Putin’s Roll in the Presidential Election Means We Need to Investigate Our Voting Procedures

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with members of the Russian WorldSkills team in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with members of the Russian WorldSkills team in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Pat Thurston) NBC is reporting that US intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in our presidential election.

Evidently, it began as an effort to get back at Hillary Clinton but was so successful Putin wanted to use the information it obtained for a greater goal – to damage America’s image around the globe. Putin, according to this intelligence source, wanted to show corruption in American politics and to split off key American allies by creating the image that those allies could not depend on the United States to be a credible global leader anymore.

You could make the argument that the embarrassing and shameful information disclosed was the fault of the Clinton campaign and the DNC themselves. After all, had they been completely above board the hack and release would have supported integrity, honesty, consistency and a system to be admired around the globe. Yet we cannot make any determinations that the actions of the GOP and the RNC were any more honorable since none of that information was released even though it too had been obtained. This shows the bias of the Russians – read Putin – in the hacking.

However, it seems as if Putin damaged himself more than America. Granted, he seems to have influenced the election but the world knows that he sought to do so which in and of itself is dastardly. The United States should be responding to that. The new President cannot poo-poo what happened because he won. He was caught on tape saying that he doesn’t care about the hacking because he won, it doesn’t bother him he said. It should. Exposing Putin and how involved Russia was is crucial here. It can demonstrate that even though there are bad actors (again read Putin) trying to thwart our democracy, we take the steps necessary to rout it out, expose it publicly and protect ourselves from such actions in the future.

That necessitates a full investigation not just into the email hacks, but into all voting systems that could have been penetrated. The electronic vote counters (optical scanners) and touch screen computers connect to the internet to transfer their vote data, a perfect opening. Only a forensic examination of these systems can restore the confidence of the American people and of the world in America’s vote. It won’t change this election’s result. That doesn’t matter nearly as much as protecting us in the future.

 

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