It likely that no one really knows what "the Russians" did or intended to do. (Note: "the Russians" are not a monolith... there are many contentious subgroups within the Russian government.) It seems certain that they -- and many others -- were working to disrupt the American election, but it seems impossible to determine how much these actions contributed to the eventual result, and to what degree any specific thing was intended.

Most of the American media are "reporting" that President Obama ordered an investigation of "Russian hacking of our election," and that the intelligence community "confirms" that it happened. Yet there is not yet any evidence that Russia hacked the election or was responsible for the DNC email hacks. None.

When self-interested people and their media allies proclaim something is true, and form a chorus that drowns out any other views, I always suspect a con. It is so easy for the Left, since it controls education and the media, to sell any tale it wishes, from global warming to Michelle Obama as a glamorous fashion icon. Most people will simply fall in line because it is too much trouble and risky to dispute what is regarded as a received truth by the power elite.

But the CIA's evidence and report are being kept secret, so we are expected to trust the word of anonymous sources.

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances.

"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. "That's the consensus view."

And yet... farther down in the same barely-sourced article:

The CIA presentation to senators about Russia's intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency's assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin "directing" the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were "one step" removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. ...

The White House and CIA officials declined to comment.

So... anonymous insiders leak a story to damage the incoming president. The tail end of the story makes clear that the entire matter was viewed in a partisan manner by every public official involved.

The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow's hands. ...

Some Clinton supporters saw the White House's reluctance to act without bipartisan support as further evidence of an excessive caution in facing adversaries.

Democrats unanimously wanted the government to assist Hillary (i.e., "take the treat seriously"), and Republicans pointed out that such actions would be "an act of partisan politics". You can parse the language however you like and agree with your preferred side, but there was clearly a divide across party lines.

It's worth pointing out that none of this "hacking" would have been possible if Hillary and her team had followed basic cyber-security protocols.

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