The narrative of Russian intelligence attacking state and local election boards and interfering with the outcome of U.S. elections has achieved near-universal acceptance among establishment media and political organisations. And now it has been accepted by the Trump administration’s intelligence chief, Dan Coats, as well.
But the real story behind that narrative reveals that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created and developed an account of events that was designed deliberately to spread false information and cause fear and panic.
DHS staff, in collusion with people whose involvement in industrial espionage, compiled a report suggesting hackers linked to the Russian government could have targeted voter-related websites in many states and then leaked a sensational story of Russian attacks on those sites. Had it been made clear that the whole thing was fabricated, yes they COULD have hacked the system, security was lax at best, but there is no evidence anyone did interfere with voting. The facts would have revealed a different story. When state election officials began asking questions, they discovered that the DHS claims were false and, in at least one case, laughable.
The National Security Agency and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigating team, which has been conducting a witch hunt against the Trump administration since shortly after the election in 2016, have also claimed evidence that Russian military intelligence was behind election infrastructure hacking, but on closer examination, those claims turn out to be speculative and misleading as well. Mueller’s indictment of 12 GRU military intelligence officers does not cite any violations of U.S. election laws though it claims Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
On Sept. 29, 2016, a few weeks after the hacking of political websites in Illinois and Arizona, ABC News sensationalised the story with a headline: “Russian Hackers Targeted Nearly Half of States’ Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrated 4.” The story itself reported that “more than 20 state election systems” had been hacked, and four states had been “breached” by hackers suspected of working for the Russian government. The story cited only sources “knowledgeable” about the matter, hinting that those who were pushing the story were eager to hide the institutional origins of the information. Again no evidence was offered to support the allegations.
Behind that sensational headline the real story was of a government department playing inter – departmental politics by seeking to establish its supremacy within the national security state apparatus on cybersecurity, despite its limited resources for such responsibility.