I strongly recommend reading Josh Holland’s piece on the significance of Russia’s ratfucking of the 2016 elections in its entirety, but this is especially good:
For some on the left, including a number of voices at The Nation, the real story involves one or more of the following: Democrats hyping a story line in order to excuse their embarrassing loss to Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton loyalists defending their candidate from the same charge; rogue elements within our intelligence agencies either fabricating or exaggerating Russian involvement to undermine Trump’s legitimacy after he compared them to Nazis, or those same elements of the “deep state”—inveterate cold warriors—sabotaging Trump’s efforts to bring about détente with Moscow.
But these narratives don’t hold up when viewed in a larger geopolitical context. It’s unlikely that in 2015 British intelligence tipped off US spy agencies about those suspicious contacts because it wanted to absolve Hillary Clinton for her future loss to Donald Trump. The Dutch aren’t interested in what lessons the Democratic Party took away from their defeat, nor are the Lithuanians invested in the idea that Bernie would have won. And it’s highly unlikely that Germany, which was torn apart during the Cold War, is chomping on the bit to launch a new one.
He could just drop the mic there, but it’s also worth noting that Russia’s interference is a much more relevant problem going forward than flaws in the campaign of someone who will never run for president again:
In recent months, one intelligence official after another has testified before Congress that the Russians will take the lessons they learned in the US election last year, and in previous campaigns elsewhere, and use them again in the future. Last week, CNN reported that, “emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response” to its attack on the 2016 election, “Russian spies are ramping up their intelligence-gathering efforts in the US, according to current and former US intelligence officials who say they have noticed an increase since the election.” According to the report, “US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business.” Former director of national intelligence James Clapper warned on CNN about potential Russian intervention in the 2018 midterm elections. “They are going to stretch the envelope as far as they can to collect information and I think largely if I can use the military phrase, prep the battlefield for 2018 elections,” he said.
The fact that there’s a significant amount of skepticism on both the left and the right is blunting calls to prepare for the next attack. The president has hesitated to even acknowledge that this is a serious issue. And, while a recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice found that just $400 million invested in replacing paperless voting machines with machines that read paper ballots—less than the Pentagon spent last year on military bands—would help secure our election infrastructure, no such funding is in the works. In fact, in late June Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to defund the Election Assistance Commission, which Ari Berman says is “the only federal agency that helps states make sure their voting machines aren’t hacked.” The level of concern should be even higher now that we have evidence that the Russian military intelligence did target election systems specifically: The Intercept reported last month that leaked NSA documents showed that Russian military intelligence launched cyber-attacks against an election-software vendor’s internal systems. A subsequent report by Bloomberg said that US investigators had found evidence that “Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states.”
This is an appalling piece of McCarthyism and red-baiting designed to build support for an armed invasion of Moscow, and I don’t know why the Nation isn’t publishing the careful, sober analysis of Patrick Lawrence instead. Of course, I full a support investigation.
…Greg Sargent has more on why this remains a serious problem.