To be honest we just don’t know, but given that the U.S. is just as adept at political spin as Russia – indeed probably even more so – there has to be a strong suspicion that accusations by the Obama administration of President Putin’s personal involvement in hacking into the Democratic Party’s National Committee emails – indeed of any involvement all by Russia in such hacking activity, has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not only is the U.S. Administration smarting from a perception that Putin’s alliance with Syria’s President Assad is making inroads into that nation’s civil war that the U.S. has not been able to achieve with its military actions, but the U.S. Democratic Party, led by President Obama, is desperate to find a scapegoat for the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the Presidential race from a seemingly impregnable position – and who better to fill this role than Russia and President Putin himself.
Of course since the American accusations in the UK pro-Remain Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, has now accused Russian hackers of positively influencing the Brexit vote in June’s referendum. He appears to offer no element of proof to back up his accusation other than his view that such a hack was ‘highly probable’, but on absolutely no evidence beyond his own supposition. The word bandwagon comes into mind.
Indeed, even in the U.S., where the statements on Russian hacking have been flowing thick and fast, the CIA which has made the allegations of the Russian hack into the DNC emails, will only say that there is ‘convincing circumstantial’ evidence (which Bradshaw described as ‘proof’ in his statement to the UK House of Commons) and there is certainly no ‘proof’ out there of any direct Putin involvement, even if Russian hackers were involved.
Russia and Putin have, unsurprisingly asserted that the American accusations are ‘ludicrous’. Even Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks – another U.S. bête noire – which released the hacks to the public says the Kremlin was not the source – but, in the slightly misquoted words of Mandy Rice-Davies (for those who remember the Profumo political and sex scandal in the UK of 55 years ago) ‘he would say that wouldn’t he’. But in modern-day spin if accusations are repeated often enough, and particularly by well-respected figures like President Obama, they tend to be taken as the truth even though there is possibly no firm evidence to back them up.
No doubt when a Trump administration, which appears to be less paranoid about Russia and President Putin, takes over in a month’s time, such accusations will be confined to history and we’ll never know the truth one way or the other.