WASHINGTON – John Podesta’s taking the hacking of his email account a little personally.
The chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign told “Meet the Press” Sunday the hacking of election related emails, which he claims was by the Russians, was the political equivalent of the 9/11 attack on the U.S. in which nearly 3,000 Americans were killed, the worst foreign aggression on the U.S. mainland by a foreign entity in history.
Podesta said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “personally involved” in the effort because he wanted Donald Trump in the White House as his “lap dog.”
“Russia clearly intervened,” Podesta said, asserting that “NBC revealed that Putin was personally involved” and that the “CIA, FBI and director of national intelligence James Clapper all agree that the Russians did it to help Trump.”
Actually, NBC reported that anonymous sources within the intelligence agencies agreed that was the case, but Clapper’s spokesman denied the director of national intelligence agreed with that assessment.
Podesta also said it was an “open question” as to whether Trump or his campaign team were directly involved.
Nevertheless, Podesta said the email flap was not the cause of Clinton’s loss, attributing that to his own team. He acknowledged that Clinton during the general election should have visited Wisconsin, which until this year no Democratic presidential nominee had lost since 1988.
Democrats have been drawing the analogy between the hack of the Democratic National Committee and the 9/11 attack frequently in recent weeks – apparently trying to shift attention from the embarrassing content of many of the communications discovered in the accounts after they were published by WikiLeaks.
No evidence has been produced publicly to tie Russia to the breach.
- Less than a week ago, Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA under Barack Obama and a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, used the same phrase as Podesta, calling the hack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” “It is an attack on our very democracy,” Morell said. “It’s an attack on who we are as a people. A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life.”
- Last week, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the email breach as serious as the 9/11 attacks and asserted that they cost Hillary Clinton the election. Reid also said the hack was “as big a deal as Watergate.”
- Podesta himself first called the email hack “the political equivalent of 9/11” in a Washington Post op-ed last Thursday.
- Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland also called for a 9/11-style commission to investigate.