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.

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