James R. Clapper, director of the Office of National Intelligence, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey last Thursday jointly delivered to President Barack Obama a report he requested about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. (President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers, and senior-level congressional leaders, were briefed on the reportFriday, when a declassified summary was released.)
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the declassified report said in part of its key findings. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”
The report and its findings already have sparked brisk discussion and debate—about whether the report is a pretext for U.S. aggression against Russia, whether Trump’s presidency should be challenged, and even whether the report’s claims are true.
But the report and its findings notwithstanding, here’s a golden opportunity, says Leid Stories, to engage in a long-overdue debate: A national discussion on the U.S.’s long and despicable history of interfering in elections in countries all over the world.