In today’s New York Times it was reported that “The office of the director of national intelligence on Friday released a long-awaited unclassified version of its report for President Obama on what the intelligence agencies said was a multifaceted attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. The report included only the agencies’ conclusions, not the actual intelligence or technical information on which they were based.” The full report is available here. Highlights include:
- United States officials believe Mr. Putin wants to damage the image of American democracy to make it less attractive to Russians and their neighbors.
- Notably, the report concludes that Russia sought not only to damage Hillary Clinton, whom it thought likely to win but actually tried to help elect Donald J. Trump.
- The C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A. agreed on nearly everything in the report, but here we see that the N.S.A. was less certain than the other agencies that Russia was trying to help Mr. Trump.
Putin saw this attack as payback.
An important insight into Mr. Putin’s thinking: He already blamed the United States for multiple campaigns against Russia, including the release of the Panama Papers, showing offshore accounts hiding the fortunes of some of his closest friends and allies, and the exposure of Russian athletes for doping. For him, this was payback.
- There is no evidence suggesting that the United States government had a role in releasing the Panama Papers, and while American officials complained of Russian doping, there is no basis to suggest that they fabricated evidence of it.
Did Putin intervene in the US election? It is entirely plausible, although evidence from the CIA (with its dubious record) and the FBI needs to be carefully scrutinized, whatever our feelings on Trump. And if the Democratic establishment pins the supposedly unthinkable calamity of Trump’s triumph on a foreign power, they will fail to learn the real lessons from their defeat.
The White House is taking the last couple of months of Obama’s presidency to launch attacks on numerous bloggers including Alisa Shevchenko, a talented young Russian hacker, known for working with companies to find vulnerabilities in their systems. She spends her winters in Asia, meditating and training in Thai kickboxing.
She is. also, the White House claims, guilty of helping Vladimir Putin interfere in the US election.
Her company was a surprise inclusion on the US sanctions list released last week, alongside top officers in Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency and two well-known criminal hackers. The company “provided the GRU with technical research and development,” according to the fact sheet released by the White House. No further details were given.
Shevchenko told the Guardian “she was furious at her company’s inclusion on the list and denied ever having knowingly worked for the Russian government. She communicated via encrypted email, from a location she said was a wild countryside area a few hours away from Bangkok”.
In answers that were defiant, and occasionally abrasive, she decried the “insane level of hysteria around the entire ‘Russian hacking’ story.”
Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump continues to seriously question the validity of the claims made by the national intelligence officials.