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NSA Expert Bamford: Blaming Russia for Hacking Is Like Iraq War ‘Groupthink’

Nov. 4, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a Reuters article that has been picked up by Russia Insider, the Daily Mail, and others, James Bamford, an expert on the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), tears apart the Obama Administration’s intelligence community claims that Russia is the source of hacking into Democratic Party-linked e-mails and is leaking the e-mails in order to fuel scandals that will hurt Clinton’s election campaign.

Bamford warns against the "unanimity" behind the accusation. "There is also the problem of groupthink that led to the war in Iraq," Bamford says.

"For example, just as the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the rest of the intelligence establishment are convinced Putin is behind the attacks, they also believed it was a slam-dunk that Saddam Hussein had a trove of weapons of mass destruction."

Bamford also questions how rapidly Russian intelligence was blamed for the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. He points out that it was the private cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, called in by the DNC, that "took just a month or so before it conclusively" blamed the FSU (Russian intelligence agency) and GRU (Russian military intelligence) for being behind it.

"Most of the other major cybersecurity firms quickly fell in line and agreed. By October, the intelligence community made it unanimous."

Finally, Bamford warns about the escalation, as the White House has been tasking the CIA to give it a menu of countermeasures Obama can use against Russia in retaliation.

Such countermeasures are "a prospect that has long worried Richard Clarke, the former White House cyber czar under President George W. Bush," Bamford says.

"’It’s highly likely that any war that began as a cyberwar,’ Clarke told me last year, ‘would ultimately end up being a conventional war, where the United States was engaged with bombers and missiles.’"