|James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in Henry Koster's Harvey (1950). Via.|
Everybody needs to take a deep breath & reread the John Bolton remarks. He did not in fact accuse the Obama administration of hacking.— David Frum (@davidfrum) December 12, 2016
Uh, OK, let's see...
BOLTON: It's not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag operation.Quite right in the first place, it's not the case that he accused anybody of mounting a false flag operation (stealing the parties' emails to make it look as if Russians had been stealing the emails, apparently, with no theories on why they would want to do that). He merely didn't not accuse them. It isn't clear to him that they didn't do it, but he isn't saying they did, he's just sayin. The Douthat technique of making you think a potentially slanderous thought without taking responsibility for it.
Are you actually accusing someone here in this administration of trying -- in the intelligence community of trying to throw something?
BOLTON: We just don't know, but I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.Quite right in the second place. He couldn't be accusing anybody of doing something when he couldn't say whether it had been done or not, but he fingers the guilty party just in case. Can't say if there was any false flag operation but knows who did it.
And thus Frum is absolutely right: Bolton did not say that the administration had carried out a false flag maneuver, but he made sure that's what we heard all the same. He didn't say it with the most exquisite care you could well apply to not saying something, the insinuating scum.
The other really weird thing Bolton did that hasn't caught so much attention was his explanation of why he thinks it might have been a false flag operation, which is worth looking at in some analytic detail.
Let's remember what FBI director James Comey said dealing with Hillary's home brew server. He said we found no direct evidence of foreign intelligence service penetration, but given the nature of this, we didn't expect to.What Comey said:
With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence.What kind of evidence? Bolton:
Meaning, a really sophisticated foreign intelligence service would not leave any cyber fingerprints.Not really. What Comey said:
We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.Meaning we know that they might have wanted to hack her, given that they did hack some of her correspondents, leaving direct evidence that they had done so (and, Comey could have added, there's also plenty of electronic evidence of hostile parties trying and failing to hack the secretary herself, just no evidence of them succeeding). And that they might have been able to get access to her equipment without being detected while she was in their territory, because of the sophisticated systems they are able to deploy there (presumably like the ones we can deploy here). And, finally, we don't know whether they did or not (though we do know that they did they didn't leak the contents, as they certainly did with Sidney Blumenthal's mails).
And yet people say they did leave cyber fingerprints in the hacks regarding our election. So the question that has to be asked is why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary's server but their dumb intelligence services against the election --Well, for one thing it's not likely the DNC was doing its work in Russian territory, where the spooks can hack you without your finding out, so that there's no reason to assume thy ought to have been able to do it without detection. And for another, did you see how Bolton leaps there to the assumption that Clinton's private server was definitely hacked from Comey's acknowledgment that it was possible?
The question that has to be asked is where did Bolton get this unsupported idea that "the Russians ran their smart service against Hillary's server? Which is most likely from the wingnut press that kept saying so long before Comey delivered his statement—just like guess which famous fabulist?
presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said [in June around the time of the Comey statement] that Clinton’s server “was easily hacked by foreign governments — perhaps even by her financial backers in Communist China — putting all of America in danger.”
Asked in an interview for the basis of that charge, Trump told NBC News that “I think I read that, and I heard it, and somebody also gave me that information.”In other words,
- the hacking of the DNC and others left evidence that enabled the intelligence professionals to determine that it had been hacked;
- in contrast, the foreign hacking of Hillary Clinton's private email server left no such evidence, although that doesn't mean I don't know it happened because I just do;
- therefore, there's something really inexplicable about the DNC hacking that would be explained if it was a false flag operation.
And this is why I'd be a lot more comfortable if you would not give John Bolton a cabinet position. Because he's frankly batshit crazy, and cunning to boot. Just sayin.