Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jeremy Scahill and Jon Schwartz — Obama Must Declassify Evidence Of Russian Hacking

… if there were ever a situation in which it was crucial to lean in the direction of more rather than less disclosure, it’s now. Obama should make that clear to the intelligence agencies, and that if forced to he is willing to wield his power as president to declassify anything he deems appropriate.
The current discourse on this issue is plagued by partisan gibberish — there is a disturbing trend emerging that dictates that if you don’t believe Russia hacked the election or if you simply demand evidence for this tremendously significant allegation, you must be a Trump apologist or a Soviet agent.
The reality, however, is that Trump’s reference to the Iraq War and the debacle over weapons of mass destruction is both utterly cynical and a perfectly valid point. U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly demonstrated that they regularly both lie and get things horribly wrong. In this case they may well be correct, but they cannot expect Americans to simply take their word for it.
It’s also the case that the U.S. has a long history of interfering in other countries’ elections, and far worse: The U.S. has overthrown democratically elected governments the world over. In fact, in 2006 Hillary Clinton herself criticized the George W. Bush administration for not doing “something to determine who was going to win” in Palestinian elections. It would not be shocking in the least if Russia sought to interfere in the U.S. electoral process.

But let’s have some proof.…
There are two separate questions that are conflated in the reporting and debate. The first issue to be determine is whether and to what degree the government of Russia 1) obtained information illegally and 2) used that information with the intent to influence the election. The second question is, if so, what effect did this have on the outcome of the election.

In determining this the difference should be made clear between inference and evidence. They are not the same and should not be conflated. Inference is not a slam dunk, and evidence is subject to question.

This is critically important because the interested parties are trying to generate a stampede to judgment based on a dodgy argument, basically believe a party with an interest in the case that has proven itself an unreliable source previously.

Presently the matter rests chiefly on interest, confirmation bias, and persuasion based on sophistry at least, and possibly lies.

The president should make a case or STFU. He is a lawyer?

The Intercept
Obama Must Declassify Evidence Of Russian Hacking
Jeremy Scahill and Jon Schwartz

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