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BRIAN KIERAN
BRIAN KIERAN

The presidential election had many “firsts” but the political sabotage which may have tipped the election in a direction that another nation wanted is certainly a first for this voter.

We know from the reports of our intelligence agencies that it is increasingly apparent that Russia purposefully targeted the Democratic presidential campaign and “hacked” e-mails in order to steal and then leak information to help Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign. Mr. Trump has called the findings of the intelligence agencies whose operations he will soon overlook “ridiculous.”

The president-elect and Congressional leaders are bickering about whether Mr. Trump received assistance in his campaign in the form of the steady leaking of embarrassing information that was “hacked” from the Democratic Party.

Mr. Trump claims that it doesn’t matter if the Democratic campaign was hacked or he claims the post-election attention to the “hacking” is just partisan “sour grapes.”

Shouldn’t it matter if a foreign government systematically stole confidential communications and then parsed it and then released it so the information only helped one candidate and only hurt the other? Why would Mr. Putin want Donald Trump to be the president of the United States instead of Hillary Clinton?

Mr. Trump said that the hackers may be American or Chinese, but that the experts “have no idea.” Hopefully they have some idea. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed, two Republicans and two Democrats, pledged to work together to assure an investigation is conducted despite Mr. Trump’s claims that one is not needed.

Using language that must become an anthem for all Americans, if we are to survive the tumultuous years ahead, they stated, “Democrats and Republicans must work together … across … jurisdictional lines … to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks.”

The director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers, stated, “There shouldn’t be any doubt … [that] this was not … done casually [or] … by chance … this was … a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

The White House has promised to respond to the Russian hacking, which NBC News reported Thursday may be directly linked to Putin. The CIA has a report, not yet released, which may have answers.

National Intelligence Director Clapper said, “Once the review is complete … the intelligence community stands ready to brief Congress … and … make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods.” If Russia was involved, then something must be done.

It appears that Russian intelligence agents and contractors did “hack” and steal information that was leaked to embarrass Hillary Clinton and her campaign. However, the election is over and we the people would play into the hands of Vladimir Putin if we wallowed in partisan infighting while he extends Russian influence in the Middle East and the Black Sea.

We should do what is appropriate to combat these attacks on our sovereignty. We should target the individuals responsible for the attacks, as well. President Obama promised to take action against Russia over the cyber-hacking. He told reporters, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action.”

Those actions which could include economic sanctions would take place “at a time and place of our own choosing,” he added.

President Obama should also have the Department of Justice indict foreign hackers, if they can be identified, so that their actions, which were criminal, can be punished. This has proven to be a deterrent to Chinese cyber-hacking.

In 2014, an indicted Chinese businessman was arrested in Canada for being involved in “hack” attacks from China. He admitted to helping agents of the People’s Liberation Army steal technology for the C-17 military transport cargo airplane from Boeing and he was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

What we cannot do is ignore the problem or make believe that it doesn’t exist. What will President Trump do?

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