Decoding McCain’s Hearing on Trump vs. Spies

This article originally appeared on this site.

On Thursday morning, Senator John McCain, of Arizona, convened a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the subject of cybersecurity, “in the aftermath of an unprecedented attack on our democracy.” By that, McCain meant, mostly, the theft and release of e-mails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, which the American intelligence community believes to have been the work of hackers connected to the Russian government. But a lot of the senators had more on their mind. The main witnesses, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, and Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, were asked if Donald Trump had demoralized spies by casting doubt on their hacking assessment (possibly, but they hadn’t taken a poll); if the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, had any credibility (neither thought so); and if anyone really listened to the radio anymore (yes). That last question came from Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who thought that the United States was not on top of the information war against Russia. Graham judged a cautionary note that Clapper had offered about espionage and people who “live in glass houses” inadequate to the moment. “I think what Obama did was throw a pebble. I’m ready to throw a rock,” Graham said. He glanced around the chamber with a look of cold eagerness, and added, “So to those of you who want to throw rocks, you’re going to get a chance here soon.”

See the rest of the story at newyorker.com

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