The serious possibility that Russia may have intervened in the presidential election to benefit one of the candidates is disquieting enough to prompt a thorough investigation. A select bipartisan committee created for this purpose is a step in the right direction. However, politically it is more viable to perform the inquiry by way of the regular groups already in existence, such as the intelligence committee.
During the presidential campaign, there were several reports on Vladimir Putin’s government intention to damage the U.S. electoral process by penetrating the computer system. The fear was that it could affect vote counting, but it was later found that the hacking occurred in email accounts.
The FBI had warned the Illinois Republican Party that its email had been hacked months before the election. Then came the WikiLeaks disclosures during the Democratic Convention, aimed at damaging the relationship between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
That was a preamble of what was to come. A weekly trickling of information obtained by WikiLeaks from emails sent by Clinton’s campaign manager slowly ate away at her movement up until the day of the election. This does not mean that she lost because of this; there were many factors at play.
In September, intelligence agencies informed Congress leaders about Russian activities intending to interrupt and discredit the U.S. electoral process. Democrats wanted an investigation, but the Republican majority opposed for fear of the impact it could have in the election.
The distance between what was said then and what is being said now – that the purpose was to help Donald Trump – is not that long. Intelligence agencies had connected more dots than was previously known, aside from Putin’s dislike for Clinton. The Russian leader considers that she meddles into his sphere of influence.
Today, we can say that the outlook for Putin is much better with a friendly leader such as Trump, who is willing to imply that the U.S. intelligence services are incompetent just to defend Russia, who does not want to receive daily intelligence briefings because they are repetitive, and who lies by saying that no one told him about the hacking before the election.
It is encouraging to see a bipartisan group of senators interested in learning what happened and how to prevent future cybernetic penetration. The idea is not to question Trump’s victory, but the impulse to protect the image of the new administration at all costs should not obstruct an important investigation.