August 18, 2019 | 81° F

EDITORIAL: Hacking away at our state of mind

President-elect’s response to controversy raises important questions


All this time that people had brushed off Donald Trump’s claims that the 2016 presidential election was rigged, it turns out that in a sense, it might have been.

Recent reports from the CIA indicate have concluded that Russia attempted to influence the election. Although hints and whispers of the Russian hacking conspiracy had been circulating since July, the release of emails related to the Democratic National Committee on WikiLeaks have the CIA confidently saying that the interception of emails by Russian hackers was done in order to give President-elect Donald Trump the upper hand in the election. The WikiLeaks email release led to the “Crooked Hillary” narrative that Trump had pushed during his campaign and eventually the overall distrust of the Clinton campaign. Now that this information has been released by the CIA, this creates a whole new conversation that had never been considered before.

The response to these claims has been diverse. The FBI has stated that there is not enough substantial evidence to completely confirm these accusations. The Obama Administration, on the other hand, states that they want to take no risks and wants a full review of the situation before President Barack Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017. Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has weighed in on the potential Russian hacking and commented that there is no doubt” that it took place. However, of all of these voices, none have volunteered their opinions more than President-elect Donald Trump himself, who has denied these allegations.

Trump, who earlier this week made headlines again because of his dismissal of daily intelligence briefings due to him being a “smart person,” has characteristically been more than vocal in this investigation. The president-elect, who has found that Twitter is the most efficient means of releasing presidential statements, has voiced his anger over these allegations. He, attempting to give perspective on this case, has questioned what would happen had it been the Clinton campaign that was faced with these claims. But it is hard to imagine that if the roles had been reversed, the public would only call this a conspiracy theory, as rampant shouts to “Lock her up!” still reverberate around Trump’s presidency.

Donald Trump’s response to these claims is confusing and also slightly frightening. Trump, who has often claimed that the presidential election was “rigged” and credited his loss of the popular vote to “millions of people who voted illegally,” but refused a recount of the votes is sending a chilling message to the general public. This accusation is not a direct denunciation of Trump himself, and yet he is entirely reluctant to look into the details of a case that could equate to the U.S. intelligence being compromised. As the future president of the “greatest country in the world,” isn’t the general security of our information, which he refuses to be briefed on, something that should be taken seriously?

There is no doubt that the Russian hacking controversy will continue to overtake the news, as the possible interference in a presidential election is something that is greatly significant. This is especially important because the CIA reports that it is more than likely that these Russian hackers have also infiltrated the Republican National Committee as well, but has failed to release any of their emails. This could lead to a plethora of daunting possibilities. Is Russia working with the Republicans? Did they not release information so as to have leeway over the President of the U.S.? Whatever the result of this controversy may be, the least that President-elect Donald Trump and his administration can do is look into it. For something so drastic to be sweeping the news stations of the nation, there has to be some gravity to the claims. Trump can blame these claims on anyone he wants — so long as he agrees to fully investigate them and prove them wrong first.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 148th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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