John Bolton Comments on Russian Hacking

December 12th 2016

Mike Rothschild

Even as concerns over Russian interference in America's presidential election becomes a bi-partisan issue, there are some highly placed officials who refused to take the matter seriously. 

Count former UN Ambassador and Donald Trump's potential deputy secretary of state, John Bolton, among those asking "why so serious?"

John Bolton

During an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the career diplomat uncorked a conspiracy theory by claiming the hacking a "false flag," which perpetrated by someone hostile to Trump and then pinned on the Russians. 

Bolton also claimed President Obama had "politicized" the intelligence community, and accused the CIA of having an ulterior motive in revealing their findings of Russian involvement.

And in a statement that echoes the "just asking questions" ethos of the conspiracy theory community, Bolton suggested that either Obama or Clinton were behind the hacking, saying "it’s not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag operation." Bolton also questioned why the Russians would leave evidence behind and why there was no CIA speculation that Russians had penetrated Hillary Clinton's email server.

John Bolton face

When pressed to explain his explosive conspiracy theory, Bolton essentially repeated himself, concluding the interview by saying "until we know more about how the intelligence community came to this conclusion, we don’t know whether it’s Russian inspired or a false flag.”

What is a False Flag?

The "false flag" conspiracy theory is one of the most popular in that community. Those who deploy it claim that everything from the attack on Pearl Harbor to any number of recent shootings were staged incidents carried out by the government for the purpose of pushing a reactionary agenda.

Bolton himself is no stranger to this community, having propagated evidence-free theories about Clinton faking a concussion to avoid testifying about the Benghazi attack, Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the Obama administration, and, in an ironic twist, that it was a Bernie Sanders voter who hacked the DNC, rather than the Russians.

While Bolton's theory that the DNC essentially hacked itself likely has little compelling evidence, he was able to put it forward precisely because little information about the extent of the damage caused by Russian meddling has been released. Most of the initial reports rely entirely on anonymous sources, and little confirming information has been unclassified.

Journalist Alyona Minkovski noted on her Facebook page that lack of public information regarding the intelligence community's findings has led to doubt and speculation. 

It's when evidence is scarce that conspiracy theories fill in our knowledge gaps, helping us make sense of what doesn't make sense. Until the CIA releases more information about the hack (and likely well after that), alternative explanations will be put forth by those who have a vested interest in disproving "the official story."