2008 December: President Obama nominates Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. 2009 Jan. 13: Reports say the clintonemail.com domain was established. Jan. 21: Senate confirms Clinton as secretary of state. March 18: Clinton will later name this as the date she began using a private server for government business. 2012 Sept. 11: Islamic extremists launch […]
The following is a news analysis
Let me be clear: Do I think it’s possible Russia tried to influence the outcome of our elections? Absolutely. In fact, I consider it quite likely. Not because of the unsubstantiated conclusions made in the press, but because intelligence officials I trust tell me that Russia and other nations have attempted to influence our elections for decades, the same way we’ve often dabbled in influencing foreign elections.
However, the disproportionate media and political attention paid to Russia’s alleged efforts in 2016—and to the Russia threat generally—smacks of politics and propaganda. For example, top former Obama intel sources tell me they consider N. Korea, by far, the biggest foreign threat to the U.S. today. But N. Korea is barely mentioned in news reports. These intel officials put Iran and China next on the threat list—both, again, rarely discussed on the news, relative to Russia. The intel experts also mention ISIS and Islamist extremist terrorism as higher on the list than Russia.
Further, when it comes to election-tampering, some intel sources consider China to be a more egregious, proven offender. If you’ve watched politics a little while, you may remember the scandal broken by The Washington Post in 1996. The Post reported evidence of China directing contributions to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the presidential contest between Bill Clinton and Republican Bob Dole—a violation of U.S. law. Eventually, Taiwan-born Maria Hsia, a fundraiser for Clinton Vice President Al Gore, was convicted of illegal campaign fundraising; Taiwan-born Charlie Trie was convicted of improperly attempting to give large donations to the Clinton’s legal defense fund; Taiwan-born Johnny Chung was convicted of violating election law after making large donations to the DNC (which were later returned); and Chinese-born John Huang—a DNC fundraiser and Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration—was convicted of campaign finance fraud.
More recently, Obama administration officials reported China has conducted extensive cyber-attacks against the U.S., amounting to billions of dollars in costs in terms of stolen information and destroyed computer networks. But the Obama administration took no actions against China.
Attempted interference in our elections is a serious matter no matter who commits it. But when the media and political response is asymmetric, it makes sense to pay attention to your cognitive dissonance. There’s reason to suspect a narrative is being placed before the public for ulterior motives.
For more on these topics, pre-order my new book: “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think and How You Vote.”