Catfight in Washington Over Russian Meddling

There are a few simple facts you must understand to appreciate our latest “news” obsession, the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

The DNC is a private political enterprise. Russia cannot be trusted. The U.S. media is damaged due to its mishandling of this past presidential election. WikiLeaks is a double-edge sword, and double-speak is the native language of D.C. The facts may be simple, but from where many Americans are sitting, the reaction by some is ridiculous. Separately, each of the facts presents a problem, combined they make for a perfect storm.

We find ourselves in the midst of this latest hullabaloo as our country is faced with a new political STD (Stop the Donald), the latest bogus superbug to affect many on the political left (most of whom are still recovering from BDS – Bush Derangement Syndrome). It is not just the left suffering from an election induced affliction. Some on the political right have contracted a case of “Caspian Cooties,” of which symptoms include singing “To Russia with Love” aloud, while swooning over Vladimir Putin. 2017 started where 2016 ended, firmly entrenched in the “insane” column. This preposterous adoration for Putin is just as unnerving as the irrational response to the election of Donald Trump.

The DNC is a private entity responsible for its own actions. The DNC failed to protect its data and it was hacked. The DNC was caught red-handed acting in bad faith toward one of its own candidates (Sen. Sanders) and talking in less than favorable prose about voters. Pandora’s Box is open and there is no shutting it. However, the other fact missed by many is that the act of stealing one’s communications is illegal. Granted, the information was newsworthy, but if the tables were turned and this happened to the Republican National Committee, it would be screaming as well. To allow an illegal act of this magnitude to go unpunished would set an unacceptable precedent.

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks emerged due to the lack of transparency by world governments, and the failure of the free press to hold all parties accountable for improper acts. WikiLeaks filled a void created by an arrogant press. WikiLeaks is dangerous, and in many ways, just as arrogant as the press it despises. There are many stories about WikiLeaks that should concern us, but the following story stands out for many.

In a well-documented exchange, Assange was confronted with the scenario that the release of some information by WikiLeaks would expose Afghans who had cooperated with the U.S. military. Assange’s responded, “Well, they’re informants, so, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” Sadly, Assange got his wish.

Taliban leader Zabihullah Mujahid obtained 92,000 U.S. intelligence reports, some containing the names of U.S.-friendly operatives. Mujahid publicly stated the “U.S. spies” would be hunted down and punished. As someone who reluctantly linked to WikiLeaks, I am well aware there are some people associated with WikiLeaks who have good intentions. However, Assange is not worthy of our praise.

I can assure you Putin and his Russian henchmen are enjoying this farce. Putin could not have written a better movie script if he had the greatest screenwriters in the world. If President Obama and President-elect Trump believe they have Putin where they want him, they are mistaken. Anytime our country is at odds with itself, Putin wins.

Putin is a dangerous person with a master plan to restore Russian power. The Russian government wants America, the European Union and NATO destroyed. Putin is intent on sowing disorder, and he is using propaganda and cyber-warfare to help achieve that end. The last thing we need to do is help Putin.

Putin is responsible for jailing members of the Russian media and his opposition, and at times killing them. Putin invaded and took over a sovereign country (Crimea), and is creeping farther into Ukraine. Putin’s forces shot down an unarmed civilian aircraft in 2014. In June 2016, forces loyal to Putin beat up an American diplomat. Putin grew stronger because our country under President Obama failed to respond appropriately. We only serve to compound those mistakes by heaping tribute and believing one word Putin has to say. Maybe Putin did not have anything to do with the hack, but we should not as a country let him off the hook that easily.

I believe President-elect Trump understands Putin, but not entirely. I also believe Trump is correct by approaching the information from our intelligence community with a healthy dose of skepticism. But that skepticism should remain behind closed doors, where Trump can hold the intelligence community accountable. The intelligence community is the president’s eyes and ears to the world. Our country needs these organizations. It is clear Trump felt Obama, and maybe some in the intelligence community, were trying to discredit the election results, tainting his presidency.

The intelligence community and President Obama should have been more discreet in how they released the information, including the timing, the substance and in the language they used. President-elect Trump should have presented his opposition in a manner that did not discredit our intelligence community. As a matter of principle, no one in our government should heap any praise on Putin or Assange, especially the incoming president.

This is not about transparency at this point. That ship sailed a long time ago. All this information would have eventually made its way into the light of day, but that is not what’s happening. This is a catfight, lacking discipline, intellect and commonsense. We are witnessing a turf war, mixed with bruised egos and adults acting like spoiled children.

The political left needs to stop whining about the email hack, falsely believing it had any effect on the election results. The DNC misjudged the mood of the American people and put the worst person up as their candidate, Hillary Clinton. However, the hack was a crime and is deserving of a criminal investigation should the DNC choose to do so.

Whether the intelligence data is factual, politically motivated or wrong in any fashion is not the primary issue at this point. Our representatives, at every level, should have taken this behind closed doors, only emerging when they had a united front, even if that front is “we are not sure.” The media, attempting to live up to its watchdog status, continued with its haphazard, feeble reporting. Putin and Assange could not have planned this chaos any better. It does not matter if they were behind this activity or not, the result is the same: A divided nation in conflict with itself while bad actors smile from their perch like Cheshire cats.

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