US Election: Russia Blamed for DNC Leaks
Andrei AKULOV | 30.07.2016 | OPINION

US Election: Russia Blamed for DNC Leaks

The accusations that Moscow orchestrated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leaks has hit headlines. This view is quickly emerging inside the intelligence and law enforcement agencies. It is also gaining currency within the US administration. 

The FBI has opened an investigation into the allegations that Russian intelligence services were behind the DNC hack. Several FBI officials anonymously told The Daily Beast on July 25 that Russia was the top suspect.

The service suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the DNC to steal emails in a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump. The emails were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on July 22.

American intelligence agencies have reportedly told the White House, they have «high confidence» it was Russia.

The Washington Post reported last month that the DNC had been broken into twice by hackers linked to Russia.

Nearly 20,000 emails and more than 8,000 attachments from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have been released by WikiLeaks. The emails showed that DNC officials explored ways to undermine US Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign against Clinton and raised questions about whether Sanders, who is Jewish, was really an atheist. The leaks exposed the degree to which the Democratic apparatus favored Hillary Clinton over her primary rival and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, on the eve of the convention’s first day. It is not known how exactly the documents made their way to WikiLeaks. But a large sampling was published before the WikiLeaks release by several news organizations and someone who called himself «Guccifer 2.0», believed by US investigators to be an agent of Russia’s military intelligence service – the GRU. This affirmation is not substantiated. There is nothing to confirm it. It has been reported a number of times that «Guccifer 2.0» operates in Romania and has no relation to Russia.

US State Secretary John Kerry even raised the question with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the ASEAN summit in Laos. His Russian counterpart refused to take it seriously but Kerry said he intends to see «precisely what those facts are».

On July 26, President Obama waded into the controversy saying the hack of party records was «characteristic of Russian government behavior» and suggesting a potential motive for that country to meddle in the US presidential election. «What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems but private systems», Obama told NBC.

«What the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that – I can’t say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin», the President stated.

Obama’s statement aligns with what Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said. According to him, the Russian government was behind last week’s release of DNC documents on the website WikiLeaks as a way to help Trump.

Trump campaign officials have called the allegations «absurd» and a distraction from the embarrassing content of the emails. According to the Republican candidate, the allegations as part of a pattern by the Clinton campaign of «lie after lie».

Russia’s presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has vehemently denied accusations that the Russians were behind the DNC hack, saying «I am completely ruling out the possibility that the government or any government agencies were tied to this». «We are again seeing these maniacal attempts to exploit the Russian theme in the US election campaign», Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Hillary Clinton’s camp appears to raise the ballyhoo on purpose. Anti-Russian rhetoric is often used during the election campaign. She has nothing to lose. Her contribution into the deterioration of the Russia-US relationship is immense. In 2011, Hillary Clinton meddled into the Russian election.

In 2012, she described efforts to promote greater economic integration in Eurasia as «a move to re-Sovietize the region».

This way, the US became an opponent of what was the main direction of Russia’s foreign policy.

Ever since leaving the State Department in 2013, her harsh rhetoric about Russia raised eyebrows even among hawks. She reportedly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler at a California fundraiser in 2014.

Meeting London Mayor Boris Johnson in 2015, she faulted European leaders for being «too wimpy» about challenging the Russian President.

Donald Trump is a strong opponent and Hillary Clinton needs anti-Russia rhetoric to distract voters’ attention from her own dismal record as a Senator and State Secretary.

It’s a sign of Democratic candidate’s weakness. With so many scandals following Hillary Clinton, it’s only natural she wants to paint herself as a hero standing up to the opponent accused of having close ties to Russian interests.

It would also serve the purpose of uniting the Democrats ranks at the time the party is split between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters.

Anything would do to smear Donald Trump and bring into spotlight the issues that have no relation to Clinton’s previous foreign policy record or sloppy email practices. Confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, Hillary Clinton tries to blame Russia for each and everything that goes awry. It’s a natural instinct. Evidently, Democratic Party officials are using the specter of Russian involvement to distract from the content of the emails, which have greatly damaged the party’s unity and image.

Tricks and concoctions appear not to be very helpful when it comes to polls.

The anti-Russian campaign has been so far useless. Donald Trump is leading. Many people believe that Hillary Clinton’s win in November will greatly complicate US relations with Russia and China. It’s a well-known fact that Americans are tired of costly military interventions abroad, such as the failed involvements in Iraq and Libya. They should think twice before they cast their votes for the Democratic candidate immediately responsible for those military ventures. After all, Russia did not make the US rush headlong to get mired in never ending military conflicts.

Finally, the real issue is what’s in the emails. The Russians did not write the emails that should have never been written at all. The DNC did. The Democratic Party and US intelligence agencies rush to blame others without any evidence whatsoever to provide instead of getting their own house in order. «Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all».

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