Many questions have been raised about Russia’s role in the 2016 US Presidential election. Doubts have also been raised about possible contacts the Donald Trump campaign team had with the Russian Government.
Does Russian Nonchalance, Provoke the US More?
Many questions have been raised about Russia’s role in the 2016 US Presidential election. Doubts have also been raised about possible contacts the Donald Trump campaign team had with the Russian Government. These allegations have dominated US headlines for close to a year and frayed relations between the new President and US Intelligence agencies, as well as between the President and the media.
How has the US Suffered?
On the basis of allegations, of contacts with the Russian Intelligence officers, Donald Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manafort resigned, in January 2016. In July 2016, WikiLeaks published about 28,000 e-mails, which had been hacked from the Democrat National Convention (DNC) server. On the basis of the leaks, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schutz and three other senior DNC staff members resigned, after issuing a public apology to Bernie Sanders, the Democrat candidate who lost to Hillary Clinton. In Feb 2017, barely 24 days into office, President Trump’s NSA Lt Gen Michael Flynn, resigned allegedly for misreporting his contacts with Russian officials to the Vice President. Now US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in the hot seat, with allegations of having mislead the Senate Confirmation Committee, about contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Expulsion of Russian Diplomats
On 29 Dec 17, President Barack Obama in one of his last Presidential actions, expelled 35 Russian diplomats, for their alleged involvement in interference with the US election. Unexpectedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not reciprocate, saying he would rather wait for the new dispensation, to take office.
US Intelligence Assessment
In Jan 2017, immediately prior to President Trump taking office, the conclusions of the CIA, FBI and NSA, were made public. Four major conclusions of the assessment were: -
President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the Russian campaign, to influence the US election.
The Russian intention was to undermine public faith in the US democratic process.
Also, to denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability.
As the campaign emerged, Russian intelligence developed a clear preference for Donald Trump.
No evidence to substantiate the assessment was put forth, in the public domain.
Russia denies the allegations; but real or otherwise, the US assessment concedes a major victory to Russian cyber intelligence. If intelligence agencies, are indeed capable of influencing a US Presidential election, is it time to secure the medium (Internet), which enables such cyber activities, or at least, follow secure practices that prevent, such volatile leakages. In some perverse way, we appear to be shooting the messenger, rather than taking the message.