The breathless New Years Eve headlines were that President Obama retaliated against the Russians for “hacking the election.”
He ordered some 35 Russian personnel, variously described in the media as diplomats or intelligence analysts or spies, to leave the U.S. Two residential facilities or “compounds” they occupied have been seized and locked down by federal authorities.
But “the election” was NOT hacked.
Instead, emails were stolen from accounts belonging to the Democrat National Committee and the chairman of the Clinton campaign.
The establishment media herd has stampeded to publish hysterical but false accounts claiming the Russians, personally directed by Vladimir Putin, hacked the election in order to help Donald Trump win. These stories cite as their sources a “thirteen page report” from Homeland Security and the FBI.
The media and their Democrat party partners hope that busy Americans will have these two reactions to the phrase “thirteen page report:”
- They will assume it to be 13 pages of detailed evidence, proving that the Russians “hacked the election to help Trump win,” and
- They will decide it would take too much time and effort to plow through thirteen pages of governmentese jargon so they won’t look for it or attempt to read it.
The most declarative, clearest sentence from the 13 page report is on page 2:
The US Government confirms that two different Russian Intelligence Services actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party.
Again, this does not say “the election” or any voting machine or vote tabulating system was hacked. Only the emails of Democrat Party officials were hacked.
Anyone who was paying attention during the final weeks of the election already knows the personal Gmail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was compromised, and that thousands of his emails were stolen and then published online by Wikileaks. As we reported in detail here these emails were embarrassing but only served to confirm the impression made by the candidate herself that she was autocratic and contemptuous of the American people.
But stealing emails from Democrat party officials is not “hacking an election.”
Nowhere in this report is there even a hint that any voting machine or vote tabulating system was touched. The document does not claim or even infer that Putin was involved or that helping Trump win was the mission of those who stole the emails. Trump’s name does not appear. Putin’s name doesn’t appear. The words “Democratic party” don’t appear.
The report doesn’t explain how they reached the conclusion that Russian Intelligence services were involved. The only evidence offered to connect Russia to the theft of the emails is that the method, “spearphising” or tricking people into revealing their user names and passwords, is consistent with a method used by cyber criminals believed to be Russian or associated with Russian Intelligence Services.
But anyone, anywhere in the world, can attempt to steal information using the same method. Indeed, virtually everyone with an email address has been targeted by so-called spearphishing attempts. Last week I received what I knew immediately was a spearphishing email because it told me to go to a web site and enter the username and password for my account at a bank where I don’t have an account.
The first three pages of the report are dense, jargon filled prose purporting to discuss the theft of emails but without actually revealing anything significant. The remaining ten pages are devoted to generic, non-specific advice for network administrators on how to prevent hacking. Nowhere in those remaining pages is there any mention of the Democrats’ stolen emails or the election.
So in reality, the “13 page report” is only three pages, and even those are designed to plant perceptions without providing any factual backup.
Yet the New York Times, Washington Post, and several other establishment news organizations continue to claim “the election” was “hacked,” an obvious attempt at deception, to plant in the minds of Americans the perception that the wrong candidate won the election because Russian hackers, directed by Putin somehow altered the vote counts.
And apparently they’ve had some success. A recent poll shows half of Democrat voters believe Russians tampered with vote totals to get Trump elected.
These so-called “mainstream news” sources have recently been on a campaign, sanctimoniously grumbling about sites like Liberty works and hundreds of others they accuse of publishing “fake news.” Some media personalities have even called for government intervention, in violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.
But their malevolent attempt to undermine confidence in the election and to delegitimize the Trump Administration before it begins is the worst sort of fake news.