Congress should in­ves­ti­gate claims that Rus­sian hack­ers in­ter­fered with elec­tion.

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

What an ex­tra­or­di­nary time for our na­tion that there would even be a de­bate over whether Congress should in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that an­other na­tion at­tempted to in­flu­ence our pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Af­ter months of warn­ings from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and the na­tion’s top spies that Rus­sia sought to make a mess of things, we learn that CIA of­fi­cials be­lieve that Rus­sian-backed hack­ers worked to help push Don­ald Trump to his sur­prise vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton. Per­haps pre­dictably, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump says that’s all bunk and that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion would be a waste of time. For added mea­sure, the blus­tery New York bil­lion­aire dis­missed Amer­ica’s premiere in­tel­li­gence agents as hacks in their own right, and po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated bum­blers at that.

Ei­ther way, shouldn’t Amer­i­cans be granted the op­por­tu­nity to learn the truth?

We take heart that top elected Repub­li­cans are call­ing for a con­gres­sional probe or probes. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, re­fresh­ingly re­mind­ing the pres­i­dent-elect that “The Rus­sians are not our friends,” joined House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Repub­li­cans in call­ing for a full ac­count­ing.

Colorado’s Repub­li­can U.S. sen­a­tor, Cory Gard­ner, who chairs a Se­nate com­mit­tee whose re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude in­ter­na­tional cy­ber­se­cu­rity pol­icy, re­newed his call for a per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Cy­ber­se­cu­rity, in join­ing McCon­nell and Ryan.

“These al­le­ga­tions must be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated, and I will con­tinue to work with my col­leagues to ad­dress the sanc­tion­ing of Rus­sia and specif­i­cally, bad ac­tors iden­ti­fied fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Gard­ner said in a state­ment.

How far we’ve come since the Cold Wars days, when fear of com­mu­nist plot­ting raged, to now, when a pres­i­dent-elect not only brushes off ex­pert opin­ion from the agen­cies that ought to know, but con­tem­po­ra­ne­ously sur­rounds him­self with men friendly and fi­nan­cially con­nected to Rus­sia. (Re­mem­ber Paul Manafort, the Trump cam­paign ad­viser who stepped down, in part be­cause of re­ports of his ties to pro-Rus­sian politi­cians in Ukraine?)

That Trump seeks for his sec­re­tary of state Rex Tiller­son, Exxon Mo­bil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, whom Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin counts as a friend, raises fur­ther ques­tions. The mas­sive oil and gas com­pany stands to make bil­lions of dol­lars should U.S. sanc­tions against Rus­sia go away un­der a Trump pres­i­dency. The Se­nate should ask es­pe­cially tough ques­tions of Tiller­son while con­sid­er­ing his nom­i­na­tion as top di­plo­mat.

The ques­tion of Rus­sian med­dling doesn’t in­volve whether the for­eign power hacked into vot­ing re­sults, but the leaks of Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee e-mails, as well as hacked e-mails from Clin­ton cam­paign chief John Podesta. Re­ports sug­gest that Rus­sian hack­ers also col­lected Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee e-mails, but didn’t choose to leak them. Thus, the sus­pi­cion that Putin meant to hand Trump an ad­van­tage.

Mean­while, Trump’s pick for na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, echoes the pres­i­dent-elect’s dis­dain for CIA agents, ar­gu­ing that the agency has be­come a po­lit­i­cal ex­ten­sion of the Obama White House.

Given so much in­trigue swirling around the ques­tion of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence, we sug­gest the best course of ac­tion is to seek a full ac­count­ing. Too much is at stake to sim­ply drop this one in the round file.

How is there even de­bate over whether Congress should in­ves­ti­gate CIA al­le­ga­tions that Rus­sia at­tempted put Don­ald Trump in the White House?

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