By Jason Taylor
What is happening to the French election, as what happened in our election is again an absolute travesty, again sponsored by Putin and his kleptocratic ilk. Western governments must retaliate and put a check on this unchecked and volatile Russian hacking spree. Moscow is cruising for a bruising.
The digital attack, which involved a dump of campaign documents including emails and accounting records, emerged hours before a legal prohibition on campaign communications went into effect. While the leak may be of little consequence, the timing makes it extremely difficult for Mr. Macron to mitigate any damaging fallout before the runoff election, in which he faces the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has pledged to pull France out of the euro and hold a referendum to leave the European Union.
“Intervening in the last hour of the official campaign, this operation is obviously a democratic destabilization, as has already been seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign,” the Macron campaign said.
“The ambition of the authors of this leak is obviously to harm the movement En Marche! in the final hours before the second round of the French presidential election,” the Macron statement read.
French voters must be smarter than American voters and give Macron a resounding victory. France and Germany need to save liberalism and the EU. We need a strong European Union more than ever to combat Trumpism and nationalism.
This is what happens when you don’t fight back. When you don’t speak out. When you muddy the waters and refuse even an honest investigation. When you get up on stage and encourage more of it. At least the French think it’s a problem. In the US, the supporters of Trump, be they grifters or theocrats or some combination, only see it was useful.
After Russiagate involving increasing evidence of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, especially the targeted hacking of the Clinton campaign, it may ironically play to Mr. Macron’s advantage to be the latest target. Well, soon find out. It now seems that data encryption may be the only way to blunt the effects of such hacking in the future.
Meanwhile, there clearly is a need for Western democracies to push back forcibly against Russia perhaps with increased sanctions and other economic and political penalties. This is state-sponsored criminal activity aimed at destabilizing democracies in their most fundamental activity — their elections. Russia needs to be boycotted by the West — both economically and politically.
I believe the West has made a serious mistake in setting their national security priorities in the last decade or so. We have focused our attention almost exclusively on the maniacal lone wolf with a machete or explosives in his underwear… as opposed to the less understood and even less visible cyberwarfare launched on western ideals and institutions by Russia by exploiting our fear of the other and different.
I’m not saying that we ignore the dangers from extremists and nutjobs who are using a violent ideology to wage war on us. But, I AM saying that we should not ignore the threat posed by a decade’s old foe lying dormant for a while but being led by someone who still sees the world through the Cold War lenses of his KGB training.
It took Brexit and Trump to wake us up to his grand designs. Let’s not take our eyes off the ball again.