On Friday afternoon only minutes before WikiLeaks released its latest cache of emails damaging to the candidacy of establishment favorite Hillary Clinton, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement formally accusing Russia of masterminding not only the hack of the Democratic National Committee but the subsequent leaks through WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 providing an unprecedented blemish on the political tapestry in 2016.
The accusation claims that the leaks are "consistent" with Russian intelligence methods and claimed that the both the hack and the subsequent leak could only be done with the blessing of top Moscow officials, something that Russia vehemently denies, implicitly tarring supporters of Donald Trump as being somehow unpatriotic and treasonous for supporting the Republican.
White House Press aide Eric Schultz poured fuel on the fire saying in response to the revelations that "We have a full range of options available to us in the government. That includes economic sanctions out of the Department of Treasury."
On Saturday, Radio Sputnik sat down with foreign affairs expert John Quigley, the Professor Emeritus of International Law at The Ohio State University to discuss the veracity of the US accusation and what to expect next.
What do you think about the claim Russia was behind the DNC Leak?
"Well, it seems a bit ambiguous. The statement said that it is consistent with methods used which is a formulation that falls short of saying that they definitely know what is going on," explained Quigley. "It is hard to know what exactly that means. It could be somebody in Russia, it could be somebody in Russia with no ties to the Russian government."
"I have a difficult time finding out what the motivations for Russia might be with regard to some of this especially with regard to the election, there has been some hacking of the election system in some states in the United States, but I don’t see what Russia would have to gain by doing that. I think that one has to wait and see if any further information comes out," opined the professor.
"In general, one has to be a bit skeptical of claims that are based on technical findings," he said. "We had a situation some years ago where the United States accused Iraq of attempting to assassinate George H.W. Bush and the accusation was based on wiring that was found in a bomb in Kuwait and the United States presented that information to the United Nations Security Council and it turned out that information was entirely fraudulent."
Will Russia be hit with sanctions now that they have been formally accused?
"Speculation a week or so ago was that the United States would not come out with these accusations because it raises the question of what it would do next," said Quigley. "The likelihood is that it will not do much. I think that probably the president wanted to make this information public but that he doesn’t really have in mind any specific countermeasure."