CONSPIRACY NONSENSE: No, The CIA Did Not Hack The DNC And Blame It On The Russians. Just Stop It.


As I wrote yesterday, there’s no evidence of a Trump-Russia attempt to collaborate in hacking the American election. But it’s bewildering that so many on the Republican side of the aisle, in an attempt to defend Trump, are now embracing Russian-sponsored conspiracy theories. The latest conspiracy theory: based on a Wikileaks document showing that the CIA has the ability to hack people and leave behind incriminating paper trails framing third parties, some conservatives have posited that the CIA hacked the Democratic National Committee, then left a paper trail blaming Russia as a way to sink Donald Trump. Or something.

As Business Insider reports, here’s Wikileaks floating that information about CIA “false flag attacks”:

Here’s Business Insider debunking that interpretation:

The Intercept on Wednesday reported that the CIA program — called UMBRAGE — seems primarily used a as a shortcut tool for writing code, and does not mention any ways to create a “false flag” operation. Instead, the Intercept reported, the tools for the CIA to hide their tracks appear to be routine security procedures that would be well-known by professional hackers.

Unfortunately, some rather prominent Trump fans immediately began suggesting that the CIA was behind a frame job on those innocents, Vladimir Putin and Wikileaks:

Sean Hannity talked about the theory on his radio show: “Well, did that happen in this case or do you think Hannity’s really paranoid right now, losing his you-know-what? Maybe I’m not so paranoid.” Hannity had on a guest, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Schaffer, who blurted, “Sean, we did it. Not me, but our guys, former members of NSA, retired intelligence officers used these tools to break in there and get the information out.”

And of course, pollster extraordinaire Bill Mitchell embraced the story as well.

This is asinine.

There are plausible conspiracy theories. They’re few and far between. It is not plausible that the CIA hacked the DNC in order to pin it on the Russians so as to help Hillary Clinton during the election. That’s ridiculous. Why wouldn’t they just, you know, avoid dumping all the DNC documents in the first place? If the Wikileaks damaged Hillary Clinton, why would the CIA pursue dump them in an attempt to help her?

The theory makes no sense.

It’s just another brick in the wall of mistrust that plagues our political system now. There are plenty of reasons to distrust our intelligence community – the steady stream of leaks emanating from the bureaucratic holdovers of the Obama administration have already hamstrung the Trump administration, and we know that top-level intelligence officials like former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have lied to Americans before.

But that’s no excuse for making up conspiracies and scandals where none exist. In fact, that’s just what conservatives have been accusing leftists of doing regarding Trump and Russia. There’s no reason to engage in such stupidities on the right side of the aisle – especially not when Donald Trump won.