Why the Media's Emphasis on Russian Hacking Distracts from the Value of the Leaks That Exposed Corruption

According to unnamed officials a classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency blames the Russian government for, among other things, providing WikiLeaks with all those hacked emails during the run-up to 2016 presidential election. One source referred to this conclusion as the “consensus view” of the intelligence community. Though if that’s the case then someone forgot to tell all those agents at the FBI who, in their desire to obtain proof beyond a reasonable doubt (imagine that), have up to now declined to make a definitive statement.


In an interview with John Pilger WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange dismissed the claim of Russian Hackers as “neo-McCarthy hysteria” and stated that “the Russian government is not the source.” Likewise, President-elect Donald Trump also challenged the impression of absolute certainty commenting that “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.” In response to Trump the New York Times quoted former spy master Michael Hayden. Hayden remarked: “To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions — wow.”

Note the unspoken assumption throughout the media’s coverage. The press does little to contest the notion that the CIA deals exclusively in the realm of facts and is the sole arbiter of what’s true and what isn’t. It’s reminiscent of the posture taken by the CIA’s original regime change mastermind, Allen Dulles, who claimed that “it [the CIA] alone has the world picture.”

Far be it from your humble narrator to question the truckloads secret evidence that the intelligence community has ostensibly piled up to makes its airtight case but I do recall that the argument they made for the invasion of Iraq turned out to be a pretty flimsy. The intelligence community provided briefings that enabled catastrophic decisions, burning through several trillion dollars. What James Risen called “one of the largest transfers of wealth from public to private hands in American history.” Over a decade later there are millions of innocent civilians in the Middle East who are still paying for the mistakes of America’s political leadership.

It’s highly likely that the flurry of reports on alleged Russian hacking has more to do with a rejection of the status quo than with the act of clandestine meddling. After all, the United States has a long and storied history of conducting aggressive interventions abroad. In the months running up to the November election the bulk of the American Deep State, with very few exceptions, aligned itself with Hillary Clinton. That the election resulted in something other than the Deep State’s first choice is viewed by the donor class as unacceptable, and therefore it must be depicted as the product of foreign subversion.

As far as the power elite are concerned the real issue, the development that gives them pause, is that leaks granted the public an unfettered view of systemic corruption on behalf of an establishment politician who, with her husband, made over $150 million by doing nothing more than giving speeches to corporate leaders. And behind closed doors, where she thought she was off the record, Clinton promised that her private stance would benefit executives despite her public stance. What the election of 2016 really gave us was a clear view of the oligarchy exercising their influence. Even after the winner has completed their victory lap, witness conspicuous fingerprints of power being exercised.

Finally, keep in mind that when it comes to cyberattacks attribution can be extremely difficult if not impossible. The Pentagon and its patronage networks in the defense sector have invested heavily in developing tools that are specifically designed to thwart forensic tracing. It would be naïve to assume that other countries aren’t doing likewise. Counterfeiting digital artifacts, forging logistical signatures, and adopting tools used by other groups are all de rigueur for state-sponsored hackers. Hence, in the cyber realm take everything you hear from spy masters with a grain of salt because executing false-flag attacks is relatively easy.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.