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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

If you believe that President-Elect Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election because of hacking on the part of Russia, then I've got some cheap ocean-front property in Nebraska to sell you.

My intention was to take a bit of a break this past December, clear my head from the nastiness of the 2016 election, and let the Christmas spirit re-energize my batteries.  I've slowed the blog to a crawl, with the intention of refocusing in 2017 on the international spread of terrorism.  Unfortunately, I've been obliged to occasionally deviate from that plan in order to shed some much-needed light on the actions and intentions of the lame-duck Barack Obama Administration.  Proceeding on the idea that if something is repeated often enough, it becomes fact, the Democrats continue to use different avenues in an attempt to "delegitimize" the incoming Trump Administration.  The Democratic Party continues to utilize the mainstream media as its military arm by deluging the public with stories about Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote and the Trump Administration's alleged ties to Russia.  Obama, never one to shy away from politicizing the tools of government, used sanctions against Russia and weak investigations by the intelligence community to validate the absurd notion that the Russian government, through the use of computer hacking, impacted the 2016 Presidential Election.  Juggling apples and oranges with great nerve, Obama managed to bring together three disparate elements: the WikiLeaks organization, Russia's history of hacking into US computer systems, and Donald Trump's 2016 decisive electoral victory.  Explaining the alleged plot takes a bit of effort, but I'm going to give it a try.

As a bit of background, WikiLeaks is the organization which is intent on releasing and publicizing as much US government classified intelligence as it can get its hands on.  Throughout 2016, WikiLeaks released various information which had been obtained from the emails of certain US government officials.  As the presidential election heated up, WikiLeaks focused on disseminating details which had been obtained through the hacking of John Podesta's email account (Podesta being Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chairman at the time).  The emails were embarrassing, but nothing which has been released to date should have caused any concern in the Clinton camp.  The real damage to her campaign was delivered by Clinton's illegal email server, and the concern that said server was used to share classified information with donors to the Clinton Foundation.  Be that as it may, The Obama Administration (and its media support network headed up by the New York Times and the Washington Post) is promoting the false narrative that the Russian government, in an effort to get Donald Trump into the White House, hacked the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton Campaign, and other Democratic useful targets, including, I assume, John Podesta.  The information that was allegedly obtained was then secretly passed on to WikiLeaks, who proceeded to release whatever details they considered damaging, at the most beneficial time for the Trump Campaign.  The end result, according to the Obama narrative, being that thousands of voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida chose to vote against Hillary Clinton because they were disturbed by the contents of the released emails.  Other bits and pieces of the allegation are difficult to decipher.  By accusing Russia of utilizing hackers to impact the 2016 election, does the Obama Administration mean to infer that the election offices of each and every State were under attack by Russian computer experts?  Were the Russians trying to change vote totals electronically, or was this effort limited to the targeting of the DNC and the Clinton Campaign, in order to obtain controversial email information which would cause enough of a scandal to cost Clinton the election?  I can't help but wonder exactly what the Russians might have discovered which would have been so damaging that it would have completely derailed the entire Clinton Campaign.

Please stick with me as I try and inject a bit of sanity into the conversation.  First and foremost, yes, the Russians are engaged in espionage which does not have our best interest at heart.  So are the Chinese, and our two new friends Cuba and Iran.  Anyone with even the slightest grasp of international diplomacy understands that countries are constantly spying on one another.  The real issue should not be if Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign, but why it took Donald Trump's unexpected electoral victory to finally get the Obama Administration interested in attempts by foreign nations to commit espionage against our government.  Put aside the bizarre idea that Russia was responsible for Trump victory for a second.  Without giving away any state secrets, I can guarantee you that the Chinese have been robbing us blind for decades through the use of espionage-related computer equipment.  Our Laboratories are under constant attack, and the numerous Universities that engage in highly classified Department of Defense research, are always a juicy target for Chinese.  In fact, the Obama Administration had been aware of targeted hacking operations by the Russians for months before last week's announcement of new sanctions.  It appears that Obama only became interested in this issue once a political angle was uncovered. 

At every opportunity, WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange has flatly denied that Russia is the source of the hacked emails in question.  In fact, one particular rumor that won't go away is that the emails were provided by a former DNC staffer who became disenchanted with the Clinton candidacy because of its treatment of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.  Regardless, the actions taken by the Obama Administration to "punish" Russia for interfering in our electoral process do nothing but damage the efforts at a smooth administrative transition.  Obama continues to stress the importance of cooperation and good faith whenever the media are about, but as the old cliché reminds us, actions speak louder than words. Donald Trump is the President-Elect and he deserves the opportunity to put together his Administration with as little distraction and interference as possible.  This Russian hacking-to-impact-the-election "Red Herring" is a nasty distraction at best, and an organized effort to delegitimize the incoming Administration at worst.  Regardless of the protests and the never-ending despicable commentary from various members of the entertainment community, the majority of Americans are looking forward to the Trump Administration, and with good reason.  Since the election, thousands of jobs that were headed overseas have decided to stay.  Our economy is set for an expansion that we haven't seen since the Reagan Presidency.  I would give anything to be a part of the incoming Trump Team; they have my resume and application (a little reminder never hurt!).  Trump earned the opportunity to lead this nation, and the American people deserve a smooth transition and a united government that serves the people, not vice-versa.  I spent my career as a member of the intelligence community and even as a civilian, I remain dedicated to disrupting any foreign influence in our government, regardless of the target.  From the evidence that I've seen presented to date, The Obama Administration's claim that Russian espionage-through-hacking impacted the 2016 election rings flat and very hollow.

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