Former head of US Intelligence James Clapper just admitted that the United States was simply looking out for citizens of various countries “when we tried to manipulate or influence elections or even overturned governments,” a statement directly at odds with the moral high ground claimed by President Obama and other US officials on the topic of Russian election meddling.
In an interview with Bloomberg’s Tobin Harshaw published Saturday, Clapper – who is promoting his new book “Facts and Fears,” said “I guess the way I think about that is that through our history, when we tried to manipulate or influence elections or even overturned governments, it was done with the best interests of the people in that country in mind,’ adding that the US has a “traditional reverence for human rights.”
According to a February 2016 report by Dov H. Levin, the United States has engaged in over 80 instances of election meddling or regime change between 1946 and 2000, while a February analysis by the New York Times notes that election meddling is hardly unprecedented.
“If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,” said Steven L. Hall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations. The United States “absolutely” has carried out such election influence operations historically, he said, “and I hope we keep doing it.” –NYT
“We’ve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947,” said Loch K. Johnson, a University of Georgia professor who began his career in the 1970s investigating the CIA for the Senate.
“We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We’ve planted false information in foreign newspapers. We’ve used what the British call ‘King George’s cavalry’: suitcases of cash.”