The vaporous assertion that Putin’s regime was up to “espionage”
and “covert ops” in order to “denigrate” Mrs. Clinton might naturally be
presumed to imply that Putin was promoting smears. Such an impression —
if that’s what the agencies were aiming to create — would have been
contradicted by mentioning “Podesta,” as in John Podesta, the top Obama
White House and Clinton-campaign official whose private e-mails were
hacked. To bring up Podesta might remind the public that this was not a
disinformation campaign. What was revealed here was true information
that Podesta and his correspondents would understandably have preferred
to keep private.
As President Obama likes to say, let me be
clear. I am not endorsing hacking, cyber-theft, and the publication of
private information. Unlike some conservatives now infatuated with
scoundrels like Julian Assange (and even Putin!), I continue to regard
enemies of the United States as, well, enemies of the United States.
They are not to be trusted, regardless of whose ox they happen to be
goring as their allegiances and calculations twist and turn.