Reality Winner and Why Trump’s Ties to Russia May go a Lot Deeper Than Previously Assumed
In his questions from Richard Burr, Comey answered each of the first four questions categorically until the question of whether or not the hacking had an impact on the election. Comey’s response was very couched: I was not aware of definitive evidence while I was at the agency.
When The Intercept did the piece with these documents the response was paradoxical:
1. Reality Winner needs to go to prison. This, alas, may well be where she goes. Who’s fault is a matter of some debate. But it seems to be something of a combination of mistakes by her and The Intercept.
2. Yet we heard that there was nothing new and that these docs showed us what we already knew.
Number 2 is clearly false.
“A leaked NSA document determining that hackers connected to Russian military intelligence tried to breach US voting systems days before the 2016 election has national security experts and former intelligence officials reeling.”
“Russian military intelligence, according to the document, launched an attack on at least one US voting-software supplier and sent so-called spear-phishing emails to at least 100 local election officials shortly before the election.”
“In addition to being the strongest public indication so far that Russia interfered in the US election, the document also indicates that Russian hackers may have “penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood,” The Intercept, which first published the document, reported.
“A US intelligence official contacted by The Intercept said the document’s findings were not necessarily definitive and warned against drawing too many conclusions from the analysis. The Intercept said it was unclear from the document whether the hackers had an effect on the election’s outcome.”
“But others in the national security apparatus expressed alarm.”
“This is indeed a big deal,” said Bob Deitz, a veteran of the NSA and CIA who worked under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. “We are lucky that US presidential elections are so localized that it is difficult to do an effective hack.”
Claire Finkelstein, a professor and national security expert at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said of the document, “Wow, this is huge.”
Sent them reeling. Wow, this is huge.
“Translated into normal English, this NSA signals intelligence study of cyber-espionage by the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU for short) demonstrates that Kremlin agents indeed attempted to covertly influence last year’s presidential election—precisely as Hillary Clinton and her backers have insisted. The political import of this leak is therefore genuinely massive.”
The narrative that nothing new was in the docs may be an attempt to ratchet down attention to them. But they have opened up a whole new front in Russiagate.
Back to Business Insider:
“The US intelligence community determined in 2016 that there wasample evidence of Russian interference in the election and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved. The intelligence community also concluded that Putin specifically chose to help candidate Donald Trump at the cost of Hillary Clinton and to cast her in an unfavorable light.”
“But until the NSA’s report, dated May 5, was leaked earlier Monday, Russian influence during the 2016 election was gauged to be a largely covert operation. This latest document suggests that Putin’s activities were far more overt.”
According to the document, the attack was conducted by the GRU, a Russian military-intelligence outfit. “That’s no longer just covert activities like email hacking and dissemination of fake news,” Finkelstein said. “This starts to look much more like a cyberattack.” Though the definition of a cyberattack has not been universally agreed upon, “it could certainly look like a military attack on US interests,” Finkelstein added.
“Trump likely to be highly scrutinized.”
“Experts say the next thing to look out for is Trump’s reaction to the document. The president has in the past sharply criticized leaks of sensitive or classified information to the press, and he recently ordered the Department of Justice to crack down significantly on people who leak information.”
Trump’s response to the NSA’s document will be critical, Finkelstein said: “If he does not decry this interference or attempted interference with the machinery of democratic processes in the US, that in and of itself will be highly suspect.”
Well one response from Trump was to arrest the leaker.
John Schindler for his part seems to think that
1. Reality Winner got arrested due to her own many errors. From what I’ve heard it seems that her best course would have been to leak the information without the documents. Of course, then it’s easier to dismiss by apologists.
2. She deserves her fate-of quite possibly going to prison.
But if she has made not just the public but many intel experts aware of something they weren’t previously aware of then isn’t she a whistleblower? I wonder if her attorney will make that defense.
Interestingly, at the end of May, Schindler had posted this regarding the NSA and Mike Rogers:
“Exclusive: NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia.”
“When will Admiral Rogers say publicly what he told his agency’s workforce?”
It’s very interesting to square what he says Rogers said back in late May with what he said in the Senate hearing a few days ago-where he seemed to be protecting Trump. Though notice what he didn’t say as well.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.