A senior Republican Congress member said in a recent interview that Russian hackers did America a public service when they publicly released the emails of Democratic leaders earlier this year. On Thursday, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks told an MSNBC host that if the Russian hackers provided the American public with “accurate” information, they did what the U.S. media should have done.
Franks commented on the alleged Russian hack shortly after Obama administration announced a series of sanctions aimed at Russian nationals working for intelligence agencies on U.S. soil. Franks agreed that the federal government must take all necessary steps to protect the integrity of the election system. Yet he pointed out that there is no evidence that the Russian government ordered the hacks.
FBI and CIA Say Russians Are Behind the Hack
In October, the FBI suggested that Russia orchestrated the cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee’s servers this summer. Moreover, a report showed hackers who breached the Gmail account of Hillary Clinton campaign’s chairman John Podesta operated from Ukraine.
The FBI added that the hack was an attempt to undermine the public’s trust in the U.S. voting system. In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency said a few weeks ago Russia clearly wanted Donald Trump to become the next U.S. president.
In response, the president-elect deemed CIA’s remarks a ‘card’ his rivals are trying to play to undermine his surprise election win. He added on Twitter that if Clinton had won and the GOP had tried to play a similar Russia card, Democrats would have screamed ‘conspiracy theory’.
Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
Furthermore on Dec. 16, Trump tweeted that the hack revealed some interesting pieces of information such as the fact that the DNC fraudulently handed Clinton debate questions ahead of the debate.
GOP Blames the DNC for the Breach
Sean Spicer, who will serve as the incoming administration’s press secretary, said on CNN that the media failed to properly cover the DNC’s frail computer security. The Trump aide told CNN’s Jake Tapper that it is the media’s job to scrutinize the DNC on its repeated failings to secure their own servers.
Spicer acknowledged that any hacking is illegal. But he cannot come to terms with the fact no one asked the DNC that question. He suggested the Democratic entity failed to set in place even the most basic measures against hackers.
Nevertheless, Rep. Franks’ comments stirred a social media backlash. One Twitter user noted it is good to know who Rep Franks was backing i.e. Russia. Another user believes the GOP official wouldn’t want to see his web-browsing history floating freely on the Internet.
In the meantime, the debate around whether Russians hacked the DNC system is ongoing. Obama administration announced Friday that it has taken measures against Russia over the hack. Reportedly the State Department asked 35 Russian spies located on U.S. territory to leave the country within 72 hours.
What’s more, the federal government is seeking the closure of two Russian intelligence facilities in New York and Maryland respectively. Obama administration sanctioned four additional Russia individuals and entities. In response, Kremlin said the measures are an effort to sour the ties between the incoming president and Russia.
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