The Missing Point in the Russian Hacking Story


Any way you look at it, this information, if true, is disconcerting:

Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome.

The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials – including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election – contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House.

To some extent, what follows might be considered inflammatory, so I want to preface it with the disclaimer that my intention is to express a feeling.  That feeling may be in need of correction, but acknowledging it would be the first step toward doing that.

I figured out what the missing piece of this whole controversy is for me.  The information about Russian “hacking” is just sort of being thrown out there without a clear “and so.”  Consequently, the effort just seems nakedly political, without a point.  In general, one would expect the point of an opposition-party Congressional inquiry to be the failure of the current administration, whether forgivable or not, to guard against such actions.  Prompted by the executive branch, the point might be to further some policy for a response, as in the build up to war.

But this just seems like a post facto rationalization why something political happened that the people who try to predetermine our electoral outcomes didn’t foresee and to throw mud on the incoming administration.  It’s all just so bizarre, and frankly, unless the Russians did something more like real hacking than releasing true information about the Democrats, it isn’t crazy to feel like they were — albeit by sheer coincidence — more on the side of the American people than those who hold us in such contempt that they think it’s self evidently corrupt when their status as our ruling class is challenged.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Here is what I can’t understand. My best information is that the Russians “donated” millions to the Clinton Foundation, prior to her agreeing to the sale of Uranium to the Russians. If they already had Clinton on the pad, and she was cooperating, why would they prefer Trump?

  • Max
  • The Misfit

    Welcome to Vichy America. Or, just the place where old empires go. What is the saying? About being united or divided? I think you have perfectly expressed that. The Max comment is great. I wish I was in the bridge selling business.

  • Mike678

    I watched the Congressional testimony and was less than impressed. Did the Russians hack? You bet they did–they have been hacking us for years. The testimony was long on vague inferences, e.g., ‘the most we have seen to date’ (how so? Twice as much? 5% more?) and so forth. The question I have is if this is so harmful, why hasn’t anything be done about it in the past? Why, since 21M people info was stolen in the OPM hack years ago have we sat on our collective hands?

  • Justin Katz

    To be accurate: 1. I wrote about feelings toward Russian activities, not conclusions about their allegiances, and 2. I made it a comparative measure of Russians versus elitist progressives who don’t believe opposing views are legitimate. The progressive mainstream media and academics, for example, have been slathering the public discourse with fake news for decades. A few obviously bogus stories on Facebook aren’t going to counterbalance that.
    As for the popular vote, I don’t agree that driving high vote volumes in heavily progressive areas (through manipulation, bribery, and other typical left-wing electoral strategies) indicates national support. Just look at an electoral map.
    But that brings us back to the first paragraph. Progressives are the ones who want to nationalize all decisions so they can sit on the coasts and tell everybody else what they must and cannot do. I’d suggest that it’s actually not that difficult to be more on the side of the American people than such a crew.

    • Philip Spadola

      You’re the one missing the point. Dismissing the popular vote for the Democratic candidate for President as “high vote volumes” and suggesting that because citizens that disagree with you went to their polling places and cast their votes for a candidate you don’t like they are not legitimate voters I do not contest the fact that the republican candidate won the election but I don’t think you can hand him a mandate except for the fact that you have now in arguing against those who oppose Russian hacking are in affect giving Trump an embrace and a big wet kiss. Don’t try in the near future to try to distance yourself from your support for this dangerous choice for President.

      • Justin Katz

        I’ve never been a big believer in this “mandate” talk. It’s always struck me as an attempt of progressives to insist that officials on their side don’t have to pay attention to the rest of the country and officials on the other side should be forbidden from doing anything.
        To the extent that there is a “mandate,” though, it comes not from Trump’s victory (or not only from it), but from the GOP’s taking both chambers of Congress and a majority of state governments, as well. They absolutely have a mandate to direct policy in a completely different direction, and if it doesn’t work, then they’ll lose their mandate and their offices. If they don’t even try, they’ll just lose their offices.
        As for Trump, again, he is a problem, and I’ve never liked him, but progressives are so vicious, so elitist, so insistent that nobody can disagree with them, and so prepared to silence people and work to disenfranchise them and their policies are so destructive of society, the economy, and the human spirit, that Trump is easily preferable insofar as he helps undo the damage the progressives have done.