“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.”
Assessing the Russian Government was actively engaging in hacking activities with the direct intent to interfere with our election process as stated in the release of the declassified Russian hacking report — the hope for many is that our elected leaders would stand on a united front in addressing the issue of foreign intervention with bipartisan footing.
President-elect Trump is often all over the map by tweeting one thing — saying another — doing something else that is entirely different. This trifecta of baiting and switching is not only disingenuous to his own supporters — but at times reckless towards our country and national security.
President-elect Trump and his surrogates have treated the revelations in this report, before and after its release, as though they were still on the campaign trail — with a certain insecure and nervous reactionary style in toting a partisan line — inferring the intelligence community is playing politics in an effort to delegitimize his election win.
In doing so they have missed the most concerning part of the report that trumps the “look over there at the shiny object” approach the President-elect, and many of his supporters, are reacting with in harping on the legitimacy issue of his pending presidency.
Russian hacking exposed the fact that our country is vulnerable to foreign entities accessing political party communications — whereby using the information they obtain in a nefarious manner to undermine our democracy and Presidential elections — whether doing so altered the outcome of this past election in any way remains to be seen.
The dismissals by the President-elect to the larger issue of the clear danger and attack on our democracy — along with the mocking and disparaging comments against our intelligence community — is not only dangerous but stupid.
Never have such words describing the dangers of stupidity rung more pointedly as those stated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, Letters and Papers from Prison, where he wrote:
“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed — in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical — and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”
Much about this past presidential campaign was both concerning and troubling all around — no matter if you identify with the far right — far left — or something non-conforming to these labels at all. The substance of what was hacked and exposed is without question concerning in nature — but it is SECONDARY to the issue of a foreign entity infiltrating our political process and seeking to undermine our democracy.
ARTICLES BY STEPHEN KRASNER