Durham, the Disinformation Board and the 2024 Elections
Category: Op/EdVia: vic-eldred • one month ago • 18 comments
By: Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. (WSJ)
If you think special counsel John Durham's prosecution of individuals affiliated with Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign concerns only ancient history, in one way you're right.
The FBI seen in the Durham trial is a prelapsarian FBI, nonplussed about how to handle an approach from the campaign of the woman whom all concerned believed would be the next president.
In those more innocent days of 2016, intelligence agency meddling in our election would amount to a comedy of errors, to the disadvantage of Mrs. Clinton, who likely lost because of the late reopening of her email case by the FBI, which certainly wasn’t what the FBI intended.
To Team Obama at the time, the threat that needed to be contained in 2016 wasn’t (and never became ) Russian meddling, it was the Hillary email investigation. Only later, with Mrs. Clinton’s shocking defeat and the intelligence community’s realization that their actions would come under a scrutiny they never anticipated, was the country plunged into a whole new ballgame. This ballgame and its legacies continue today: the poisonous and illegal intelligence leaks aimed at the incoming Trump administration; the peddling by Democrats and the FBI of the Steele dossier; the FBI’s misleading of a surveillance court in order to rummage through the communications of a minor Trump campaign associate.
This new ballgame, this ugly new reality, came into the open in a way that formerly would have been hard to envisage outside Vladimir Putin ’s Russia, when 50 former U.S. intelligence officials, led by Obama veterans, concocted and sold to the media a legend about the Hunter Biden laptop story. We now have one foot in a future that should horrify any American, with U.S. intelligence veterans, like Russia’s siloviki , gaslighting our electorate to influence a presidential election.
We, and I mean America, have not been ready psychologically to face what happened in 2016: the hyping and overplaying of the real but paltry Russian influence operations aimed at our election in order to distract from the activities of our own intelligence agencies, specifically their blundering role in electing Mr. Trump.
Which brings us to today. Election 2024 need not be a relitigation of 2016 and 2020, it need not be another electoral college squeaker, with the incentive to foment or fabricate October surprises, to fiddle with election rules, trying to tilt an expected close outcome. It need not be another apocalyptic, anything-goes partisan showdown that certain elements in American life crave.
But listen, on the left and Never-Trump right, to the unending alarms about a pending 2024 Trump coup. Listen, in the Trumpian camp, to the simmering disaffection from American institutions exacerbated by the continuing drip-drip-drip of revelations about the collusion hoax.
In his Twitter fight, Elon Musk started out talking generically about free speech but has inevitably been drawn into a discussion of the Steele dossier, the Hunter Biden laptop episode, the stripping of tweeting rights from a president still widely supported among voters.
And speaking for itself is the Biden administration’s Orwellian attempt to install a domestic “disinformation” czar in time for 2024, under an agency created to fight terrorism, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
One day historians will honestly revisit these matters. Their most gobsmacking discovery will be that, while it was hardly the deepest cause of anything, the predicate for everything was Hillary’s illicit email server as secretary of state.
The collusion hoax was created in 2016 by Mrs. Clinton to distract from the server issue.
The FBI intervened, gallumphingly, in the 2016 race because of its possession of what it considered explosive Russian intelligence concerning Mrs. Clinton’s server.
And all that followed after Mr. Trump took office had less to do with the intelligence community’s abhorrence of Mr. Trump than you think. It had to do with the intelligence community’s need to bury the story of its own 2016 role in delivering him to the White House. Do not have any doubt about this, especially you liberals and leftists who suddenly embrace the FBI and CIA as your partisan soulmates. The goal of these agencies is protecting their institutional interests and burying their mistakes (as always), not sharing your heroic fantasies of resisting authoritarianism, racism, sexism, or whatever you think Trump and Trumpism represent this week.
Finally, I hesitate to reach for strange variables to account for the inexplicable but I’m tempted by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s theory of a contagion of stupidity thanks to social media—because nothing else can explain the national press’s miserable performance in coming to terms with 2016. This includes its conspiracy of silence on the Justice Department inspector general’s secret appendix describing the discredited Russian intelligence that set off the FBI’s actions in the 2016 race.