quarta-feira, 27 de julho de 2016

Trump's comments on Russia denounced as 'shocking and dangerous'

Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to suggest that Russian operatives should hack into the email account of Hillary Clinton, to help retrieve her 30,000 deleted emails. Speaking in Doral, Florida, Trump said: ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing’. In the same press conference, the Republican nominee also denied allegations that Russia had helped to hack into the Democratic National Committee emails in order to help his campaign

Trump's comments on Russia denounced as 'shocking and dangerous'

Former Nato commander says Republican’s comments urging Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails were alarming for domestic and international concerns

Spencer Ackerman and Sam Thielman in New York
Wednesday 27 July 2016 21.25 BST

A former Nato commander has said Donald Trump’s call for Russia to hack and disclose rival Hillary
Clinton’s emails were “shocking and dangerous”.

Retired US admiral James Stavridis said Trump’s comments on Wednesday were alarming both for domestic political concerns and their international implications.

“In addition to the obvious domestic political implications of essentially inviting interference in our election, they will further undermine European confidence in the reliability of the US as an ally – particularly in the face of Russian adventurism,” said Stavridis, whom Clinton briefly vetted for vice-president.

Amid widespread political speculation about Trump’s unusual respect for Russian president Vladimir Putin – the rare foreign figure Trump has not belittled – Trump said at a Wednesday press conference: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Other former senior defense officials echoed Stavridis, even as they said they did not wish to wade into a presidential election. Another former senior defense official, who did not want his name used, texted “unbelievable” when asked about Trump.

Trump’s comments, encouraging espionage from a foreign power on his domestic political adversary, came as the FBI has opened an investigation into the release of 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through WikiLeaks.

Cybersecurity firms believe the emails were acquired over several months of quiet access to the network in 2015 by two Russian hacking teams. The hackers, designated Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear by investigators, are very likely the work of Russian intelligence apparatus, according to CrowdStrike, which analyzed the hack.

As the political fracas around the DNC hack intensified on Wednesday, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees made an extraordinary request to Barack Obama: to consider “declassifying and releasing” intelligence assessments of the data breach, even though the FBI’s inquiry has just begun.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff, both California Democrats, pledged their support for the FBI investigation, but said given the prospect that Russia might have engaged in “a state-sponsored attempt to manipulate our presidential election, we believe a heightened measure of transparency is warranted”.

The legislators named Putin, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russian military intelligence (GRU) specifically in their request and asked for a public airing of assessments that “might illuminate potential Russian motivations” for the interference.

As the FBI investigation unfolds, there is preliminary consensus within the Obama administration that the DNC breach was Russian in origin, but not that it was directed or controlled by the Russian government. One senior official, asked about a potential declassification, remarked: “Maybe figure out what’s going on first.”

The breach of the DNC by a pair of intruders believed to be Russian operatives has sent shockwaves through the Democratic party and resulted in the ouster of committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who announced her resignation on Sunday.

Trump’s comments on Wednesday, combined with his refusal to release his tax returns, have likely ensured that questions about his unusual openness toward Putin will remain a fixture of the 2016 presidential contest, particularly as Trump has cast doubt on the US honoring its Nato commitments to protect its Baltic allies from Russian aggression. At his Wednesday press conference, Trump also said he would “be looking into” recognizing Russia’s conquest of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and lifting sanctions against Moscow aimed at pressuring a Russian withdrawal.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee, said that Trump’s behavior “wouldn’t be believable if he was a character on House of Cards”, much less the Republican nominee for president.

“Trump goes out of his way to praise Vladimir Putin, he advocates pro-Russian foreign policy positions – like breaking commitments to America’s European allies – and now he’s hoping Russia hacked the secretary of state’s emails? Anyone who cares about US national security should be truly alarmed about the possibility that this man could be our president,” Wyden said.

Despite its confidence that the hackers were Russian spies, CrowdStrike was cautious in attributing the hack to the specific Russian agencies cited in Feinstein and Schiff’s letter. Dmitri Alpertovitch, head of the firm, has said he has “low-level confidence” that Cozy Bear was the work of the FSB and “medium-level confidence” that Fancy Bear represented Russia’s GRU.

The ranking Democrats called the evidence connecting the hackers and the Russian intelligence agencies “convincing”, a step the Obama administration, the FBI and the intelligence agencies have yet to take publicly.

The White House and the office of the director of national intelligence did not have immediate comment on Feinstein and Schiff’s declassification request. The FBI referred the Guardian to the White House.

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