TIME: Russian interference was revenge against Clinton, 5 years in the making, U.S. intel didn't think much of it

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday May 18th, 2017

It's not about Trump, it's about Hillary.

You may have seen the newest cover of Time Magazine.  It's being passed around by faux-outraged liberals like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert.  If you haven't seen it, here it is:

TIME: Russian interference in election was 5 years in the making, U.S. intel didn't think much of it

Spooky, right?  It conjures up all sorts of nefarious deals, the return of the 'evil empire,' and the Soviet-era cold war that progressives suddenly seem to love so, so, much. The great game is back, baby, and Time is here to relive its glory days.

Unfortunately, the libs who are getting all giddy over the imagery likely haven't read the article it promotes.  I say that, because it doesn't do their current case any favors.  While it does make the case that the Ruskies were exerting pressure in the last election, Trump has little to do with it.

In fact, it seems it's all about getting back at the previous administration in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular:

In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer bragged to a colleague that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to pay Clinton back for what President Vladimir Putin believed was an influence operation she had run against him five years earlier as Secretary of State. The GRU, he said, was going to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. election.

What the officer didn’t know, senior intelligence officials tell TIME, was that U.S. spies were listening. They wrote up the conversation and sent it back to analysts at headquarters, who turned it from raw intelligence into an official report and circulated it. But if the officer’s boast seems like a red flag now, at the time U.S. officials didn’t know what to make of it. “We didn’t really understand the context of it until much later,” says the senior intelligence official. Investigators now realize that the officer’s boast was the first indication U.S. spies had from their sources that Russia wasn’t just hacking email accounts to collect intelligence but was also considering interfering in the vote. Like much of America, many in the U.S. government hadn’t imagined the kind of influence operation that Russia was preparing to unleash on the 2016 election. Fewer still realized it had been five years in the making.

In 2011, protests in more than 70 cities across Russia had threatened Putin’s control of the Kremlin. The uprising was organized on social media by a popular blogger named Alexei Navalny, who used his blog as well as Twitter and Facebook to get crowds in the streets. Putin’s forces broke out their own social media technique to strike back. When bloggers tried to organize nationwide protests on Twitter using #Triumfalnaya, pro-Kremlin botnets bombarded the hashtag with anti-protester messages and nonsense tweets, making it impossible for Putin’s opponents to coalesce.

Putin publicly accused then Secretary of State Clinton of running a massive influence operation against his country, saying she had sent “a signal” to protesters and that the State Department had actively worked to fuel the protests. The State Department said it had just funded pro-democracy organizations. Former officials say any such operations–in Russia or elsewhere–would require a special intelligence finding by the President and that Barack Obama was not likely to have issued one.

A few quick points...

A: If you think U.S. intelligence doesn't try to influence the political fortunes of Russia, you're insane.  Of course we do. We've been running those sorts of clandestine ops for decades.

B: The Obama admin was funding influence operations against Netanyahu in the Israeli election, so there's no reason to think they wouldn't do it in Russia too.

C: In Russia's case, we should be doing this. Like it or not, global espionage exists for a reason. Russia is not our friend, Putin is really not our friend, and efforts to keep things in check make perfect sense. However, it is interesting that the very same people who spent the last year screaming about alleged foreign influence have, once again, been outed for trying to exert the same.

More importantly, the Time article shows that - if there really was a Russian effort to derail Hillary - it started before Trump had clinched the nomination and, in all likelihood, began before he even announced his intention to run.  If that's the case, any candidate not named "Clinton" would have benefited from the actions of the new "red menace."  Which, of course, is what the left is really upset about.

Assuming Time has its facts straight, it wouldn't have mattered if Clinton's opponent was Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, or low-energy Jeb! ...Hillary was targeted for personal revenge.

All of that said, Russia still isn't the reason Hillary lost. She was an immeasurably terrible candidate whose arrogance and hubris cost her traditional Dem strongholds.  I've talked to an awful lot of people, and I've never heard one of them say revelations from "Russian Hackers" changed their vote. Virtually to a man, they say they didn't love voting for "The Donald," but they couldn't bring themselves to pull a lever for Hillary.

It wasn't Russian psy-ops that cost Hillary 2016.

35 years of being a horrible person "built that."

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