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April 25th, 2017

Insight

Russian hacking should not lead to whacking America

Jay Ambrose

By Jay Ambrose

Published Dec. 15, 2016

Russian hacking should not lead to whacking America

The presidential election has come and gone except in the hearts of a forlorn, desperate, leftist crew intent on tearing our democracy apart and instigating a maelstrom of division unseen in modern times.

Their greatest hope is to deny Donald Trump access to the White House, but, short of that, to delegitimize the election, to say it was a fraud, a travesty, that uneducated, morally challenged moron voters did this thing but actually lost.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, the dismayed repeatedly affirm, as if they do not quite get how the Constitution rightly works and forgetting that Trump captured most of the heartland. What's the goal -- to squeeze the East and West coasts together as a kind of peninsula of power, essentially disenfranchising those who reside in between?

These hopefuls hardly stop there. What really defeated Clinton, they say, was racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, rigged voting procedures, FBI director James Comey, fake news, Fox News, voting machines gone awry and Russians. This last item is the headline of the day. Our intelligence agencies have said Russians hacked emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee with the intent of electing Trump.

In that case, some reply, the Electoral College should deny him the presidency when it votes on Dec. 19. Clinton is party to this. John Podesta, her campaign chairman, has said the intelligence agencies should give the electors an evidential briefing, not so surreptitiously hoping something major comes of it.

Most onlookers say such an unprecedented turnaround would never happen.

It does not require a minute's worth of alertness to see as well that the result could be a fiery combustion keeping the country in self-destructive turmoil for heaven knows how long.

The Russians would be tickled to death, of course, and the question isn't just whether it might happen, but why any half-sane patriot would want it to happen.

First off, we do not yet have the evidence, just a pronouncement. There's no need for congressional hearings as now contemplated. Just give the data to us, taking care, of course, not to divulge any investigative secrets of our own. For the Electoral College to make a decision on information not shared with everyone else would instigate suspicions.

The Russians almost surely did it, but understand that our intelligence agencies have been mistaken before and that it is no more disrespectful of our government to await the facts and interpretations than it is for the left to have at the FBI for its handling of the Clinton email scandal. It might not hurt at the same time to note that Russia and China have been hacking away at us for years without the Obama administration doing enough to stop it.

Russia actually once had access to President Barack Obama's unclassified emails, and China obtained personal information on something like 20 million federal employees. Both nations have swiped our intellectual property and billions of dollars worth of trade secrets. The administration has spent billions on cybersecurity without security emerging. It has also established a policy of sanctions that do very little. When something goes amiss, Obama generally says watch that stuff and not much more.

None of us can want Russia playing games with our elections. One consequence of its information gathering, if Clinton had been elected, is that it might have had the means of blackmail. That is possible with Trump, too. But keep in mind that mainstream media did as much to distribute the material as WikiLeaks and that the vast majority of what has been disclosed appears absolutely on target. How much of a factor was it in the election? It is anyone's guess, but a tiny speck, I would wager, compared to reports on the increasing costs of Obamacare.

The effort now should be a principled effort to forge a good future and deter the Russians, Chinese and others from digital skullduggery.

Jay Ambrose
(TNS)

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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.

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