Twice in a matter of four decades, the DNC has been hacked.
Once, in 1972, in an incident known as Watergate, when a few prowlers connected to President Nixon’s reelection campaign broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters and attempted to wiretap phones and steal secret documents. Fast forward 44 years and the DNC succumbs to another break-in, but it would not be an enemy on American soil. The Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to undermine democracy and the electoral process.
Comparatively speaking, the timing could not be more similar. Watergate happened during a contentious time, when the country was embroiled in the Vietnam War and deeply divided at home. In 2016, the country found itself divided again, this time over presidential candidates and a growing racial divide.
Currently, the jury is still out on whether or not Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee and dumping its private emails to WikiLeaks played a serious role and swayed the outcome of the election. The intelligence community has found themselves in a lovers’ quarrel over the findings. The FBI is looking at the Russian hack as, can they prove it in court? While the CIA is weighing preponderance of evidence to help policymakers make sound decisions, but it doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.
On top of this, the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has said publicly, “the Russian government is not the source.” As such, the question now becomes was this a hack or a leak. A hack is where an outsider (think: Watergate) breaks in and steals information, while a leak is an insider stealing internal information and sharing it with outside groups (think: industrial espionage).
The CIA’s findings do not seem built on anything more than circumstantial evidence nor has there been any new information found since the election. In other words, the CIA’s conclusion is far from definitive and does not fully support the idea that Russia tipped the scales in America’s election to ensure a Trump victory.
As the MSM and Americans try to make sense of the CIA’s analysis of Russia playing a role in the presidential elections, it is important to note that, if the CIA is correct in their assessment of Putin’s motives toward our election, it would be a bulls eye for the history books. The odds may not be in the CIA’s favor, because they are the same organization that missed the Russian invasion of Crimea, the incursion into southern Ukraine, and Mr. Putin’s foray into Syria.
While the CIA may have missed the mark on Russia’s previous antics, the motive behind Russia’s cyber attack may not be too far fetched. Putin grew up as a spy and has made it clear that his desire is to undermine American interests around the globe. However, the scary reality of Russia being able to electronically insert themselves into the American democratic process is more alarming than a Trump victory.
The ability for Russia to hack into the DNC and monitor conversations and computer activity means the American political process may never be the same and, going forward, campaigns will have more to worry about than a little wiretapping and headquarters break-in by the opposition.
Regardless of Russia’s motives, Putin has made it abundantly clear that an attack on the power grid should be second on the list of America’s worries. Cyber attacks and political espionage are the new Watergate and, unfortunately, it seems 2016 was the beginning of a cyberwar on democracy. As it stands right now, 2018 may be the election cycle where campaigns trade in their digital communications for a typewriter and the post office.
Mary Anna Mancuso, Political Strategist and Founder of PoliticalHype.com. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.