(GPA) Washington D.C. – Today the Senate Armed Services Committee hosted hearings on the accusations of Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election. While no concrete conclusions were reached, a lot of accusations were thrown around.
Most noticeable from this morning’s hearings the major differences between president-elect Donald Trump and other members of the Republican Party when it comes to the bipartisan consensus on the ‘threats posed by Russia.’ The two most outspoken critics of Russia in the hearing were the notorious Russophobes and war hawks, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
McCain started the hearing by saying that every American “should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation,” and that “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.” McCain repeatedly called the alleged Russian hacking “an act of war” by his standards, yet at the same time said that was a big call that he didn’t “believe the intelligence community should make, but it certainly would carry, in my view, great gravity.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham added condemnation of Donald Trump, saying that it was despicable for him to cast doubt on the findings of US intelligence agencies. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper agreed with the senator and expressed his concern that Trump’s rhetoric was doing damage to the United States’ reputation among their allies. Clapper said he had “received many expressions of concern from foreign counterparts about, you know, the disparagement of the U.S. intelligence community, or I should say what has been interpreted as disparagement of the intelligence community.”
Graham also encouraged the incoming president to consider further sanctions against Russia. Graham complained that Barack Obama’s recent closing of two Russian diplomatic facilities in the US and the expulsion of 35 Russian staff members was equal to throwing a “pebble” at Russia when the US should be throwing a “rock.” Graham may have let the reason he was concerned slip when he reminded his fellow republicans that “It’s not like we’re so much better at cyber security than Democrats.”
National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers also answered questions by Graham to promote further fearmongering of other countries. Rogers confirmed Graham’s concerns over nations like China and Iran also having the capability to ‘hack US systems’ in a manner ‘similar to Russia’.
McCain then went after Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, saying that Trump was incorrectly “putting him on a pedestal,” by defending his claims that Russia was not involved in the release of the Democrat’s inter-party contacts. Clapper and McCain also agreed that another danger was Russian propaganda such as news outlets like RT or Sputnik.
The combined branches of US intelligence are expected to release the declassified report on the alleged hacking on Monday. So far, a large portion of the country still has major doubts and Geopolitics Alert will report on whatever evidence they release as soon as we see it.
Image: Flickr – Nicolas Raymond
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.