What is hacking in the first place? It is the use of a computer to gain unauthorized access to data and systems. Plain and simple, it is espionage, spying. It is illegal. Besides the hacking for personal information to steal credit card and from bank accounts, it is done by countries to spy and disrupt each other.
It is by now a fact in evidence that the Democratic National Committee and the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta’s e-mails were hacked. It is a fact that Wikileaks was the tool by which those hacks were released to the news media. It is very clear that only the Democratic campaigns for president and congress were targeted.
While the 17 intelligence agencies agree with certainty, which they have not done for good reason, that this was perpetrated by the Russian government, there are questions about who did it. Some people are demanding concrete evidence from the intelligence community. In other words, they want a data dump which is highly unlikely to happen. As John Cole at Balloon Juice so aptly put it:
The long, gory details on how Russia helped to elect the Trump duma with an assist from clueless and over their head DNC employees (whose names I’ve written down and put in my MARK PENN FAIL TRAIN FILE because they should never fucking work for a Democratic candidate again) and a willing media. Meanwhile, at the Intercept, they’re still not convinced Russia did this and want a document dump so Russia and Trump can figure out how the intelligence services know what they know and/or fuck up any attempt at any future legal action and subsequent prosecution. And if you point this out, I’m sure you hate freedom.
And before you ask, yes, there is a fundamental fucking difference between whistleblowers leaking evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the American government and a foreign power engaging in cyber warfare and interfering in American elections, even though some people can’t seem to figure that out.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the news media are no saint in this, as Karoli Kuns at Crooks and Liars writes:
I really want to zero in on the observation that without a cooperative news media, these hacks would have had much less impact. We made an editorial decision here not to report Wikileaks stories about the Podesta emails, because we did not see the fruits of illegal activity as something to celebrate.
I can hear the arguments now, that Wikileaks was merely the messenger and little else, to which I call bullsh*t. Without the fruit of the poisoned tree, Wikileaks wasn’t a player. Assange reveled in the attention, with little care as to what his partnership with Russian hackers might do to American politics.
And as we know now, it’s done grave harm. Whether you view that harm as simply destabilizing our political process or electing a failed reality show host as President, it has done deep, lasting harm to our democracy and to our standing around the world.
Only one country benefits from that, and it isn’t us.
Now. Either our ruling party — aka Republicans — are going to behave like Americans and admit that they enjoy the benefit of foreign interference in our elections, or they’re not. If they don’t, then they are intentionally aiding and abetting foreign aggression against American democracy.
Some would call that treason. Draw your own conclusions.