Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

If Putin is hacking American elections, what other mischief might he be funding?

How does one raise the logical question of Russian meddling without giving offense?

duck_wings_outstretched
duck_wings_outstretched

That’s the question that occurred to me after I read some anti-Semitic attacks on Anne Applebaum, the distinguished historian and columnist.

I wonder what we will find out in the future. Parts of the American left got Soviet subsidies in the olden days, and they rightly have been criticized for that for decades. I wonder if some of the nuttier right-wing sites are getting money funneled somehow from Russia, knowingly or not. We know that there have been many indications that Putin is meddling in European politics, and in ours too.

I also wonder if Congressional Republicans are reluctant to back an investigation of Russian meddling because they worry that they don’t know what else they might find. 

That’s the question that occurred to me after I read some anti-Semitic attacks on Anne Applebaum, the distinguished historian and columnist.

I wonder what we will find out in the future. Parts of the American left got Soviet subsidies in the olden days, and they rightly have been criticized for that for decades. I wonder if some of the nuttier right-wing sites are getting money funneled somehow from Russia, knowingly or not. We know that there have been many indications that Putin is meddling in European politics, and in ours too.

I also wonder if Congressional Republicans are reluctant to back an investigation of Russian meddling because they worry that they don’t know what else they might find. 

Yes, I know that I likely will be called things like a “left wing McCarthyite” for raising the question. But how does one raise this logical question of Russian meddling without giving offense?

As CIA director John Brennan said earlier this week, “What we do at CIA is to look at a country’s capabilities, look at their intent, look at things that they have done in the past, and determine whether something that certainly looks like a duck, smells like a duck and flies like a duck, whether it’s a duck or not.”

If it looks like a Muscovy duck…

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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