It seems that each day the American public is confounded by new details regarding Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. It can be daunting to take it all in but if one wants to be a citizen who wants to be a participate in the republic that is the United States, it is necessary to understand this is not just a case of sour grapes over the Democrats losing the national election in 2016. It is about a foreign nation taking aim at the electoral vote of the voters in the U.S.
Former CIA director John Brennan was asked by Representative Danny Heck of Washington, during Congressional hearing in May, the question, about his constituents “why they should care,” about the investigations, then asking Brennan. “Why do you care, sir?” Brennan’s answer is exactly why American citizens should all care.
“Because for the last 241 years, this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty this country was founded upon,” Brennan said. “Many, many Americans, brave Americans over the years, have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty.”
“Our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is, I believe, an inalienable right that we must protect with all of our resources and all of our authority and power.”
“And the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country resist, and try to act to prevent further instances of that.”
“And so therefore,” he continued, “I believe that this is something that’s critically important to every American. It’s certainly very important to me — for my children and grandchildren — to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere in the foundation stone of this country, which is electing our democratic leaders.”
There appears to players who worked to achieve Russia favor with the incoming administration even before the Trump win in November. Monday, it was announced that former National Security adviser Michael Flynn did not report another trip overseas when he was applying for his security clearances. According to Representative Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel, the ranking members of the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, Flynn made an unreported trip to the Middle East in 2015 to work on a U.S.-Russian venture in Saudi Arabia before he joined the Trump campaign, with the two writing “most troubling of all, we have no record of Gen. Flynn identifying on his security clearance renewal application – or during his interview with security clearance investigators – even a single foreign government he had contact with.”
Tuesday, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly asking to make public any attempts by foreign powers to hack elections databases, networks and other systems. Warner asked the DHS in his letter “while I am not aware of evidence that the 2016 voting process itself was subjected to manipulation, and have no reason to doubt the validity of the election results, we will see, and the next electoral cycle in 2018 will provide further targets for hackers, know that the DHS and FBI have confirmed two intrusions into voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois by foreign-based hackers.”
Continuing Warner states “I therefore urge you to work closely with state and local election officials to disclose publicly which states were targeted, to ensure that they are fully aware of the threat, and to make certain that their cyber defenses are able to neutralize this danger. We are not made safer by keeping the scope and breadth of these attacks secret. The good news is that these attempts were not successful in 2016. The bad news is that it is clear that these will not be the last attempts that we will see, and the next electoral cycle in 2018 will provide further targets for hackers.”
The questions surrounding Russia and their influence on American politics does have many entanglements with one angle being hacking, another being false news sites and then the use of Americans being used by Russia to act as agents for the betterment of that country. All the information being found can be bewildering but important to know as our country moves forward.