Though the author of the article defers too much to Mueller and the anti-Trump partisans, it is an interesting piece overall and it examines some very important points with regard to Mr. Mueller, international cyber spying, and speech.
It should also be noted the degree of conformity we have seen on what is called the “Left” recently. They have thrown in completely with the legal bureaucracy in hopes that somehow this group, what some call the “deep state” will take out Trump. This is extremely shortsighted.
And what is the U.S. policy (if any) that is being communicated to military and civilian operators who face this threat? What is the U.S. government response to former NSA official Jake Williams, who worked in Tailored Access Operations and who presumably spoke for many others at NSA when he said that “charging military/gov hackers is dumb and WILL eventually hurt the US”?…
…The Mueller indictment was greeted by outrage anew—outrage that is reaching new heights after President Trump’s Russia-friendly press conference. But is there a principled basis on which the United States can object to the Russian interference? Recall that President Obama boasted that U.S. offensive cyber capacities were the greatest in the world, and that Sanger reports that “the United States remains the world’s stealthiest, most skillful cyberpower.” Then consider:
- The wide array of U.S. cyber intrusions abroad revealed by Snowden.
- Olympic Games, the operation against Iranian centrifuges that Michael Hayden compared in significance to the use of nuclear weapons in August 1945.
- The Shadow Broker leaks of many of the NSA’s offensive tools and what the NSA was doing with those tools.
- The U.S. Internet Freedom program, which (among other things) provides cyber tools and training to activists in authoritarian nations with the aim of achieving political change there.
- U.S. officials assisting and urging U.S. social media giants such as Twitter to help activists bring down foreign governments.
This is but a bit of the public evidence—surely a tiny sliver of the overall evidence—of U.S. “interferences” abroad using offensive cyber tools of various sorts. These interferences are why the United States, along with Russia, is widely viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous cyber bullies (if not the most dangerous), and not just by authoritarian states. The U.S. interferences don’t in any moral sense “justify” what Russia did in 2016, though they might have—as Sanger and I and others have suggested—invited or encouraged them. Nor do U.S. cyber interferences abroad in any way impact Mueller’s work, which is to find out what Russia did so the United States can hold the relevant actors responsible to the extent possible and, hopefully, do better the next time.
But U.S. interferences abroad do raise the question: What is the U.S. objection in principle if others do to us as we do to them?