America may need to ‘vote again,’ says former CIA operative Robert Baer – preferably in a plebiscite not orchestrated by Vladimir Putin. The spy-turned-author spoke to CNN on Saturday about the latest reports of Kremlin skulduggery to elect Donald Trump. While there is no evidence that hackers fiddled with electronic voting systems or ballot-counting machines, the CIA has concluded with ‘high confidence’ that Russian-backed hackers were actively out to sink Hillary Clinton, according to unnamed officials speaking to the Washington Post and the NewYork Times.
If true, the reports add motive to mischief already known. In October the Department of Homeland Security said all 17 US intelligence agencies (yes, 17) are ‘confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions,’ and that ‘the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.’
This is alarming stuff, unless you’re Donald Trump. ‘I think it’s ridiculous,’ the president-elect told Fox News Sunday when asked about the reports. ‘I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.’
That may explain President Obama’s rush-order for a ‘full review of the pattern of malicious cyber activity,’ which White House flak Eric Schultz announced on Friday. Obama wants the report before he leaves office on January 20, Schultz said, stressing that the investigation ‘is not an effort to challenge the outcome of the  election’ but rather to ‘make sure that we have the right defensive capabilities in place’ to prevent future intrusions.
In their own statement, bipartisan Senate leaders called for a Congressional investigation to ‘examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.’ These are worthy goals, though Trump doesn’t see it that way. While allowing that ‘it could be Russia’ and ‘I don’t want anyone hacking us’, Trump told Fox he suspects all these reports are the product of disgruntled Democrats who are ‘putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.’