There’s only one question here, and the increasingly wearisome public discussion rarely comes close to zeroing in on it. Countries spy on each other and always have. The technology changes but the game is the same. The Russians have been trying to influence our affairs to their advantage at least since World War II. And we’ve returned the favor. (It would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t.) This is nothing new. And will continue in both directions. (Until Britain became less important and America more, the Russians tried to influence the Brits, and vice versa — “The Great Game,” as Kipling styled it.)
With the current technology our enemies have the capability not only to engage in mischief but to do actual harm. Power systems. Financial systems. Other critical stuff can be cyber-sabotaged. So the only important question is what should we do to defend ourselves against this sort of thing (defense here may also require some offense).
The idea that what the Russians did helped Trump because they wanted him at 1600 rather than Hillary is a transparent political ruse. It’s part of the many-headed attempt to hobble the new administration. First of all, there’s no reason to believe that any country that wishes us ill would want to have a strong American president (Trump) rather than a weak one (Clinton). Second, assuming the Russkies did make John Podesta’s emails available, if anyone decided to vote for Trump rather than Clinton on the basis of what was said in the emails, it was because of the offensive things said in the emails, not because the Russians made them available. The reaction would have been the same if the emails had been dumped by the Eskimos, Navy Relief, or the League of Women Voters.
Well, okay, maybe there is a second question. Do we really need 17 (count em — 17!) intelligence agencies?
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