While at the WikLeaks website, I noticed another press release from last month announcing the early release of a document from the Vault 7 tranche that revealed the extensive attempts by the CIA to influence the 2012 French presidential elections. This has not received much media attention.
All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election. The revelations are contained within three CIA tasking orders published today by WikiLeaks as context for its forth coming CIA Vault 7 series. Named specifically as targets are the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) together with current President Francois Hollande, then President Nicolas Sarkozy, current round one presidential front runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Martine Aubry and Dominique Strauss-Khan.
One interpretation of ‘infiltrating’ political parties is that the CIA were placing people in positions where they could obtain information that was meant to be private, either by having their operatives join the parties and rise up their ranks or they were cultivating (or even recruiting) high-ranking party people to provide information to them.
The documents only suggest that the CIA was gathering as much information as it could about the parties, their leaders, and policies and did not actually try to change the course of the election. Thus these actions could be dismissed as just the kind of intelligence gathering that governments do in other countries, even those that are ostensibly allies.
But the contacts of the Russian government with members of the Trump administration may be of the same nature, except that this was compounded by the Trump associates lying about it because lying is what they do instinctively. This is why overhyping this story in the absence of hard evidence is dangerous. Unless it can be shown that the contacts of the Russians with members of the Trump campaign members went much deeper than intelligence gathering and involved secret quid pro quos, it may turn out to be a damp squib and Trump can gloat once again about the lying media being out to get him.
Talking to a Russian, even one associated with Putin’s government, is not illegal. So the mere revelation that someone in Trump’s campaign did talk to a Russian is not, in and of itself, a terrible thing. What I find troubling is who some of those Russians are, such as oligarchs and members of Russian intelligence, and in particular that Team Trump has lied continuously about such contacts. The incessant lies about Russian contacts certainly implies there was something happening that the Trump campaign did not want seeing the light of day.
I feel it needs to be investigated. Who was talked to, when, and what was said. If this isn’t brought out in public, even if everything was innocent, it is going to leave serious doubts about this government. And face it, Trump isn’t the most trustworthy figure around.
It probably should be investigated but it probably the Russians behaving like the CIA in France. I have never liked the “Russians are rigging the election” idea since some of the accusations started a year or more ago when no one really thought the Trump had the slightest change.
Putin is too smart do something like that given the bad press he would get if it was discovered. He seems to be getting the bad press anyway due to hysterical Democrats from the DNC and various other places making wild accusations on what appears to be no evidence.
Putin appears smart and ruthless and, so far, has had very good political instincts. One way or the other it looks like he’s been in office either as President or Prime Minister for about 18 years.
He’s tamed or partially tamed the oligarchs, raised Russian living standards and, IIRC, increased the lifespans of the average Russian, at least the Russian male considerably.
And he recovered Crimea. If one knows Russian/Soviet history it made no sense for Crimea to be part of the Ukraine, not from the point of the average Crimean citizen nor strategic political/military point of view..
It might be interesting to see if Trump was essentially “money laundering” for oligarchs and politicians, possibly including Putin, in the states of the former USSR. A real estate developer or his staff looks to me to be a good way to get money into the West either legally or illegally.
From the way Putin described Trump, it seems that he may have considered Trump a bit of a buffoon. When asked about him, Putin reportedly used the term яркий which the Western press translated as “brilliant” but which seems to be better translated as flamboyant than mentally brilliant.