Russian hacking, 2016 U.S. elections, social media, fake Americans, states' election systems | Homeland Security Newswire

The Russia connectionWhat’s important is not that Russia changed the 2016 election outcome, “but that it attempted to do so”: Report

Published 14 February 2018

In an important new report on the challenges that Russia’s aggressive posture poses for U.S. interests in the world, and to U.S. democratic institutions and social cohesion at home, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon warn that the United States has so far failed to elevate Russia’s intervention in U.S. elections to the national priority that it is. They add that the United States has neglected to respond to Russia’s intervention in a way sufficient to deter future attacks. They argue, “A wide range of additional measures is therefore needed in order to better protect U.S. society and political and electoral systems from further intervention.”

In an important new report on the challenges that Russia’s aggressive posture poses for U.S. interests in the world, and to U.S. democratic institutions and social cohesion at home, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon warn that the United States has so far failed to elevate Russia’s intervention in U.S. elections to the national priority that it is. They add that the United States has neglected to respond to Russia’s intervention in a way sufficient to deter future attacks. They argue, “A wide range of additional measures is therefore needed in order to better protect U.S. society and political and electoral systems from further intervention.”

Blackwill and Gordon say that no one can know for sure what, if any, effect Russia’s attack had on the results of the election. But this question, and others like it, are a distraction. “The important point is not that Russia changed the outcome of a U.S. presidential election but that it attempted to do so.”

In his Preface to the report, Richard N. Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, notes that the “administration’s first National Security Strategy (NSS) identified Russia as a principal challenger to American power, singling out its interference in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world and its attempts to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. The NSS also notes that Russia aims to weaken U.S. influence around the world and divide the United States from its allies and partners. This view has much in common with what is argued in this report.”