09:57 GMT08 July 2020
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    On Tuesday, CNN posted an article in relation to the recent Hillary Clinton email scandal. The network took the opportunity to further a narrative that the Russian government was behind the “worst ever” hack into the US State Department. But that allegation has persisted without US officials – or CNN, for that matter – providing any evidence.

    “Overlooked in the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, is the fact that suspected Russian hackers have bedeviled State Department’s email system for much of the past year…” the CNN article begins.

    The allegation of “Russian hackers” stems from an incident last November in which the State Department detected “activity of concern” within its email system.

    After spotting activity within its unclassified network, the department shut down its system for an entire weekend in order to beef up its cybersecurity. While an official told CNN that there was “no compromise of any of the Department’s classified systems,” he did say that the cyberattack bore similarities to hacking attempts against the White House.

    US officials blamed both hacks on Russia, without providing any evidence.

    “We’ve been hearing a series of groundless allegations against Russia recently,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time, according to CNN. “So we can’t take them seriously any longer unless there’s proof.”

    The State Department in Washington, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014
    © AP Photo / Luis M. Alvarez
    The State Department in Washington, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014

    Far from over, CNN took the latest Clinton email scandal as an excuse to continue promoting the government’s baseless accusations.

    “Russian hackers, likely working for the Russian government, are suspected in the State Department hack,” the article reads.

    In its defense, the network tries to cover itself by attributing the allegation to director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who told a Senate hearing last month that the “Russian cyber threat is more severe than we have previously thought.”

    But a vague statement from a government official is far from proof.

    The allegations speak to a familiar hypocrisy within the American government. Last May, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Chinese military was hacking into the networks of American companies. Responding to these allegations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang called the charges “extremely absurd,” and that the US “has fabricated facts.”

    Yet spying on American corporations is exactly what the National Security Agency has been doing. The revelations of former contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the NSA’s spying apparatus, and new details continue to emerge.

    Just this Tuesday – the same day CNN restated unchecked facts about the Russian hackers – it was revealed that the CIA had been pursuing methods of breaking through the encryption of tech giant Apple. Installing secret, digital backdoors into Apple’s software, the government hoped to use the company’s products to spy on consumers.

    Given the NSA’s history of accusing the Chinese for its own actions, maybe the State Department should question James Clapper before pointing the blame at Russia.

    At the very least, perhaps CNN should dig a little deeper, rather than take government officials at their word.

    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Department of State, Dmitry Peskov, cyberattack, propaganda, cybersecurity, hacking, NSA, CNN, Apple, Clapper, Holder, Clinton, Russia, United States
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