‘RT frustrates Washington by providing Americans with facts to make informed decisions’ – VA senator
RT: What is your take on the RT bashing in the report. Do you think it's justified to call a media platform a tool of the government without any solid proof?
Richard Black: The challenge that the intelligence agencies have had is principally focused on Syria. RT news has been the only credible mainstream media dealing with the Syrian conflict. The rest, the American mainstream media, the British mainstream media have almost uniformly presented fake news repeatedly.
I think they are very troubled that all of a sudden here is the news agency that presents accurate facts to people. And it has had an effect. And I think that is their big concern. That they are no longer being able to totally control the information that flows to the American public.
RT: The media has already reacted to the release. It took little to no time to point the finger, did it?
RB: No, it did not. And it is interesting that there was a comment in the report that said no single intercept was a smoking gun that Russia meant to benefit Trump.
I have no doubt that President Putin was quite pleased when Trump won because Hillary Clinton was extraordinary bellicose. It was clear she was willing to walk military force up to the line and risk a nuclear war.
The fact that now we have Trump who is willing to mend relations all of the sudden… This is important for Russia because they need to know what is going to come, what the outcome of the election will be, because if Trump wins they can spend more money on roads, and schools, and healthcare.
If Hillary won, they would have to massively shift to defense, to national defense, to improving nuclear weapons and things of that sort. So it is important. There is no question all countries try to penetrate and find out what is going on the other side.
What really bothered Hillary Clinton is some of the information which was disclosed. For example the fact that there was corruption in the debates which are enormously important in the elections. And she was given advance notice of the questions. Trump was not given advance notice of the questions. This was embarrassing to her and embarrassing to the Democrats. And they did not like the fact.
I don't think there has been any allegation and anything that might have come through Russian channels was false. It is simply frustration that accurate information reached the American people and they were able to make decisions based on it.
RT: Citing their sources, the report claims it has “high level of confidence,” yet it shouldn’t be taken as a fact. What’s your take on this?
RB: Well, I think Donald Trump pointed out that they had a very high level of confidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Later on, President Bush was forced to state publicly on national television that we were wrong, that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
So high level of confidence, you know, means that ‘yeah, it probably happened’, but it does not mean that it did happen. And they had admitted – there is no single intercept that was a smoking gun, in other words, there was no absolute proof.
And in fact, it troubled me, that they relied on the fact that they detected that the inner circle in Russia was very pleased that Trump was elected president.
Well, I was very pleased that Trump was elected president, so I’m not sure, am I guilty of hacking because of that? I find that to be no proof whatsoever. And it is troubling that an intelligence agency would rely on that as proof.
RT: With such little evidence, how are people expected to take this report seriously?
RB: I do not know enough about the report. But I think the key things are: it had no impact whatsoever on the election; nothing false was put out if anything was put out.
And you know, to me the fact that nations try to spy on other nations, to know what is going on. This has been going on for thousands of years, nothing new. And it will be going on thousands of years from now. So to me, this is kind of a non-story. It is hyped up by the Obama administration.
And also you are starting to see some collision between Trump and the intelligence agencies. The intelligence agencies have been almost a government unto themselves. And I think for the first time they are seeing that perhaps they are going to have a president who is going to question what they are doing a little bit more thoroughly.
I think it is always a healthy thing. I'm not saying that anything that they do is bad or incompetent. Clearly, they are a bloated organization. Many, many, many facets to the intelligence departments in Washington. They need to slim them down severely I think. That will probably make them more efficient and they'll come out with better products.
But in any event, I think Trump has put it really well. He said, 'this is over, we need to move on to other things.' And the other thing we need to move on to – it is absolutely vital – to word peace, that we begin to forge a good relationship with Russia.
We need to back away from a possible nuclear war. We have been moving closer and closer to the limits. It is not worth it and I think president-elect Trump understands this and I think he is going to forge a much more powerful relationship between the two countries.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.