case of the mainstream media — from the actual content of the DNC emails: the real “hack” of the election was the Democratic Party establishment conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.
We are also supposed to ignore Hillary Clinton’s at-home server, from which she regularly sent highly classified information to individuals outside the US government. According to Judge Andrew Napolitano’s excellent analysis here, these emails were hacked (or “intercepted”) by foreign intelligence services including from Russia, China, and Israel because the server was not secure. Aside from the good Judge and perhaps others on his network, has anyone else seen much on this real scandal of the election?
What is the real fallout from the sensationalist “Russia hacked our election” hysteria? Forget e pluribus unum: the real motto of the US government is “never let a crisis go to waste,” and this “crisis” is no exception. As ABC News reported over the weekend, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is designating the US election systems “critical infrastructure.” That is in effect a federal government takeover of what are according to the US Constitution individual state elections. The Russia hysteria provided the convenient excuse for what RPI Board Member Lew Rockwell rightly called, “a coup.” Does anyone feel safer — regardless of who is president — knowing that control of the electoral process is now concentrated in a few (politically-appointed) hands?
Whew! That’s a long diversion from the topic of this RPI update. I was supposed to write about the confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, which begin today and tomorrow, respectively. But it all comes back around. What can we expect President Trump’s Attorney General to do about Hillary Clinton’s reckless mishandling of some of the most sensitive of US government secrets? She left the doors and windows open with a whole batch of cookies on the table and the Russians, Chinese, and Israelis let themselves in and gobbled them up. Is that not a prosecutable offense? Will incoming Trump ignore such a breach of national security? Look for a question in today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Sen. Sessions about this.
And Tillerson? He will be grilled by the Senate for having the audacity to do business with Putin’s Russia — the same Russia that “hacked” (according to the US intelligence community) the US elections. The Hillary campaign already — shockingly — stated that the next US president is an agent of the Russian government. How about a top US businessman who has done business in Russia for years?
So pop the popcorn and watch the Senate hit on (or most likely miss) some of these important points over the next few days.
And please remember, your tax-deductible donation to the Ron Paul Institute is critical for our survival. These are strange times and we unyieldingly stand on principle — peace and prosperity.