'Clinton campaign blames Russian hackers as Assange promises more leaks'

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton © Brian Snyder
Trying to blame Russia for leaks right before the elections is a very political and opportunistic move designed to make people stop thinking about evidence, not to mention the contents of the correspondence, experts say.

Hackers have been a major theme in the US presidential election, with the mainstream media portraying Russia - without any evidence - as a key cyber-war adversary.

US intelligence officials claimed Russia is behind the hacks and leaks that targeted Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement on Friday afternoon, saying that US intelligence was “confident that the Russian government directed” the hacks of emails and documents.

RT: The US government has accused Russia of politically motivated hacking. Do you expect them to produce evidence?

Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent and whistleblower: If we were to see evidence it would not be buried on a Friday afternoon, not even the lead story in the Washington Post. The accusation is lacking evidence. It only says there is no new news in it. It says that “it is consistent with the motives and methods” of the Russian state. So, that is really saying nothing more than what has already been said many times. My interpretation of this so-called breaking news is that they are trying to close the investigation. NSA experts have said that there really is no way that they can get hard evidence that would show that this was actually prompted by or ordered by the Russian government. So, since they can’t get it, they leak a story on a Friday afternoon, and the assertion itself is very lackadaisical, it doesn’t really say anything.

Our intelligence agencies are not known for having a track record ever since 9/11. I was a whistleblower when they claimed that they had no way of knowing any information before the 9/11 attacks and that was proven wrong. Then they presented intelligence about weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had, that was wrong. They claimed they didn’t torture, then afterwards they claimed they did torture but that the torture was valuable in getting information. They claimed they did not spy - this was an outright statement by the same director of National intelligence who claimed he didn’t spy on Americans - and that was proven incorrect and then they said that the intelligence was valuable, and they had 54 cases and that was proven wrong.

You could really list a whole long series of misinformation that our intelligence agencies have put out. And this one is pretty carefully said that it is just consistent with motive and methods, but obviously that says nothing.

"First, the mainstream media will not tell you what’s in the emails.
Number two, they won’t explain to you the significance of what’s in the emails.
Number three, the American electorate has no interest in doing any intellectual heavy lifting regarding such matters as international policy, what Hillary Clinton said before Goldman Sachs…It is too complicated. All we have is a headline: “Leak emails, Russia.”
- Lionel, media and political analyst

RT: The statement said intelligence chiefs are "confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails". If they know, why not say they know?

CR: If they had hard evidence, I think they might have called a press conference. If you remember Colin Powell when he went to the UN [in the run-up to the Iraq war], they actually had little objects and items that they would hold up and a slide-show that they would put forth. If they actually had any solid evidence, I would expect that they would actually put more out. I think they are actually being a little bit more honest this time. Because by putting out simply this very lukewarm assertion that this “is consistent with motive” no one can prove that wrong, but there is no proof either way. I think it is just a way to end the story and the investigation so that people stop asking "when are you going to prove that this was perpetrated by the Russian government?".  

RT: Do you see any link to the increasingly aggressive rhetoric against Russia on Syria?

CR: They are grabbing at anything now to ramp up the war in Syria. Lots of politicians are calling for the so-called ‘no-fly zone’, which would actually be what happened in Libya which would really be translated to bombing of Syria (…) They are trying to ramp up all this demonization of Assad and Russia in order to unfortunately establish what they call a ‘no-fly zone’. I am very worried and concerned that this could actually escalate into a hot war.

‘US blaming Russia for leaks is a straw man issue’

"The real issue is how “Swiss cheese” security of the DNC computers is. We should be able to protect our information and obviously it is not being protected. The real story here is incompetence", author Todd Wood told RT.

"This is completely political. Obviously, Trump is closing in on Hillary. The email, cyber and security issues have been front and center in his campaign and they are trying to deflect a lot of attention from those issues", he added.

According to Wood, "they are well aware that Assange may come out with more leaks and cast more doubt and bad press upon Hillary Clinton. So, this is a way to try and pre-attack and blame the Russians and try to deflect from her own security crimes against the US."

"I think this is a straw man against what is happening in the campaign. The Democratic Party has been trying to attack Trump to Russia for some time now and I think this is another effort. Why come out with [these claims] right before the elections. It makes no sense except to try and blame Trump (…) Trying to blame Russian right before the elections is a very political and very opportunistic statement", he said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.