US INTELLIGENCE LOOKS INTO HACKING CLAIMS
On Jan. 1, news broke that Russia had allegedly hacked and guided the 2016 US presidential election.
Democratic and Republican nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns were followed worldwide by anxious audiences. While all eyes were trained on the outcome of the voting polls, it turned out that Russia may have been secretly guiding the election’s results. When this hacking was first uncovered, then President-Elect Donald Trump told The Telegraph, “Hacking is a very hard thing to prove. I know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
On Jan. 5, Congress held a hearing of several intelligence officials, where they aimed to shed light on what they knew about the Russian hacking ordeal. This all took place in the wake of Trump accusing the intelligence community of not being fit to run the country’s intelligence organizations on Dec. 31, 2016. “I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge,” Trump said outside Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., according to The New York Times.
To testify to all Congressional questions were Michael Rogers, lead of US Cyber Command, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Marcel Lettre II, the Defense Under Secretary. The three divulged on how they believed Russia had hacked the United States. “There is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” Clapper said, according to NBC. “Russia has clearly assumed an even more aggressive cyber posture by increasing cyber espionage operations, leaking data stolen from these operations, and targeting political infrastructure systems.”
In attendance of the hearing, Sen. John McCain felt very uneasy with the information that senior officials in the intelligence community were coming forward with. “Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation,” McCain said to CNN. “There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference.”
The hacking of government documents and influencing of US elections has been condemned by many patriotic inhabitants within the nation, including CU Denver students. Megan O’Donnell, a CU Denver senior, felt strongly on the topic. “I think it’s wrong and absurd for any country or individual to feel like it’s okay to interfere in our elections and falsify our democracy,” O’Donnell said. “America was built on the ideals of fairness and justice, and how can we carry those notions out when other countries are trying to dictate our affairs?”
Only the US government can hold Russia and its perpetrators accountable for the actions they supposedly took in the elections. The future may hold a joint effort by senior intelligence officials and President Trump, as the current state of bureaucracy is extremely divisive.