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    US Sen. John McCain

    Hyped Up Senate Hearing on Russian ‘Hacking’ Ends Up Being a Flop

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    No evidence was presented during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday to support allegations that Russia hacked the US Presidential election, despite multiple calls by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for the nation to “throw rocks” at the Kremlin.

    The highly-anticipated hearing was expected to lay out the basis for US intelligence agency claims of Russian interference, but that was not the case. Instead, it was two hours of unsubstantiated statements, calls for aggression towards Russia, and hyperbole.

    Testifying before the committee were Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers.

    "I don't think that we have ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process," Clapper told the committee, while refusing to provide evidence to back up his claims.

    Committee chairman and Republican Arizona Senator John McCain used strong language during the hearing, including saying that the alleged hack was "an unprecedented attack on our democracy.” 

    When questioned by a Sputnik reporter following the hearing about the debunking of the Joint Annual Report by security experts, including the finding that 43 percent of the IP addresses attributed to ‘Russian hackers’ were generic web-browser Tor exit nodes, the Senator responded by saying that he had “no idea” what she was talking about.

    As Sputnik previously reported, a whopping 367 of the IPs addresses that were claimed to be ‘proof’ of Russians hacking into the Democratic National Committee network, were simply Tor exit nodes, according to recent expert analysis. This means anyone using a Tor web browser, whether in Ireland, Nigeria, Alaska, or in mom’s basement in Ohio, could leave an IP trace that would apparently reveal them to be crème de la crème Russian computer hackers, according to the logic of the US intelligence community’s report.

    McCain also stated that he had nothing to say about his former running mate Sarah Palin apologizing to Wikileaks.

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing: Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States.
    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing: "Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States."

    In contrast, Republican Senator Ted Cruz dismissed the claims of Russian interference, telling a scrum of reporters that the Democratic Party is trying to delegitimize the election results by blaming Russia for their heavy losses. He stated that there is no evidence that Russian interference impacted the election.

    Despite not believing that Russia affected the election outcome, Cruz did assert that there needs to be a serious effort to harden US networks to protect against cyberattacks.

    WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was also under attack during the hearing, with Clapper falsely stating that he has been “indicted for a sex crime,” and that he put American lives at risk. Assange has not been indicted by Sweden and claims that anyone was placed in danger by WikiLeaks releases have been widely, and repeatedly, debunked.

    McCain questioned if “there is any credibility we should attach to this individual,” speaking of Assange. Both Rogers and Clapper declared that there was not. 

    While WikiLeaks is known for publishing only actual information, the same cannot be said for the US intelligence community, a fact which was also brought up during the hearing. 

    After noting that many have compared the claims about Russian hacking to the “weapons of mass destruction” claims that led the US to unnecessarily invade Iraq, the comparison was rapidly written off as a “red herring.”

    Clapper referred to Sputnik and RT as “Russian propaganda,” a deep concern to him.

    “I appreciate you raising this,” he said. RT is “very, very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, etc. etc., whatever crack they could find in our tapestry, if you will, they would exploit it,” Clapper said. 

    Clapper claimed that a report from intelligence agencies will be publicly released next week outlining the “motives” behind the Russian hack. It is unclear if these potentially fictionalized motives will be supported by the same fictionalized evidence presented at this hearing and the JAR.

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    Tags:
    Hacking, Election, Wikileaks, Senate Armed Services Committee, Michael Rogers, James Clapper, John McCain, United States, Russia
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