The Strategist

U.S. Democrats are set to prove Russian election hacking threat

01/10/2017 - 15:11

Members of the Democratic minority in the US Congress is encouraging establishment of an independent commission to investigate "Russian interference in the elections in the United States". The politicians are proposing to take a fact-finding committee on the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a model. Representatives of the Republican majority has not yet spoken in favor of this step, so prospects of creation of such a commission are dim. Nevertheless, Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, said that the intelligence community has finally managed to convince President-elect that Russian hackers have influenced course of the elections in the United States.

The law proposed by Democrats is called " Protecting our Democracy Act". It is supposed to create a bipartisan commission of 12 people, which would question witnesses, work with documents and generally investigate "Moscow’s involvement in cyber-attacks occurred during the election period." The project was simultaneously presented to both houses of parliament on behalf of the ten members of Congress.

Democrat Ben Cardin, who heads the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said: "There are no doubts that Russia attacked us", and therefore an independent investigation should be conducted. "It is not just the problem of one political party, and not even of the elections, and not even of our country, - said Senator Amy Klobuchar. – This is repeated attempts to influence outcome of elections around the world." Republicans have not yet supported the project. According to them, parliamentary commission’s investigation has already been enough.

Reince Priebus meanwhile declared that he persuaded President-elect in reality of the cyber-attacks from Russia during the elections. "He accepted the fact that this particular case revealed presence of Russian structures, so it is no longer a problem," - he said to Fox News Sunday.

Meanwhile, US intelligence has not yet provided conclusive evidence on linking the cyber-attacks to Russian hackers. As explained by Head of the press service of the US Department of State John Kirby, lack of evidence in the investigation report can be explained by desire to protect sources of information and methods of work of US intelligence. According to Mr. Kirby, "it would be irresponsible to disclose this kind of information." The US government believes that US intelligence has "properly" presented its findings about the alleged cyber-attacks.

Previously, Republican Senator John McCain said: "We have no higher issue of national security than ability to hold free and fair elections. This is why Congress must set aside party differences and work together to develop ... a response to the cyber-attack". Thus he repeated Democratic President Obama's main thesis about need for a cross-party consensus in the face of the "Russian threat".

Recall that after a Friday briefing of intelligence services Donald Trump agreed that "Russia, China and other countries and outside groups have consistently tried to break through cyber defense of our state institutions, enterprises and organizations, including the National Committee of the Democratic Party." He, however, refused to recognize special role of Russia in this process, on what the Democrats insisted.

Official Moscow denies any involvement in the cyber-attacks. Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, previously called accusations of the cyber-attacks "witch-hunt."