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Understanding Russia’s SpyWar Against Our Election

December 15, 2016

There are Kremlin moles among us

In the latest twist in the evolving story of how Moscow and its spies interfered with America’s 2016 election cycle, U.S. intelligence has determined that RVladimir Putin himself was deeply involved in the secret operation to discredit the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.

According to NBC News, our Intelligence Community has “a high level of confidence” that Russia’s president ”personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used.” Putin’s motivation was revenge, according to unnamed senior IC officials, since he despises Clinton, plus the Kremlin sought to create confusion in the United States to make us appear an unreliable ally and an ailing global power.

To anybody acquainted with Putin and his Russia, this is entirely unsurprising. The Russian president grew up in the KGB and long worked in counterintelligence. To his core, Putin is a secret policeman, what Russians call a Chekist—a term worn with pride in the Kremlin. It’s an easy bet that Putin was briefed on this most special intelligence operation daily; it was very likely the first item in his morning briefing from Russia’s spy services, a quotidian event that Putin—unlike our president-elect—takes seriously.

For a former KGB officer, humiliating the hated Americans by disseminating the embarrassing emails of our top politicians is the summit of glee. The takedown of Clinton, Inc.—and no matter the reality, this is unquestionably how it’s being sold, with smiles all around, by Putin’s inner circle—was by any standard a very successful operation. A century hence, it seems likely that Moscow’s spies will rank this achievement among their “greats” like the TRUST operation and the Rosenbergs.

However, some salient facts about this secret Kremlin operation need to be understood. In the first place, there wasn’t much “hacking” going on here. Instead, most of the purloining of emails from top Democrats fell under normal 21st century signals intelligence operations of the kind done by Russia, the United States, and pretty much every technically advanced country on earth. Everybody spies—among adults this isn’t a controversial statement.

Read the rest at The Observer …

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