As has been the case since the Russian government was first accused of working to undermine American confidence in the U.S. presidential election process last October, the Kremlin continued to deny the latest round of allegations levied their way in last week’s intelligence briefings to both the current and incoming American presidents.
“These are baseless allegations substantiated with nothing, done on a rather amateurish, emotional level. We still don’t know what data have been used by those who come up with these unfounded accusations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to reporters during a conference call over the weekend.
“We still categorically reject any involvement of Moscow, any involvement of official and unofficial persons in the Russian Federation in the hacker attacks,” he continued.
The American intelligence community has a reached a nearly unanimous assessment of Russian involvement in the hacking of prominent officials within the Democratic Party. President Elect Donald Trump has continued to downplay any effect such hacking may have had on the outcome of the election, but did refer to his meeting with intelligence officials as “constructive” before adding that he intended to establish an anti-cyber crime task force within his first ninety days in office.
Russian officials have continually denied any involvement in said hacking, but U.S. intelligence reports suggest that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, was directly involved in the establishment of the hacking program intended to hurt the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton’s, chances at winning the election. They also claim to have identified the sources of the hacked data and tied them to third-party sites like Wikileaks where the stolen data was then distributed.
“What we see is … that all of this looks like is a full-scale witch hunt,” Peskov said. “We understand that our US colleagues, during various stages of their history, have gone through such witch hunts, we remember these stages of history, we know that they are replaced with more sober experts, more sober approaches that are after all aimed at a dialogue, not at emotional fits,” Peskov added.
No allegations have been made regarding Russian tampering with the actual voting process, rather the campaign was designed to disseminate leaked e-mails and other damaging information about Clinton and her campaign as part of an effort to discredit her in the eyes of the American people. It is worth noting, however, that none of the stolen content released was fabricated. While such a hack is illegal, Hillary Clinton and her staff have largely not been held accountable for the content in said e-mails in the press, which has chosen to focus primarily on the hacking itself.
Russian involvement in the creation and dissemination of fake new stories, however, has also been alleged, and while not illegal, such actions do represent a distinct effort to undermine the American election process. Prominent Democrats have oft accused a combination of Russian hacking and fake news stories for Clinton’s failure to garner victory over the dark horse Republican candidate in the electoral college.
While such a myopic perspective of the election’s outcome does a disservice to the political concerns of Red State voters, it can’t be denied that Russia’s likening of the election hacking investigating to actual witch hunts is a bit of creative license. Their denials serve as little comfort to the American people in the face of the evidence seemingly gathered and presented to President Obama and even critic of the process, President Elect Donald Trump last week.
The questions remain, when Donald Trump takes office later this month, how will relations between Moscow and Washington shift, and will sanctions put in place by the Obama administration stick? Only time, and likely Twitter, will tell.
Image courtesy of the The Times Europe