The last few days have seen an upsurge in interest in the alleged 2016 election hacking by the Russian government. However, this interest has been largely one-sided, with the Democrats deeply interested in the implications of such activity by the Russians, while the Republicans have shown no desire to look into the matter – for obvious reasons. The divide continues into America’s intelligence and security agencies as well.
The FBI Versus the CIA
The announcement by the CIA on Friday that they had fairly strong evidence that the Russians under Vladimir Putin attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election process in the United States was yet another surprise in an already very odd election year.
But while the CIA has now become even more convinced – than it apparently already was – that the Russians were hacking our election process, the FBI has seemingly been dragging its heels in the matter. The two agencies are unable to agree about what happened.
For those in the know, this conflict between these two federal agencies is hardly a surprise. Even though they are supposedly on the same side – ours – the truth is that the FBI and the CIA have often treated one another as adversaries. This goes all the way back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover, who viewed the CIA with deep suspicion.
The Politicians as Well
But even more alarming for some is that high-level lawmakers in both parties had this information prior to the election and chose not to reveal it to the American public. Although truth be told, the Democrats and at least some of the Republicans did want to go public.
As reported by The Moderate Voice, Mitch McConnell and others in the United States Senate threatened to claim that the entire thing was politically motivated if anyone went public with what the CIA had already told them.
Even now, with the CIA saying it has more proof, these Republican voices are opposing further investigation. Two exceptions to this on the Republican side are Senators McCain and Graham, who – as reported by ABC News – have demanded a Senate select committee to look into the entire matter. Whether they will actually get such an investigation once Donald Trump is inaugurated is highly doubtful.
In rare bipartisan statement, McCAIN, GRAHAM, SCHUMER & REED say reports of Russian interference in election "should alarm every American" pic.twitter.com/WV253fynpi— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) December 11, 2016
The Donald Trump Response
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has rejected the entire notion that the election was compromised in some way by the Russians. His outrage at the suggestion of hacking and voter fraud committed by the Russians is ironic, since only days before the election he was himself insisting that the whole election process was rigged.
But once the shoe was on the other foot and Trump found himself the unexpected winner, the process suddenly seemed much more reliable and unsullied to him. Certainly, he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth – even if it is a Russian horse.
Of course, the Electors meeting in a few days have now heard the accusations of Russian interference. While they undoubtedly had heard the same rumors about this everyone else had before the 2016 election, it now seems to have more validity with the CIA backing it up.
Whether this will have any influence on their deliberations is an open question. But there were already rumblings about so-called “faithless” Electors turning their back on the decision of their home-state voters and rejecting Donald Trump. It’s possible that some will see these recent revelations by the CIA about Russian interference as the last straw. While they might not vote for Hillary Clinton, they might choose to vote for a more conventional Republican, such as Romney or McCain.
[Featured Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]