Friday, January 13, 2017

What We Learned, or Didn't, from the 'Russian' Hackers

Of all the tantrums being thrown by the Democrats in their inability to accept defeat and move on, perhaps the most absurd is the Great Russian Hacking Scandal.
Did the Russians under express orders of Communist Party General Secretary... scratch that... President Vladimir Putin himself direct the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign?
Well, yeah, probably -- if we are to believe our (for the next two weeks) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who regrettably is not able to show the actual evidence to the public for fear of "compromising sources" or some such.
Clapper, it will be remembered, blatantly lied to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on March 13, 2013, when he replied to Senator Ron Wyden's question "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" with a resounding "no," which the DNI then doubled down on.
Poor Clapper got a bit of egg on his face, several dozen actually, only three months later when Edward Snowden revealed to the world that the NSA was collecting just such data on those millions of Americans via our cellphones.
But no matter.  Let's assume, arguendo, that James is telling the truth this time. After all, John McCain and Lindsey Graham assure us it's true.  (If you're interested in more on Clapper, I recommend the wryly, now at day 1397.)
Let's ignore too the well known fact that every country, friend or foe, with sufficient computer capability is cyberspying on as many allies and enemies as much as possible all the time. Let's also ignore the other well-known fact that the USA over the years has covertly monkeyed with the elections of other countries on several occasions, against friends and foes, most recently our supposed great ally Israel. It's no surprise Barack Obama would do just about anything in his power to upend someone he despised far more, until a few weeks ago, than Vladimir Putin -- Benjamin Netanyahu.
In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Obama spent more U.S. taxpayer money -- via his cut-out OneVoice -- to defeat Netanyahu than Putin ever did to defeat Hillary.
You know how I know? Hacking into the Podesta emails must have cost about five dollars -- okay, fifteen. Can you imagine this conversation?
FSB AGENT: Comrade, er, President Putin.  You will never believe this. We were able to obtain the emails of John Podesta, the campaign manager of Mrs. Clinton, with a simple "phishing" trick.
PUTIN:  Agent Shostakovich, do you want to go to Lubyanka?  No one is that stupid.  This is 2016.
Which leads me to the real question. What was learned by the American people, the Russians, or anybody else by the supposed Russian hack of the Hillary campaign and the DNC?  Let's break it down to three basic areas that appeared via WikiLeaks.
  1. The mainstream media was 99.9% in the pocket of the Democratic Party and their candidate Hillary Clinton.
  2. Backbiting goes on inside political campaigns.
  3. Democratic Party officials wanted Hillary, and absolutely not Bernie Sanders, to be the nominee .
Am I missing anything of importance? I don't think so. More importantly, was there anything in the WikiLeaks that anyone with an IQ in the proverbial triple digits wouldn't have assumed in the first place?  Not that I can think of.
Yes, it was amusing to read the details and imagine some scoundrels being embarrassed, but they really weren't affected in the end anyway. Glenn Thrush, then of Politico, a "reporter" literally caught submitting his articles to Podesta for approval in advance of publication, instead of being fired, got promoted to The New York Times. (The next Walter Duranty?)
So the whole thing was a big nothing. In any case, there wasn't anything there that would have changed an election, yet we still have a sudden brouhaha about the Russians doing something that they have been doing literally every day since the Cheka and even before with the czars' Okhrana. Those of us who have been to Russia or the Soviet Union know that spying is a lifestyle with them. I think we can assume we've been doing something back. This latest bit is nothing but a sideshow.
One last point: the Russians allegedly tried to hack into the Republican National Committee and failed. Wouldn't you prefer to be governed by people who know something about cybersecurity or at least took it seriously enough to protect their data? As Vladimir says in my mock-dialogue above, "This is 2016." Scratch that, 2017.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.

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