Over the weekend John Bolton, who is poised to become the No. 2 man at the State Department under Donald Trump’s presidency, caused quite a stir during an interview with Fox News’ Eric Shawn. The former United Nations ambassador suggested that the Obama administration may have had something to do with the election season hacks blamed on Russia — wondering out loud if the hacks were a “false flag operation.” Bolton elaborated:
It is not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false-flag operation. Let’s remember what FBI Director James Comey said dealing with Hillary’s home brew server. He said we found no direct evidence of foreign intelligence service penetration. But given the nature of this, we didn’t expect to. Meaning a really sophisticated foreign intelligence service would not leave any cyberfingerprints — and yet people say they did leave cyberfingerprints in the hacks regarding our elections. So the question that has to be asked is, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary’s server, but their dumb intelligence services against the election?
Shawn was quick to retort that a false flag operation is a serious allegation to make and pressed Bolton to explain if he was accusing anybody in the Obama administration or in the intelligence community of tampering. Bolton responded that he, as well as the rest of Americans, simply can’t know. Bolton also added that he believes intelligence has been highly politicized during Obama’s tenure as president — a notion that many people who were unhappy with FBI director James Comey’s actions during the 2016 election may agree with.
Last week the Washington Post published a report suggesting that the intelligence community believes Russia was responsible for several election hacks in an effort to help ensure Donald Trump’s election. President Obama is taking the report seriously and has requested an investigation into the situation. A bipartisan group of senators — John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, and Jack Reed — has also called on an independent investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. But Bolton doesn’t think we should be so quick to jump to the conclusion that Russia is the only potential offender.
“We would want to know who else might want to influence the election and why they would leave fingerprints that point to the Russians,” Bolton said. “That’s why I say until we know more about how the intelligence community came to this conclusion, we don’t whether it’s Russian inspired or a false flag.”
Bolton did add, however, that if it turns out to indeed be the Russians who are responsible, the U.S. will need to retaliate.