Putin’s infowar on America

Donald Trump induced some kind of a nervous breakdown in the Democrat/Media Complex last week with his invitation that Russia release its putative trove of deleted Clinton emails. The Democrats’ hysteria constituted an exercise in bad faith, the Media’s hysteria an exercise in servile stupidity. That’s just the way it is.

They have moved on. They now seek to exploit Donald Trump’s refusal to abide by the first law of holes in the case of Khizr Khan. In Trump’s view, the first law of holes doesn’t apply to him.

Gordon Crovitz writes the weekly Information Age column for the Wall Street Journal. Writing on a weekly schedule, Crovitz hasn’t moved on yet. This week he devoted his column to Putin’s “infowar on America” (accessible via Google here). Crovitz makes several interesting points in his conclusion:

Liberals who long treated Edward Snowden and Julian Assange as heroes are now offended that WikiLeaks distributed the Russian hacks of the DNC. Journalist Franklin Foer complained in Slate last week that the “breathtaking transgression of privacy” of Democratic Party officials will have a “chilling effect” undermining the ability “to communicate honestly.” That was the exact purpose of the hacks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables distributed by WikiLeaks in 2011 through the New York Times and London’s Guardian.

“It is not our goal to achieve a more transparent society,” Mr. Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, told Time in 2010. Instead, the objective is to force U.S. officials to “lock down internally and to balkanize” so they will “cease to be as efficient as they were.”

What can be done about infowar? Donald Trump was criticized last week for encouraging Russia to disclose Mrs. Clinton’s emails, but making them public would be the best way to deprive Mr. Putin of the advantage he gains by holding them. A U.S. ally that spies on Washington as much as Washington spies on it, such as Israel or France, would do Americans a favor by making public its copy of Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Otherwise, Moscow can drip the emails out on its schedule with its spin—or hold them back as blackmail against Mrs. Clinton should she reach the White House. American voters should know what Mr. Putin knows.

The Obama administration has been passive in response to Russia’s infowar—even reluctant to admit its existence officially. Washington’s best deterrence would be to reply in kind. The U.S. could hack and release Mr. Putin’s bank accounts detailing how rich he has become in office. U.S. prosecutors could use hacked information to indict Putin business cronies and deny visas to their associates and relatives.

Despite Russia’s audacious hacking, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last week would only go as far as to concede: “It’s fair to say Vladimir Putin feels like he is fighting a low-level, asymmetric war with the U.S.” Because of the Obama administration’s failure to fight back, Mr. Putin is enjoying many victories.

Whole thing accessible here.