Trump Sides with Julian Assange over U.S. Intelligence Community

posted by Breanna Khorrami 0 comments
Trump, Mar-a-Lago - CitizenSlant

Early Wednesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump signaled that he believes Julian Assange over all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies who have unanimously not only agreed that Russia is responsible for the hacking of Democratic Party organizations, but also tried to tilt the results to Trump’s favor.

Taking to his favorite social media platform, the President-elect tweeted “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russias did not give him the info!” referring to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and the Democratic National Committee.

During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity which aired on Tuesday night, Assange maintained that the data which his anti-secrecy organization published did not come from Russia. Assange seems to draw a line between the person or people who handed his organization the data as opposed to those who did the actual hacking. In fact, Assange has previously stated that the documents looked “very much like they’re from the Russians.” Trump fails to acknowledge this distinction.

Additionally, it is clear that Assange, himself, has and has had a great bias against Hillary Clinton, as he turned over the information in drips on pre-planned dates, as he had warned that he would do. Further, it is not clear whether Assange published all of the data he had or a subset of what he was provided.

As to the assertion that a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta, the reason is that as the U.S. intelligence agencies have already said in their reports, the hacking of podesta’s email was done by what is known as “spearphishing,” in which the hackers tricked targeted users into clicking bogus links that either deployed malware or directed them to a fake webmail domain. The technique is commonly used and is most effective with email users who are not very tech-savvy. It is designed to attack organizations at their weakest point, the end user — in this case, the owner of the email address. Therefore, according to experts, it is misleading to merely say that it is a simple hacking technique as it is meant to be.

Ultimately, U.S. intelligence agencies claim to have gotten far past the point of how the hacking was done and have identified who did the hacking and where the spearphishing directed Podesta — which was a domain hosted by Russia.

Last week, President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and sanctioned Russian intelligence officials who Washington believes were involved in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

President Obama also pointed to the “Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials” as a reason for the new sanctions.

In an interview on Wednesday with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, House Speaker Paul Ryan would not say whether he though Trump should be quoting Assange. However, Ryan had harsh words for Assange, calling him a “sycophant” for Russia who leaks and steals data and “compromises national security.” His sentiments for the WikiLeaks founder put him at direct odds with the President-elect.

In later tweets, Trump also questioned why the DNC did not have what Trump termed “hacking defenses” like the RNC. In truth, the RNC would have been vulnerable to the same hacking method.

“Somebody hacked the DNC but why did they not have ‘hacking defense’ like the RNC has and why have they not responded to the terrible … things they did and said (like giving the questions to the debate to H). A total double standard! Media, as usual, gave them a pass,” Trump wrote.

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