Thursday, March 30, 2017

Connecting some dots.

Weaponizing the media.

//Regardless of how the government collected on Flynn, the leak was a felony and a violation of his civil rights.  But it was also a severe breach of the public trust. When I worked as an NSC staffer in the White House, 2005-2007, I read dozens of NSA surveillance reports every day. On the basis of my familiarity with this system, I strongly suspect that someone in the Obama White House blew a hole in the thin wall that prevents the government from using information collected from surveillance to destroy the lives of the citizens whose privacy it is pledged to protect.

The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.  On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities.  From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.

A report that appeared the day after Obama announced the sanctions shows how.  On Dec. 30, the Washington Post reported on a Russian effort to penetrate the electricity grid by hacking into a Vermont utility, Burlington Electric Department.  After noting the breach, the reporters offered a senior administration official to speculate on the Russians’ motives.  Did they seek to crash the system, or just to probe it?

This infrastructure hack, the story continued, was part of a broader hacking campaign that included intervention in the election.  The story then moved to Trump: “He…has spoken highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite President Obama’s suggestion that the approval for hacking came from the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

The national media mimicked the Post’s reporting.  But there was a problem: the hack never happened.  It was a false alarm — triggered, it eventually became clear, by Obama’s hype.//

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous. -Voltaire

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