Archive for December, 2016

Who hacked the DNC?

Everyone seems to be convinced that the Russians hacked the DNC and other Democratic Party entities in an attempt to throw the election to Donald Trump. But did they really do it? Perhaps not. A cyber-attack of this sort could be construed as an act of war or at least grounds for serious economic sanctions. Would the Russians really take such a risk knowing, as surely they would, that they would be found out? I am dubious. The Russians are certainly capable of meddling in the affairs of other countries but they are not, as a rule, reckless about it. So that raises the question: if Russia did not do it, who did?

I think we can rule out a couple other state actors with the ability to do so. China would seem to have little to gain from a Trump presidency given his open hostility toward them and overtures to Taiwan. The same is true of North Korea and Iran. Israel is a possibility given their right-wing government and antipathy toward Secretary Clinton, but they are so dependent upon US financial and military air that it is hard to see that they would take such a risk.

Perhaps the answer is closer at hand. Remember that shortly before the election, FBI Director James Comey wrote a letter to Congress implying, falsely, that he had damning evidence against Ms. Clinton. Many, including Nate Silver, suggest that his actions gave the election to Mr. Trump. Surely the FBI has the means to hack the Democratic entities that were attacked and, one presumes, the ability to cover their tracks. While it is distressing to think that another country intervened in our election in favor of a candidate who clearly is not in our national interest, the possibility that this was, in effect, a coup d’état from within our own government is far more frightening. Further evidence that this might have been the case is the unprecedented influence of right-wing senior military officers in the putative Trump administration. Before we rush to condemn the Russians for interfering in our democracy, perhaps we should look to see whether we have a democracy left at all.