by Monica Showalter · March 8, 2017
Wikileaks has published a huge intelligence trove showing the entire hacking capacity of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday. It’s a bad loss of face for the top U.S. intelligence-gathering organization and a sign of something wrong over there – bad security, technology surpassed, spy penetration, or over-dissemination of secrets, to guess a few. The absurd explanation from chief Wikileaker Julian Assange is that some sensitive soul inside the CIA wants to start a ‘conversation’ about the top intelligence agency’s excessive power.
Tell us another one. This is the stupidest, most transparent lie since Bill didn’t inhale and Barack Obama said you could keep your health care.
A Wikileak of this sort is not only rare and specialized (when was the last time you saw a CIA secret splattered all over the Internet?) it was probably the work of Russian cyberspies, given that only the Russians are likely to have such capacity, as well as potential human penetrations on the inside. If so, it means a Russian power game is now in play, with just the right timing to support it.
Consider the source of the Wikileaks again: Julian Assange, someone who has repeatedly been accused of being a Russian agent based on the fact that his leaks (always accurate) consistently support Russian objectives. He never leaks Russian secrets, just ours and those of our allies, generally to serve Russian aims. A prime example was in the Olympic doping scandals. After the Russians saw their athletes humiliated and their medals stripped, a big batch of Wikileaks were released from assorted nations, including the U.S., to demonstrate that ‘everybody does it’ and Russia was no different. There were similar machinations around FIFA and its soccer sponsorships.
Far from being Assange’s sensitive soul, it’s more likely a Russian strikeback for all the garbage the CIA hurled at President Trump insinuating through leaks that Trump is colluding with the Russians. The events of recent weeks around this theme have resulted in political casualties for Trump and ended Russia’s high hopes for a rapprochement in relations. Trump lost his Russia-friendly National Security Advisor and now has a replacement who’s hostile to Russia and thinks we can win the Isis war without them. Russia also found itself in the middle of a CIA-congressional Democrat bid to unseat Attorney General Jeff Sessions, where the Russians ended up the punching bag in the middle. The new narrative to emerge from that is that no one should dare talk to the Russians, for fear of getting cooties or becoming a security risk, it’s just too dangerous. The Russian envoy who had just been doing his job meeting Sessions at the sidelines of a conference was demonized. The Russians reacted very badly to that, since it impedes even their legitimate work and isolates them at a time when they are trying to find a way to be friends..
If the Russians are sure the CIA has been using them to undermine Trump, it’s possible they decided to teach them a lesson by releasing a huge trove of files showing that they know all about the CIA’s hacking operations. It would make sense because one of the chief revelations of the file dump was that the CIA could disguise its own fingerprints as Russian ones, making any hack job appear to be something the Russians did. If the file dump can convince the U.S. public of that, the Russians can dissipate all the heat they have been taking about hacking by being able to claim that the CIA was likely behind the effort to undermine Trump, pinning its deed on the Russians. The timing would support it. Once again, ‘eveerybody does it.’
The bad thing is that it creates a breach of trust between Trump and the CIA and may make the president unwilling to use the agency to find out, via spying, what the Russians may be up to. That could effectively leave the CIA hamstrung, and Trump without a spy agency.
But it also humiliates the CIA as an agency so incompetent it can’t even keep its own cybersecrets and raise questions about its value to its top consumer, President Trump. Trujp has gotten word out that government needs to be cut dow and the agency needs to be cleaned out. Cutting too far or not using the agency would easily amouint to a victory for Russia.
What it shows is that the deep state’s war against Trump is an open opportunity for the Russians to exploit the existing fissures of distrust between Trump and his spy agency into full blown disarmament. It does so to advance its own national interests, just as the CIA ultimately hurts itself by playing leak games against Trump in Washington. Maybe if the CIA would start behaving itself and drop the phony leaks campaign about Trump being in bed with the Russians, there would be nothing to exploit from Moscow.