If you listen to the media, Russia is an all-powerful country with an army of hackers who can manipulate election results on a whim.
Russia was recently accused of meddling in a major election.
But the intelligence community shocked everyone when they announced there was no evidence to support that claim.
Allegations that the Russians were attempting to subvert Germany’s political process and influence next September’s election where pro-European Union Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking re-election flew about the media.
Germany’s intelligence agencies even launched an investigation into the matter.
But the results were surprising and they do not fit the current media narrative.
The BND and the BMW – German equivalents of the CIA and FBI – conducted a thorough investigation into Russian meddling.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports:
“German intelligence agencies have not found any clear evidence for a Russian disinformation campaign against the federal government, but still do not give an all-clear. According to information from Süddeutscher Zeitung , NDR and WDR, this is the result of an almost one-year investigation by the Bundesnachrichtendienst ( BND ) and the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV). Original reflections, which were categorized as secret curses, were at least partially published.
“We have not found any smoking gun,” the government said, trying to find a striking evidence of Russia’s political interference. The government would have liked to present such a proof in order to warn Russia about this type of action. “We would have liked to draw the yellow card,” says a security expert. However, given the lack of evidence, a 50-page intelligence publication would not make sense. This would only have put a strain on the strained relationship with Russia.”
However, the paper reports that Merkel didn’t accept the findings and ordered a further investigation:
“However, the Chancellor’s Office ordered the investigation to be further investigated. For the report of the special evaluation “Sputnik” of the BfV and the work group “Psychological Operations” of the BND, which is subdivided into 13 chapters, is also not an acquittal from the government’s point of view. He analyzes Russia’s “more confrontational course” against Germany since 2014 and calls the reporting of Russian media and their German offshoots such as RT Deutsch or Sputnik News “hostile”.
It should be noted that Merkel now trails in the polls – a recent survey found Martin Schultz leading her by 11 points – for her re-election and she could be trying to muddy the water surrounding her political prospects by claiming she is the victim of Russian-backed fake news and propaganda.
Similar accusations have been made in America.
But those allegations have been taken one step further with Trump critics claiming his campaign was in cahoots with Russian intelligence to manipulate the election.
But like in Germany, no evidence has yet to emerge to implicate the Trump campaign.
Even the supposed “bombshell” New York Times story that reported on contacts between Trump aides and Russian nationals included one big caveat.
They reported there was no evidence the campaign colluded with Russia on the email hacking:
“American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”
Is Russia actually a global boogeyman?
Or are they using the media overinflating their capabilities to project a strength they don’t possess?
Or are politicians who ended up on the wrong side of the populist wave sweeping the west using Russian hackers as an excuse for why voters are rejecting their policies.