Putin And His Hackers May Not Be Done With Us Yet

Following the release of hacked DNC emails in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention, questions have been raised about Russia's clear interest in meddling with the U.S. presidential

Former KGB agent and current Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump both overtly and covertly.

Putin’s feud with Hillary Clinton is not new. The Russian president has blamed the United States -- and particularly its State Department  -- for trying to force regime change through strategic investments in organizations that “promote democracy.” From Putin’s perspective, he’s just giving us a taste of our own medicine.

Worries have swirled around the possibility of more hacking scandals as we get closer to Nov. 8. Some states, including Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia, use electronic voting systems and do not require paper backups of ballots, making them particularly good targets for hackers that might want to mess with the polls.



Sen. Tom Carpenter, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson noting that a “cyberattack by foreign actors on our election systems could compromise the integrity of our voting process.”

Chris Finan, a former cybersecurity official for the Obama administration, also raised the possibility of Russian attempts to tamper with the election in an opinion piece he penned for The Hill.

Trump, for his part, seems of two minds when dealing with questions about Putin. In a televised Republican primary debate, he spoke of a “relationship” with Putin: “I got to know him very well because we were both on ‘60 Minutes.’” Forget the fact that they were on different continents at the time.

Then recently, following the DNC, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about his relationship with Putin, and Trump gave a very different answer, “I have no relationship to -- with him. I have no relationship with him.”

Between “at least [Putin] is a leader,” hypocritical statements about his “relationship” with the Russian president, and Trump's inviting Russia to continue its apparent hacking activities against Clinton and the Democrats, former CIA director Michael Morell has gone as far as to call Trump “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Adding to the questions around Trump’s Russian connection is his campaign manager’s history of consulting for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian president who was deposed by a popular uprising in 2014. The Republican platform even softened anti-Russian language around the crisis in Ukraine, apparently at the behest of Trump representatives.

The U.S. isn’t the only country that Russia is actively trying to undermine or destabilize. There is evidence of nefarious Russian activity throughout the West, particularly focusing on European countries, including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France.

Russia’s support is often for right-wing nationalist parties, very much in tune with the Trump world-view. Hungarian consultancy Political Capital found that Russian-owned banks have been promoting the work of the Front National (France’s far-right nationalist party led by Marine Le Pen).

Next story loading loading..