Last week former acting CIA director Michael Morell expressed doubts on the Trump dossier and Trump associates’ contacts with Moscow. But these doubts were predictably not resonant as on Wednesday the US Department of Justice charged four men, including two Russian intelligence officers, with masterminding a hacking criminal conspiracy in 2014 when 500 million Yahoo user accounts had been hacked. It is worth noting that one of the officers was reportedly arrested in Moscow for state treason in December since Russian counterintelligence accused him of passing secret information to CIA. The US current indictment includes economic espionage, wire fraud, trade secret theft and also targets two outsource hackers, who were allegedly hired to steal necessary data in exchange for exploiting the same tools to make money. Officially the case is unrelated to the DNC hacking or the ongoing investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the recent US presidential elections. American experts believe that the indictment is just an attempt to deter possible cyberattacks in the future as anyway there is no extradition agreement between Moscow and Washington.
However, the timing signals that American authorities clearly understand that the charges will add fuel to the fire of a battle between Donald Trump and his opponents and will limit US president’s ability to initiate détente in Russia-US relations. The Kremlin’s reaction can hardly be characterized as harsh since Russia bashing has become a usual part of internal political games in America. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Moscow have repeatedly denied any official involvement in unlawful activities in cyberspace. The situation seems even more complicated given the recent WikiLeaks revelations that CIA has the tools for “misdirecting attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints”. So by these false digital flags it can shift blame on other states. Somebody could respond that it is just another conspiracy theory but today US citizens live in the age of almost official Trump-Russia conspiracy with the American media constantly aggravating the situation by unsubstantiated accusations. Therefore, it is not surprising that people have doubts about the current charges. The telling example of neo-McCarthyism is Senator John McCain’s words. On Wednesday he claimed that “the senator from Kentucky [Rand Paul] is now working for Vladimir Putin” after Rand Paul had blocked an attempt to vote on Montenegro’s NATO membership.
Besides, last week witnessed the third anniversary of a referendum in Crimea when people had voted for joining Russia. Unfortunately, the western media still lacks thorough analysis of that time events and continues to resemble an echo-chamber rather than serious analytical outlets. Once again instead of trying to rethink the situation they offered only bright epithets (such as “illegal annexation”, “brutal Russian aggression” or “democratic legitimate government in Kiev”) to their readers. Meanwhile, Ukrainian government continues to deepen the existing cleavages in the country claiming cutting off all transport connections with the breakaway regions of Donbass. This clearly shows that it still does not understand the reasons of the Crimean vote and people’s desire to leave Ukraine. Western reaction to the blockade has not followed despite it does not comply with the Minsk agreements.
By Tricia Escobedo
You’ve heard the allegations. And, if the US spy community is right, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the world’s most powerful person is Vladimir Putin.
By Paul J. Saunders
‘The Most Powerful Man in the World’ offers little expertise, choosing instead to cherrypick interviews and history to prove a political point.
By Robert Parry
Democrats and liberals have climbed into bed with the neocons to push the “Russia-did-it” conspiracy theory as a way to “get Trump,” but this New McCarthyism has grave dangers.
By Vindu Goel and Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times
The Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence officers on Wednesday with directing a sweeping criminal conspiracy that stole data on 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014, deepening the rift between American and Russian authorities on cybersecurity.
By Stephen F. Cohen
“Kremlin-puppet” allegations against Trump are said to have crippled Trump’s ability to initiate cooperative relations with Moscow—but have they?
By Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger
The Washington Post
Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser amid controversy over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known, according to newly released documents.
By Maxim Trudolyubov
Hacking the U.S election and Trump’s unforced errors give Russia a boost.
By Marcy Wheeler
A close read of the sensational Yahoo indictment.
By Melik Kaylan
In short, we are watching the unravelling of Nato via Putin’s machinations.
By James Kirchick
The Kremlin wants to destroy the trans-Atlantic alliance. Does Trump want to save it?
By Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov
Polls show Russia critic Macron defeating Fillon, Le Pen.
By Senator Ben Cardin
Russia has been systematically undermining the security arrangements that peacefully ended the Cold War. This puts Europe in danger.
By Pavel K. Baev
Russia’s president thinks Donald Trump is not ready to meet a sudden challenge.
The Russians are back, if they’d ever gone away.
By Michael Carpenter
The national security professionals in the current administration must develop a coherent strategy for supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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