Truth Telling as “National Security Threat Against Democracy”

You already know I consider “…the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming…” claims in connection with the DNC hack to have, err, less than a firm factual basis (being polite).

Bruce Schneier, who needs no introduction to anyone concerned about computer security issues, has a quite different take on those claims.

Bruce writes:

Russia has attacked the U.S. in cyberspace in an attempt to influence our national election, many experts have concluded. We need to take this national security threat seriously and both respond and defend, despite the partisan nature of this particular attack.

There is virtually no debate about that, either from the technical experts who analyzed the attack last month or the FBI which is analyzing it now. The hackers have already released DNC emails and voicemails, and promise more data dumps.

While their motivation remains unclear, they could continue to attack our election from now to November — and beyond.

If you have read those “expert” reports carefully, you will remember that despite positive claims of Russian responsibility, the attribution dissolves into “…we have seen this before… (no offers of what has been seen before),” and “…this is characteristic of … (again, no data)” and similar statements.

Perhaps Bruce trusts these experts in the absence of data that connects all the dots.

But in any event, what do you make of his claim that truth telling about the DNC is “…a national security threat against our democracy…?”

So far as I know, no one has denied the documents leaked about the DNC. Given the time lapse and subsequent events, I take it that everyone accepts the documents are a truthful report of the emails and documents of the DNC.

People have been embarrassed, people have resigned, the public has been slightly disabused of any idealistic notions about the political process, a rare interjection of truth into the political process has occurred, but I’m not seeing “…a national security threat against our democracy….”

How can anyone, Bruce included, claim that truth telling ever rises to the level of a “…a national security threat against our democracy….”

I’m probably old-fashioned but I was taught that truth telling was the basis for meaningful democracy, not a threat to it.

Would you deprive voters of truthful information based on its point of origin?

Shouldn’t voters (who are voting after all) be allowed to decide what weight they will or will not give even truthful information?

PS: Attacks on voting machines and election mechanisms are in a different (criminal) category from the disclosure of truthful information. But we should be thankful that foreign powers haven’t adopted the US practice of assassination to influence elections.

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