'Morning Joe' Explains Why Trump Is Such an Easy Mark for the Kremlin

Former FBI agent Clinton Watts testified during the Senate Intelligence Committee's first public hearing Thursday on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. On Friday, he was a featured guest on "Morning Joe."


"For the Russians, it was dumb luck that they stumbled onto a presidential candidate that was stupid enough to pick up their fake news," Scarborough observed.

"It's exactly the point of Russian active measures," Watts agreed. "To sow confusion inside your enemy, so they're fighting amongst themselves, so that you can maneuver on them." 

He also weighed in on why the Obama administration failed to act last summer when information about Russian hacking became available. 

"I think the big [mistake of] the Obama administration is that they didn't understand that hacking drives influence," he said. "They did not understand that the whole purpose of the hacking was to influence the campaign, and to arm Russian propaganda so they could influence the campaign."

Watts blamed the "disjointed nature" of U.S. government rather than the FBI directly, but noted, "We've been so distracted on terrorism over the last three to five years with the ISIS threat that no one is looking at why they really want to hack this information." 

Watch:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

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