Senators signal additional Russian interference in the 2016 election
Six members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have called on the White House to declassify additional information concerning the Russian government’s interference in the U.S. election, raising serious questions about the role the historically-antagonistic power may have played.
Seven senators including the six committee members wrote the following letter (visible here):
We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels.
According to The Atlantic, Senator Dianne Feinstein, vice-chair of the committee, did not sign the public letter, but was signatory to the additional classified communications referenced in the letter.
The request is being coordinated by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has previously championed the release of classified information of compelling public interest. In 2011, he signaled ominously regarding bulk surveillance practices based in unorthodox interpretations of the Patriot Act.
“Today the American people do not know how their government interprets the language of the Patriot Act,” Wyden said. “Someday they are going to find out, and a lot of them are going to be stunned.”
This did turn out to be the case, as we now know from the subsequent Snowden disclosures.
The US government formally accused Russia of hacking into the Democratic National Committee database in order to interfere with the elections in October of 2016.
The White House confirmed that the United States “contacted the Russian government directly regarding malicious cyberactivity” that was “targeting U.S. state election-related systems.” According to the New York Times, the White House “sent the message over a rarely used system: a hotline connecting the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in both countries, which they had agreed three years ago could also be employed to deal with major cyberincidents.”
Donald Trump has expressed skepticism that the Russians were behind the attacks.
In July of 2016, Trump stunned commentators by openly calling on Russian hackers to intervene on his behalf and to locate and publish Hillary Clinton’s “missing emails,” which would of course be a serious crime.