David Satter, a well-known journalist and expert on Russia, claimed he was one of the many targets of Russian email hacking during the 2016 election but the Democrats and others in the media have the wrong idea about what the hacking was intended to do.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday night, Satter said the real purpose of the hacking was not part of a collusion scheme between the Kremlin and Donald Trump's campaign to influence the election, but an effort to breed distrust between whoever the next president would have been and the intelligence community.
"Portions of the 'resistance' to President Trump are convinced he colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election," Satter wrote. "But the known facts do not support a Russia-Trump plot to defeat Hillary Clinton. Russia's actions are consistent instead with an attempt to turn Americans against each other and sow distrust between the president and the American intelligence services."
Satter said that he was one of the people affected by the hacking but that the cyberattacks were too widespread to suggest it was intended to specifically harm Clinton.
"Last October my emails were stolen by Fancy Bear, the same Russia-linked group that hacked John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton's campaign chief," he wrote. "Citizens Lab, a University of Toronto cybersecurity project, found that I was part of an operation aimed at 218 unique targets — officials, journalists and military — in at least 39 countries. Former FBI Director James Comey said during his recent testimony that since 2015 there could be more than 1,000 entities targeted by Russian hackers in the U.S. alone. Hacking on this scale would have been difficult to coordinate with any American political operatives, let alone in the heat of a presidential race."
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia did attempt to influence the election and that one of the objectives was to aid Trump, though the president and his associates have denied accusations of collusion.
Congressional Democrats investigating the issue have publicly stated that they haven't found any proof that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.