A somewhat compressed and mostly accurate transcript of a statement Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, read to the Atlantic Council.
“Putin will resort to more authoritarian tactics to remain in control…We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence and try to build on its own wide range of operations and exacerbate political figures in the United States. There should be no doubt that Russia is perceived as successful, and views the 2018 U.S. Midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
Predictions are cheap and, when repeated by the media, may accurately be described as “fake news,” because the events have not happened and likely never will. That is because, from the soothsayer’s perspective, predicting disaster is better than predicting success. If disaster does not happen, the audience will be happy and, if it does, the predicter can say “I told you so.”
That said, an authoritarian speaks with authority about things he knows nothing about. What other “tactics” might be deployed is unclear. Mr. Coats had some difficulty with the word “authoritarian” and, one suspects, he misread “figures” for “fissures” because “exacerbate political figures” makes no sense. That an aspirant dictator might want to divide the herd to isolate his prey would be characteristic. However, the herd would have to be monolithic to begin with. Besides, if Russia did put its money on Trump, the “prize” is like one of those kewpie dolls one brings home from the fair.
If the U.S. electorate takes any message from 2016, it will be that consultant and media and pundit spin is absolutely worthless and democracy involves cutting out the middlemen and DIY. Even if Trump fails to drain the swamp, as he likely will because that was a promise to Congress he never intended to keep, history will credit him with decimating, or more, the Hill by motivating the electorate to replace the deadwood with fresh trees.
Government by the people is on a roll. Getting scammed by the Russians is just a bridge too far.
Did I mention that national security is a scam? Just imagine securing a figment of the imagination.