The New York Times and the Washington Post have gone to considerable lengths over the past month to characterize the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers as part of an American disinformation campaign to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Washington Post and the Times cite the fact that Russian hackers were “exposed” by US intelligence (on the grounds that they were not part of the Russian government) as their reason to believe that it is part of a Russian-backed effort to sway the US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. The Post’s article is entitled, “The Moscow playbook for undermining American democracy”, and concludes, “America’s allies are watching closely. In Russia, the Kremlin appears to have learned what Mr. Putin does: When you attack, you don’t attack alone.” The article quotes the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee as saying, “the last thing Americans need is a Russian takeover of our presidential election. The fact that Russia is doing this in the United States of America is the highest of priorities for the Russian people and the Russian leadership.”
The Washington Post also claimed that there is no evidence that Russia “hacked” the Democrats’ computers, in the apparent recognition that they couldn’t get to those systems. But one has to wonder what those claims have in common with statements of US officials that the Russian military is active in the United States and that the United States is under direct attack from Russian cyber-units. As is the case with the Washington Post, it is no secret that the Russians have the capability to hack into computers. That capability has been apparent since 2010, when the Russian Air Force was apparently able to hack into the computers of two major US defence contractors. The problem is that the information obtained by the Russian hackers has not resulted in any cyber-attacks directed at the United States.
As for the Washington Post and the Times’ accusations the Russians hacked the DNC computers, a statement by a top cybersecurity company, ThreatConnect, stated on August 9th that it had received “incoming emails of unknown origin”, but had no indication that they were from the Russian government. There is no reason to believe that the Russians, who are in possession of an enormous amount of data on the DNC computers and their computer networks to date, did not hack the DNC computers.
The Washington Post and the Times have not gone to the lengths of pointing out the clear fact that the evidence to support the claims that the Russians hacked the DNC computer systems have been discredited by three independent cybersecurity groups. In fact, those
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