The Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is being treated too much like a novelty and not enough as a serious and persistent security threat. The problem becomes more urgent as we see it spread to other countries.
WikiLeaks, which disseminated stolen DNC documents, announced last week that it would turn its attention to France, and has released material relating to presidential candidates François Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, opponents of Marine Le Pen.
US intelligence agencies found clear links between Wikileaks and the Russian state; we have to assume Russia will use these to undermine Vladimir Putin’s arch-nemesis, Angela Merkel, when she faces the far-right Alternative für Deutschland at the polls in September.
But there’s a deeper dimension to Russia’s actions, which deserves the free world’s urgent attention: its capacity to silently influence domestic legislation and policy-making between elections.
Leaders in the US and Europe must stop any attempt by Trump to ease sanctions on Russia
With his success in the US last year, Putin has put opponents on notice that there will be a price to pay for crossing him. Indeed, the complex infrastructure that Russia built to infect public discourse with false or stolen information isn’t going anywhere. It can be unleashed at any time, on any issue, domestic or international.