‘Greatest threat to US democracy is its sham two-party system, not Russia’
The FBI chief's statement about Russian threat to US democracy is hot air designed to obfuscate Clinton’s failure, while the attacks on WikiLeaks are fanning the flames of Julian Assange’s mistrial, says former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday the FBI chief, James Comey, lashed out at WikiLeaks while questioned by senators on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and Russia's alleged involvement in the US election.
“A huge portion of WikiLeaks’ activities has nothing to do with legitimate newsgathering, informing the public, commenting on public controversies, but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States,” Comey said. “It’s intelligence porn,” he added.
The statement comes a day after Clinton accused Comey of playing a role in her defeat in November's vote.
Comey also claimed Russia is currently actively involved in trying to influence US politics and called Moscow “the greatest threat” to US democracy.
RT: How would you assess the FBI director's statement about WikiLeaks?
Annie Machon: I think he really has dug himself into a hole in many ways. One, [he is] trying to assess Russia as the biggest threat to American democracy while no proof has been presented publicly about any of these overinflated allegations about Russia trying to hack into American elections. Two, WikiLeaks is by any standards a publisher of information that is very much in the public interest. Not just the recent disclosure about the CIA, not just the disclosures from the Democratic National Committee last year or the Podesta files or whatever. WikiLeaks for the last ten years has been publishing information from around the world about financial corruption, about right-wing extremism, about the Bilderberg Group, about war crimes, about Chelsea Manning’s disclosures, American diplomacy, they publish what they think is in the public interest (which they have to rely on their sources giving to them – OK). So, they are a publisher by any standard. They are just a new hi-tech conduit for publishing as opposed to the old corporate media like the New York Times or the Washington Post.
RT: Senator Lindsey Graham challenged Comey over allegations of Russian involvement in both the US and world politics. “Is it fair to say that the Russia government is still involved in American politics?" asked Graham. Comey responded, "Yes." How can the FBI chief be so sure?
AM: That is a very good question. Nobody anywhere appears to have seen any hard evidence about the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. This started as a sort of swerve that was put out by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to try and avoid accountability for the fact that she had apparently illegally used a private email server. This was in summer last year. That became information that has been leaked from the DNC, information that has been leaked about the Podesta emails. We suddenly became conflated with “It is published by WikiLeaks” and must have been given to WikiLeaks by Russia. There is no evidence. And then it suddenly became “Russia hacked the election process,”“Russia hacked Vermont’s energy grid.” This has all been disproven time and time again. This is so much hot air designed to obfuscate the fact that Hillary Clinton very badly lost the election last year. Also it is very convenient to try and push forward what is now being openly expressed finally; the American administration’s wish to try and prosecute Julian Assange by any means necessary, be it espionage, whatever it is. He has caused an embarrassment by publishing some of the information about what America is getting up to. So, they just want to get him in any which way, as well as other WikiLeaks staffers. I think James Comey is really sort of fanning the flames of what could be one of the biggest mistrials in history if this goes ahead.
RT: FBI Director James Comey also described Russia “the greatest threat” to US democracy. What are your thoughts about that?
AM: I think that in America some of the greatest threats to their democracy is, first of all, the two-party system which is actually a sham in a sense that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the same government administration will get in. And the fact that most of the candidates who are put up for election to president in the US tend to be very heavily backed by big lobby organizations, by Wall Street. So, vested interests tend to be running a very corporatists state in America.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.