Thursday, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee under oath. Clapper was specifically asked by Chairman John McCain if the Russians had changed any of the vote counts in the election for the presidency between Clinton and Trump. “They did not alter vote counts in the U.S. election.” was the response of Clapper; furthermore, he said “We had no way of gauging the impact that – certainly the intelligence community cannot gauge the impact – it [Russian cyber activities] had on the choices the electorate made.”
Now Clapper was under oath and made it clear that the Russians DID NOT HACK THE ELECTION in favor of Trump. There simply was no evidence to support that assertion. So why did CNN report this in a news story:
“US intelligence has received new information following the election that gave agencies increase confidence that Russia carried out the hack and did so, in part, to help Trump win….Officials said this was just one of multiple indicators to give them high confidence of both Russian involvement and Russian intentions. Officials reiterated that there is no single intercepted communication that qualifies as a ‘smoking gun’ on Russia’s intention to benefit Trump candidacy or to claim credit for doing so.”
There are a couple of problems with the CNN reporting. CNN continued to use the word “hack” even though Clapper stated under oath there is NO evidence that vote counts were altered or manipulated. It is a misleading story because of the use of the word hack.
Within the same sentence where the word “hack” was used, CNN claimed the security agencies were confident the Russians were trying to help Trump. Clapper was asked by Senator Cotton about this idea that Russia wanted to help Trump win the election. Cotton pointed out that Trump on the campaign trail proposed increasing the defense budget, accelerate nuclear modernization, accelerate ballistic missile defenses and expand oil and gas production which would “harm Russia’s economy.” Cotton stated that “Hillary Clinton opposed or at least was not enthusiastic about all of these measures.”
Senator Cotton then asked a crucial question of Clapper, “Would each of these put the United States in a stronger strategic position against Russia?” Clapper responded, “Certainly anything we do to enhance our military capabilities – absolutely.” The response from Clapper demonstrated that Trump’s plans to rebuild the US military poses the greatest threat to Russia and it didn’t make sense that they would favor Trump in the election. Cotton then stated the obvious, “…Trump is not the best candidate for Russia.”
But there are additional problems with the CNN story. Note that they constantly use the word “officials” as their source but never identify who the “officials” are. Strange that they don’t say it was Clapper or one of the security directors who testified. Who are the officials?
Add to the list of mysterious officials this line: “…there is no single intercepted communication that qualifies as a ‘smoking gun’ on Russia’s intention to benefit Trump’s candidacy ….” Obviously we are spying on Russia because CNN acknowledged that we are hacking Russian communications when they wrote “no single intercepted communication”.
Finally, there is the idea of Russian motive. Democrats and the liberal news media assert that the Russians hacked John Podesta’s e-mails to help Trump win the presidency. Yet this is in direct contradiction to Clapper’s testimony because Senator Cotton asked Clapper what was the motivation behind Russia’s cyberattack. Clapper said there was “more than one motive”. When pressed by Cotton to specify what the motive was, Clapper acknowledged that ascertaining motives of foreign leaders was a hard task. In short, they were guessing and had NO hard evidence.
So the Russians DID NOT HACK THE ELECTION but there are indicators (not evidence) that they may have hacked john Podesta’s e-mails. Big difference!