Recall that old saw ‘think like a lawyer’? Its an invitation to the exercise of self-serving mendacity, at the very least. Here is the center of the case that The Economist makes for believing the lawless operatives of the American National State.
In language as blunt as it is startling, the assessment, written by the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency, declares that this crime is no whodunnit. Though the declassified report does not make public its sources or supporting evidence, it declares the “high confidence” of American spy chiefs that they know the culprit. It finds that: “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign… to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
The descriptor ‘high confidence’ is the rhetorical place holder for the actual evidence, that is so secret that it can’t be used in a public document. That lack of ‘evidence’ is the product of National Security State rampant paternalism.
Some of the readers of this newspaper are old enough to recall Joe McCarthy’s waving around his ‘List of Names’. This is the purest hyperbole, to match this:
‘AMERICAN democracy has suffered a grave assault…’
The Trinity of American Exceptionalism, American Hypocrisy and American Mendacity comes together in the notion that ‘grave assault’: American innocence besmirched by a kind of abstruse Russian revanchism?
The record of American interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, since the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, even to the point of invasion and occupation, the disappeared facts of the case. Call it American Stalinism i.e. the attempt to erase the inconvenient facts of history, allied to the branding of dissidents as ‘deviationists’. In the Age of the Internet, those dissidents to the Party Line are named ‘trolls’ who are by rhetorical prestidigitation the 5th Column from another age.
Call this moment in American History 1952 Redux. Except that the role of Inquisitor is continually shifting from Republicans like the Neo-Con McCain to New Democrats like Neo-Liberal Schumer. While the role of Paul Ryan, as Trump apologists, casts him in the role of a Hubert Humphrey to his Lyndon Johnson. Ryan’s burning political ambition renders him a comic figure, without a trace of the pathos, that can humanize even the most unsympathetic comic bungler.