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James Clapper Thinks Americans Are Dumb Enough to Vote for Trump Because of Facebook Ads

The former head of our intelligence agencies thinks we're all easily manipulated rubes. Is that why he lied to the Senate?

James ClapperPaul Hennessy/Polaris/NewscomFormer Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has an important message for Americans: He thinks y'all are dumb.

Clapper is best known around here for the time he lied to a Senate committee by denying that the feds were engaged in the mass collection of American citizens' phone and internet records. His lie was part of what prompted Edward Snowden to steal and release loads of classified documents revealing the truth.

Clapper has since insisted that he didn't actually lie but rather just totally forgot about this massive secret data collection program. He's been spinning that response for a couple years now. He brought it up again just recently on The View.

Clapper is making the rounds again to promote a new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence. Also providing publicity is his open feud with President Donald Trump, who is now taking his attacks on the "deep state" to the point where he's accusing the FBI of installing a "spy" in his campaign.

While it seems obvious that the FBI was monitoring Trump's campaign to determine the extent of connections with Russian interests, the "spy" claim seems absurdly overheated (for now, anyway). And so we've reached a point where Americans are "taking sides" between two men who have reputations for not exactly being honest and for treating Americans like stupid rubes.

In an interview this week with Judy Woodruff on PBS, Clapper makes it very clear how big a bunch of rubes he thinks Americans are. He believes not only that Russian interests attempted to influence the election—obviously true—but that they tipped the outcome.

This unprovable claim is based on the idea that Americans' votes are easily manipulated. Clapper acknowledges that his former agency has not made such a formal determination, but

as a private citizen, it's what I would call my informed opinion that, given the massive effort the Russians made, and the number of citizens that they touched, and the variety and the multidimensional aspects of what they did to influence opinion and affect the election, and given the fact that it turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, to me, it just exceeds logic and credulity that they didn't affect the election, and it's my belief they actually turned it.

The evidence doesn't really show that the Russian influence campaign amounted to much. As Reason's Jacob Sullum has carefully detailed, the Russian social media campaign spending was a drop in the bucket when compared to overall online ad revenue, and the content seemed to focus on affirming preexisting beliefs. If it accomplished anything, it was to heighten already existing points of cultural conflict. It "exceeds logic and credulity" to think that this campaign of affirmation altered the election's outcome. Especially when you remember that this didn't happen in a vaccum: At the same time the Russians were buying Facebook ads, countless other groups were spending far more on election messages.

Woodruff asks Clapper why he's inflaming this feud now. He explains, "I am so concerned about the health and strength of our institutions and our values that I spent a lot of time defending, that I had to speak out."

Ah, the health and strength of those institution and its values. Let's scroll up the interview a little bit. When Woodruff asked whether the intelligence community had, indeed, sometimes gone too far in their work, here's the extremely vague way Clapper talks about the congressional committees that monitor intelligence agencies:

So the members on those committees have to represent our citizens to make sure that what the intelligence community is doing is legal, ethical and moral. And we have had cases where, depending on the situation, post-9/11, for example, where our intelligence community did things that, after the fact, people objected to.

Torture. He's talking about torture. What's amazing here is that he can't even bring himself to use the "advanced interrogation techniques" doublespeak that they had settled on. The intelligence community "did things." Just, you know, stuff. And people objected to it "after the fact," as though the totality of what they were up to hadn't been carefully concealed from us and the evidence destroyed.

I cannot imagine why Americans should be interested in the opinions about the norms and ethics of our federal institution from a man who won't speak honestly about Americans' distrust of our intelligence agencies, and who thinks we're so stupid that some Facebook ads can trick us into voting for candidates we don't want.

Photo Credit: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

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  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    James Clapper Thinks Americans Are Dumb Enough to Vote for Trump Because of Facebook Ads
    The former head of our intelligence agencies thinks we're all easily manipulated rubes. Is that why he lied to the Senate?

    Before we get on our high horse here, we're talking about Hillary voters.

  • LawDog||

    And Dolt.45 voters are any more enlightened?

  • Bubba Jones||

    The argument is that 80k Hillary voters were swayed by Russian trolls to vote for Trump.

  • JesseAz||

    Man, who knew we could run a successful campaign for 1 million a month! Hillary sure wasted that over 1 BILLION she spent on her campaign!

  • Chipper Jones||

    80,000, 78,000, 39,000, 29,000...pretty soon we're down to just Johnny "With Her" Sullivan of Canton, Ohio, who simply drank an entire bottle of Stolichnaya before voting and hung the wrong chad.

  • Sevo||

    "You ignored 3/4 of it."

    When *all* if it should have been ignored, dimwit.

  • JoeBlow123||

    If we are implying that 12 million USD bought 80,000 votes then our politicians are buying a ton of votes with the billions they spend.

  • MarioLanza||

    How much did foreign governments spend on Hillary? Facebook gave Obama data that they charged other candidates. Gifts of services are still campaign contributions. Probably worth millions. Not reported.

  • MarioLanza||

    Note that the 12 million figure is misleading. It was not all to support Trump. Much was spent to promote Black lives matters, Bernie Sanders, etc. You can actually see the ads. Simply delusional to think they changed any votes at all.

  • Quixote||

    Besides which, I know a few Americans who did vote for the nation's great leader and who are grateful to Facebook and other social media sites for leading our movement to victory. Americans are not at all dumb, and one of the best proofs of their intelligence is their ability to determine exact;y when "parody" crosses the line into rank criminality that needs to be suppressed with the full force of the law, regardless of the "free speech" baloney we keep hearing from the so-called "First Amendment community." See the documentation of America's leading criminal "satire" case at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Or against baseless accusations, born out of discredited evidence bankrolled by the opposition candidate. Who thinks Russia is so incredibly dangerous that she signed a deal just a few years ago of our uranium reserves.

  • Quixote||

    Obviously, as any college student knows, the truth is relative. Naturally those of you who are intent on insulting our national leader would like to defend your "satires," but we are the ones who have the power and, mark my word, you will certainly be arrested and jailed if your "parodies" cross the line.

  • LarryA||

    It was 78,000 votes, which is 39,000 switches.

    Not necessarily.
    It also could have been motivating 78,000 voters who would never have voted for Clinton to go to the polls and vote for Trump.
    Or it could have been demotivating 78,000 voters who would have voted for Clinton that they should stay home.

  • Sevo||

    "Not necessarily.
    It also could have been motivating 78,000 voters who would never have voted for Clinton to go to the polls and vote for Trump.
    Or it could have been demotivating 78,000 voters who would have voted for Clinton that they should stay home."

    The imbeciles pimping for the hag are not really interested in facts which point out their idiocy.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    You should really have that deviated septum fixed "Michael". It's even intruding into your comments.

  • The_Hoser||

    I just figured that was a coke problem. It might explain all the caps, too.

  • msimmons||

    MH, you seem like a thoughful person, so maybe you've already thought through this...

    If FBI, DOJ, CIA, etc placed an informant inside the Trump campaign to protect the country against Russian interference and illegal influence in an America election, why didn't they place informants inside the Clinton campaign, especially after Uranium One, hacked emails, the Russian-sourced Steele dossier, John Podesta's brother lobbying on behalf of Russia interfence in Ukraine, inflated speaking fees ($500,000) paid by Russia to Bill Clinton for a speech at the Russian bank Renaissance Capital, etc? Or maybe they did and it hasn't been leaked yet?

    I wonder why Reason hasn't provided more coverage of the run-up to and performance by the Special Counsel since the three letter entities were concerned about Russian interference, and before the election the concern was purportedly independent of which campaign was being influenced or manipulated. Purportedly.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We probably need at least half a dozen special prosecutors to perform a comprehensive 'security review of Hillary Aclintoms activities. To clear her of any false claims against her, of course.

  • dr ricardo||

    MH, why were the Russian FB ads more effective than HC's FB ads?

  • MarioLanza||

    You can see the facebook ads that are for Bernie or Black Lives Matters or against Hillary. There is no way these cheesy ads changed any votes.

  • MoreFreedom||

    You should read the Facebook ads at democrats-intelligence.house.gov/facebook-ads/ After looking for awhile, I finally found an ad that supported Trump. Most of them appear to be designed to stir up fear of racism.

    Hillary and Jeb have also shown that advertising (given Hillary spent about twice what Trump did) isn't what wins elections.

    But I do think Russian hacking affected the election; just not how Hillary claims. I believe Putin got her emails and blackmailed her and Obama into the flexibility he promised the Russian prime minister that got picked up on a hot mic, and the appeasement they showed Putin (such as the uranium sale, and in Iran, Syria and the Ukraine). Appeasing Putin helped her lose.

  • ThomasD||

    Shackford is dumb enough to think anyone here is going to think Clapper believes a word he says.

  • JesseAz||

    Tony, Hihn, et al prove you wrong.

  • ThomasD||

    Well, point taken.

    But I'm not sure whatever it is that Tony and Hihn do qualifies as thinking.

  • John||

    No Scott. He thinks Americans are dumb enough to believe him when he says that. He knows it is not true. And that makes it worse. You can't have a Republic if people don't believe the results of the elections. This jackass is doing everything he can to convince people that the election results are not valid. All so he can avoid being held accountable for his numerous crimes and in hopes he can eventually get back into a position of power.

    You really can't overstate how foolish and craven Clapper is. Something is seriously broken in our country for it to have allowed such a creature to ever hold an important position of authority.

  • I can't even||

    He thinks Americans are dumb enough to believe him.

  • ipsum||

    I couldn't agree with you more. Well said.

  • LarryA||

    Well, to be fair, there was a great deal of media concern during the last few weeks that the losers wouldn't accept the results of the election. Because that way leads to CHAOS!

    Of course, that was when everybody in the msm knew who was guaranteed to lose.

  • Ecoli||

    "Something is seriously broken in our country for it to have allowed such a creature to ever hold an important position of authority."

    And Brennan is worse. Comey seems to be about as bad as Clapper, and "everybody" claimed Comey was beyond reproach, a literal boy scout when he wasn't singing in the choir.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, before he was fired the consensus on both the left and right was that he ought to be fired. The left and right disagreed about exactly why, but few people had that high an opinion of him, until having a high opinion of him was necessary to justify being outraged by his firing.

  • Ecoli||

    "Something is seriously broken in our country for it to have allowed such a creature to ever hold an important position of authority."

    And Brennan is worse. Comey seems to be about as bad as Clapper, and "everybody" claimed Comey was beyond reproach, a literal boy scout when he wasn't singing in the choir.

  • Steve Davis||

    This idiot was in charge of one of the most powerful organizations in the history of the world.

  • BYODB||

    And suffered zero real repercussions for lying about literal and blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution as the one in charge of said agency, not to mention a little thing called perjury.

    What's that about America not already being a Banana Republic? Oh, right, we're still pretending.

  • Zeb||

    I thought a Banana Republic was a country whose political structure corrupted by particular outside industrial/agricultural interests, not just a corrupt state. I think we need a different word for what the US is becoming/has become.

  • John||

    It is a Republic going through an authoritarian phase. That happens a lot to Republics if they survive long enough. And it is sometimes irreversible but not always.

  • BYODB||

    This is a good point Zeb. I think John has it closer to the point below, in that the U.S. is a Republic in decline. I'm not sure if there's a perfect descriptor for it, but the rule of law itself is eroding at a rapid pace.

    Tytler said the next phase would be some brand of authoritarianism, and that seems to be the path we're on.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I think we need a different word for what the US is becoming/has become.

    Totalitarian clusterfuck with a veneer of democracy to keep the rubes thinking they actually have some say?

  • Citizen X||

    A Bread-and-Circus Republic.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    A Rubicon Republic?

  • gaoxiaen||

    A Panopticon Republic.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    A political reality show with the rubes voting for high school prom king and the candidates supplied by 19th century political machines.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Uh-huh, so the Russians were able to, by spending about a hundred grand, defeat Hillary's multi-million dollar machine and all of the leftwing press to boot. Is that the story Clapper is going with? It doesn't say much for Hillary or her operation if beating her was that damn easy.

  • Idle Hands||

    billions, multi billion.

  • ||

    It doesn't say much for Hillary or her operation if beating her was that damn easy.

    Or for the notion that elections are won by whomever spends the most money regardless of any other factors.

  • MasterThief||

    I couldn't really give a damn what Clapper says about anything. Still, this is a major counterpoint to this narrative that Russians posting on social media unfairly changed the outcome of the election. If that is something to take seriously, then the overt bias of most major media outlets and even these social media companies for the left and democrats is an outrageous situation that he should be addressing. It's pretty clear that what people are objecting to is the result of the election and not some people posting things online that hurt their preferred candidate. It doesn't matter whether the ads and posts are factual, lies, or purely opinions since the media and people on their side are free to engage in the same activities (and it could be argued that they have the advantage of people they agree with doing so)

  • fdog50||

    It also means that a few Russians farting around with Facebook ads had greater powers of persuasion than the editorial writers of the New York Times, the Washington Post and every other major media outlet that endorsed Clinton. And I thought that after the 2012 election the super-brainy Obama machine was the master of getting information and targeting voters. At least that's how the media praised them in 2012.

  • Presskh||

    So, Hihn, how do these few thousand "switched" votes compare with the hundreds of thousands or millions of votes switched in Hillary's favor by the colluding US news media and almost all major Hollywood shows, such as The View and late night talk shows? Answer: They were only a drop in an ocean - and the crooked, unlikable, shrieking bitch still lost.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Ar you sure you're noypt just angry since you campaigned so hard for her and she lost anyway?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    As always you miss the point. If the Russians flipped 29,000 votes how many votes did WAPO, NYT and the rest of the pro Clinton media (including Reason) and people like Bill Weld flip for HRC? Yeah facts are inconvenient but the facts are unknowable.We all know that you're disappointed that a thoroughly corrupt war monger, drenched in the blood of innocent people didn't ascend to the presidency. But reading comprehension is a valuable skill. Maybe you could work on that.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Aren't you worried about being sued by the real Michael Hihn? And either way, this phony web site is really over the top. And yes, this is a fake name. That's the gag.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's like watching a skyscraper fall in an earthquake, and attributing the direction it fell to somebody leaning on a wall. Billions were spent, and the Russian efforts were a drop in the ocean.

  • MarioLanza||

    Note that Clapper was Director of National Intelligence. Boy is that an oxymoron.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    He believes not only that Russian interests attempted to influence the election—obviously true—but that they tipped the outcome.

    Scott, I'm going to go easy on you here, but I'm not sure anything about "russian meddling" is "obviously true". I mean, if you keep it vague in that Russia and America have always had an... 'interest' in putting a little English on each country's election outcomes probably going back to the 1950s, sure. But if you're specifically saying that the facebook ads were supposed to try to tip the election by design, then not obviously true.

  • John||

    It is obviously false. But, you have to remember that Shackford lives in an environment where all kinds of completely false bullshit are taken as gospel such that even questioning it will get you exiled from your social group and likely end your career. The idea that the Russians wanted Trump to win the election and tried to make that happen is one of those ideas. You have about as much hope of getting Scott to be honest and reasonable about that claim as you do getting a Baptist to think maybe the Jews have a point.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Obviously false my ass. The Russians bought facebook ads to influence the election. Whether or not any success was at all proportionate to the budget is besides the point. It's established what they did; the only thing left is to quibble over how much effect they had.

    To pretend otherwise is as dumb as you usually are.

  • John||

    There is no proof at all they did that. Only allegations made by very dubious sources. Only someone as dumb and unprincipled as you could suddenly decide that since the FBI and CIA said it that it must be true.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And, how exactly did the Russians know exactly where and how many votes they had to switch? Maybe Hari Seldon is on their payroll?

    The Russians weren't doing anything that the campaigns weren't doing on a much larger scale. The only reason for thinking they swung the election is a desperation to believe the outcome was somehow illegitimate.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What I mean to say here, is all the evidence that I've seen is that the so-called Russian troll-farm was they were essentially "affiliate marketers" who were trying to generate clicks and eyeballs, without any real feelings about the American political process.

    For instance, there are foreign troll farms that produce Youtube "mashup" videos of all kinds of things which they've determined will "get views and clicks". They'll produce and reproduce videos on a wide variety of topics without any particular feeling from the produce about the contents of the video they're posting. Most of the evidence points to this type of operation with the Russian Facebook ads.

  • John||

    The Russians didn't think Trump could possibly win. No one in Washington or the media thought Trump would win. So how would the Russians have known any better or thought any differently? They were not trying to tip the election. They were trying to weaken what they saw as the inevitable coming Hillary Administration.

  • ||

    No one in Washington or the media thought Trump would win. So how would the Russians have known any better or thought any differently?

    ^ This.

    The DNC narrative is simultaneously that Trump only won because the Russians made it happen, and that Trump's victory was likely enough for Russia to form a serious plan counting on it.

  • Ecoli||

    Exactly.

    Even if you think the Russians did swing the election by convincing voters with their meager efforts, so what? American voters were convinced to vote as they voted. Does it matter which propaganda, (Democrat, Republican, British, Russian) voters responded to?

  • Mark22||

    Liberals and Hillary supporters just don't understand this at all. Which, I suppose, in a roundabout way, shows that a large part of the American electorate really is stupipd.

  • Right-Left=Zero||

    Conservatives are much fewer than you assume

  • Hugh Akston||

    Okay so the Russians tried to influence the election but without intending to sway the outcome?

  • John||

    Yes. They didn't think Trump could win and wouldn't have wanted him to win anyway. The point was to try and ensure Hillary was a weak President. Suppose it is true that the Russians released the DNC emails. Why would they do that? Those emails had nothing to do with Trump or Hillary really. What they said was the DNC screwed Bernie. That didn't help Trump. It is not like the Bernie Bros were all going to run out and vote for Trump or stay home in enough numbers for Trump to win. But it sure as hell made Hillary a less popular with her own party and a much weaker President had she won.

    I understand that you must believe that the evil Russians were behind Trump. But, that is just not what happened.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    The nature of the ads tend to suggest that they were trying to promote instability in the process. I can't imagine any ideology-driven ad campaign to support both Sanders and Trump. They were promoting the perceived underdogs as a way to drive instability into the election process, at least IMO. Given the pants shitting of the left and mainstream media, they appear to have succeeded in their goal.

  • JesseAz||

    Isn't it odd that after all the hullabaloo that Russians undermined our electoral process, liberals have jumped to forefront to prove Russians right?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    To be fair, liberals may have recognized like spirits.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm wondering if Scott believes that the Bernie Sanders coloring book ad was "obviously true" Kremlin-funded Russian meddling, or he's referring to the likelihood that the Kremlin has (and has probably always had) an office in a back room somewhere with a vague and broad directive to "influence American politics".

    The latter is very likely true, the former is unlikely to be true.

  • John||

    One of the biggest ways the Russians and the Soviets before them influenced American politics is by funding the Green movement. Odd how in the midst of all of this craze to root out the evil Russian influence, no one has noticed or said anything about that.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's also known that the Kremlin was involved with boosting and funding protests in the 1960s during Vietnam as a broad "destabilization" effort. But even people who know that write it off as throwing a molotov cocktail into an already-raging inferno. Probably because it was essentially just that.

    Is it possible this ad was directly funded by a mustache twirler at the Kremlin? Maybe? If it was, can you tell who it was intended to help? My guess it might have been intended to help Bernie Sanders? Maybe Hillary?

    Just because I read in the paper that an ad agency with "ties to the kremlin" bought ads, doesn't tell me it's an ipso facto kremlin operation. The Russian economy is an oligarchy of old communists. If you're a wealthy business person in Russia, your probably have some "ties to the kremlin".

  • BYODB||

    People don't realize that 'destabilization' doesn't mean helping anyone in particular, it just means make people distrust the process itself. Russia probably couldn't give less of a fuck who gets elected this time in particular, they just want people to distrust democracy. It's so much more fundamental that people make it out to be, which is sort of ironic since that means the Russians are actually succeeding at their goal.

    I guess that makes them Reason-branded Libertarians? ^_-

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a fair point. Still, we could easily stir the shit on their end, too, so they can't go too far. Putin isn't really in charge, he's the face of an oligarchy, and he's vulnerable, too, just in different ways.

  • ||

    People don't realize that 'destabilization' doesn't mean helping anyone in particular, it just means make people distrust the process itself.

    ^ This.

    It more often means deliberately helping two or more parties who are actively hostile toward one another. Like the US Gov was doing with Iran and Iraq in the 80s.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, is this (I don't know) attributable to the Russian government, or are there Russian citizens who run these ads for their own purposes? It doesn't make much sense for it to be the government, as this is very weak sauce if it was, but there are a lot of Russian companies that could be running ads legitimately or to scam FB users. Anyone know?

  • ||

    I certainly don't have any specific knowledge, but I definitely agree that people seem to be attributing more focus and agency to the Russian government than it probably actually has. Putin is a strong and clever man, but it seems to take all of his resources to just hold a badly fragmented and dysfunctional government together with Scotch tape and used chewing gum. Just because someone in Russia does something, the presumption that it's some well-coordinated effort of the Russian government or Putin himself seems a bit of a stretch.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I'm less offended by the 'Russia obviously interfered' horseshit than I am by the pretense that Trump was somehow making shit up by saying he was spied on.

    He WAS spied on. As an inarguable, objective fact of reality. We even know who the spy was.

    James Motherfucking Clapper even said he was spied on.

  • Joe_JP||

    When it suits, people here repeatedly call loads of people (voters) dumb on a range of issues unlike the smart Reason type commentator. So, why exactly isn't it possible that a small number of voters here were influenced in that way? And, "dumb" is a crude way to say that voters were influenced by carefully crafted messaging. Aren't voters all the time, including to help people who many here deem bad legislators, influenced by that?

    There is no way to actually prove this here and you can disagree with him all you want. But, if it was some other situation, some other election and the candidate involved was someone else, yes, many here would say "yeah, such and such messaging probably did influence enough voters, and that's unfortunate if something we have to live with."

    Here, a major influence wasn't some local interest group or something, but Russian influence. If Hillary Clinton won because of such influence (or some other country's efforts), I'm sure loads of Trump supporters would be upset.

  • Microaggressor||

    Cool story, bro.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • Bearded Spock||

    You gotta wonder what the Russkie Intel agent who came up with that one was thinking: "this ad will surely convince bourgeois voter in Vermont to vote for rich capitalist pig Trump over babushka Clinton."

  • Steve Davis||

    So, why exactly isn't it possible that a small number of voters here were influenced in that way?

    I personally think that there are just too many moving parts that have to align perfectly for actually influencing the outcome to work. Did they interfere? Maybe. Probably. I doubt it changed anything though.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    But at some point you have to start talking numbers. You have to turn likely Hillary voters into Trump voters.

  • Steve Davis||

    Not sure what the "but" was for there, because I basically agree with you. The Russians interfere in our elections as a matter of course, but it is almost certainly trivial interference and you'd need really strong evidence to convince me otherwise.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    My 'but' was more of an addendum. Everyone's got a big but. I'm no exception.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Not really. It is far more common to mobilize your supporters than to flip an opponent.

    Turnout is done through motivation as opposed to persuasion.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Did they interfere? Maybe. Probably. I doubt it changed anything though.""

    Posting BS memes on facebook is not interfering. At best it's influence. A lot of things, foreign and domestic, can influence one's opinion of how they want to vote.

  • Steve Davis||

    Posting BS memes on facebook is not interfering. At best it's influence.

    That seems like a distinction without a difference. If it isn't, I at least am having a hard time with understanding how one could influence an election without it being at least attempted interference. Which is all beside the point, because in the grand scheme it changed nothing.

  • Steve Davis||

    So I checked the definition, and the second example for "interfere" is "take part or intervene in an activity without invitation or necessity." As a contrast, "influence" says "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself." Influence actually seems like the stronger word there, and not the word I would use to describe what Russia did. I think they probably interfered, and that interference had virtually no influence.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "" I think they probably interfered, and that interference had virtually no influence."'

    How did they interfere? Posting a facebook ad is not interfering with any action. It does not prevent any one from doing what they wanted. If I left a pamphlet about how horrible Hillary is, does that interfere with the person voting or the process? It may change a persons mind, but it's not preventing their vote in a they way they wanted to vote.

    Interfering is restricting how fast up your can go. A speed limit sign influences your decision on how fast you decide to drive.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Basically, interfering prevents you from making the decision you wanted. Influence changes your mind about your decision.

  • Blappo||

    Basically, interfering prevents you from making the decision you wanted. Influence changes your mind about your decision.

    Yeah, no. That isn't the actual definition of either word. I get that you seem extremely, stupidly butthurt about being wrong, but you are so get the fuck over it.

    And since those id's are blown, I'll quit this stupid fucking conversation and leave you to once again ignore the actual definitions while you piss and moan and try to insist you know better.

    You're wrong. Eat it.

  • Blappo||

    It does not prevent any one from doing what they wanted.

    That's not the definition of interfere. Did you read my post? It looks like you didn't read my post.

  • Chipper Jones||

    Like my man Barack Obama said, it's impossible to effectively interfere in an American election. Too many moving parts.

  • fdog50||

    Do you believe anyone from Cook County when he he says that it is impossible to effectively interfere in an American election?

  • The_Hoser||

    Do you believe anyone from Cook County when he he says that it is impossible to effectively interfere in an American election about anything?

  • Tony||

    That's what I thought. Libertarians... always calling American voters smart.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They're smart when they vote for the candidate you want, dumb when they don't. Surely you know this by now.

  • MasterThief||

    They're always dumb. Sometimes they can be led to support positive changes. Sometimes they accidentally bring about positive change.
    As silly as this might be, I've always found this quote to be very reflective of society and groups in general.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."
    So what if the quote was from MIB and talking about knowledge of aliens. I took to individualism in large part because I see the collective as a torch carrying mob constantly seeking out the next emotion to be motivated by.

  • M.L.||

    Is it possible? No, not at all. It is exceedingly unlikely that these broken English click farm posts even changed a single vote. And if they did, it could have gone either way.

  • Sevo||

    "Here, a major influence wasn't some local interest group or something, but Russian influence."

    Facts not in evidence.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Just to be the devil's advocate, I will point out that the CIA has a long history of thinking it is easy to manipulate a national election.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Well, it doesn't take much effort to sway voters when you take out the reigning strongman.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It think clapper believes that the ads worked not from any evidence of that particularly. But because he knows the success rate of American's meddling in other countries elections.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    He sees the facebook ads as a Russian propaganda and he is judging based on the success of American propaganda.

  • John||

    But because he knows the success rate of American's meddling in other countries elections.

    Which is judging from everything I have ever read exactly zero.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    And that's what you supposed to think. A real propaganda action against another country is classified. And if it makes the news, the odds are that's a leak designed to form your opinion in a way the CIA wants you to think.

    By making it look like it's all failure, then you never know about the successes.

  • John||

    Sure. But every time something gets declassified, it always is a failure. It could be what you are saying. But it could be all failures too. I am betting on that.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I don't believe in 100% success rates, so sure there are failures. What's the odds though that any declassification is still geared toward influencing the public in the way they want the message to be told.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Clapper's book, and book tour is him using tools to form the public message.

  • BYODB||

    Look, the only possible excuse for why Americans didn't vote for Clinton is because someone must have tricked them. Obviously, voting for a Republican is impossible with an informed electorate.


    -What the Democrat Establishment Honestly Thinks


    Of course, let us ignore that plenty of actual Democrats thought Hillary Clinton was a terrible fucking candidate. I'm sure that had nothing to do with it. What is sad, though, is that the 'runner up' to Clinton was a literal socialist. That bodes well, I'm sure.

  • John||

    And Hillary is famous for the reset button, had no intention of increasing military spending, and would have done everything she could to kill the US petroleum industry in the name of global warming. Meanwhile, Trump is pushing Congress to spend more on the Military, has gotten Europe to start rearming, is going after Iran and other Russian allies that Obama gave a pass to and presumably Hillary would have as well, and is doing everything he can to increase US oil production, which does nothing but hurt the Russians by harming the price of oil. And oh, by the way, it is almost certain that the Russians have God knows how much blackmail material on Hillary thanks to her in-home server which was hacked and whatever happened with the Uranium 1 deal.

    Yet somehow the Russians were willing to take enormous diplomatic risks to interfere with the US election and get Trump and not Hillary elected. None of the Democrats ever seem to explain why the Russians would not have wanted Hillary to be President so badly.

  • BYODB||

    I don't think it's necessarily a fair assumption that Hillary would have continued Obama's foreign policy as a matter of course, even though she was his Secretary of State for a time. The reason why is because I suspect Hillary is a hawk, and she probably thought Obama was a pussy. Her stance on a Syrian no-fly zone, let alone the majority of her career, shows that she's no dove.

    I think her politics is, like Trumps, a relic of the mid-90's and as such she might be the last 'reasonable' Democrat to run for the office for the foreseeable future simply because she's a rank political opportunist. And yes, referring to Hillary Clinton as 'reasonable' is only by comparison to who's likely to run next, and it's terrifying.

  • John||

    Even if you don't think Hillary would have been another Obama, I still see no reason to believe the Russians were worried enough about her being President to want to try and tip the election against her. She would have stayed in the JCPOA. Would have continued the decline in US military readiness. And more importantly likely refused to start the very needed modernization of the American nuclear stockpile.

    It just doesn't make any sense.

  • ||

    I still see no reason to believe the Russians were worried enough about her being President to want to try and tip the election against her.

    Quite the opposite makes perfect sense from an intelligence perspective. You can only use a stooge as President for 4 yrs. Even less if you're more blatant about it. Meanwhile sewing discord no matter which party wins, undermining the democracy among it's own electorate... those are intelligence and propaganda wins that no amount of money can buy. The Russians don't much care if Mueller is investigating Clinton or Trump as much as they care that Mueller is establishing that the head of the FBI can't be fired no matter what and has limitless investigative reach; even for non-criminal offenses.

  • ||

    head of the FBI

    Special Counsel, sorry.

  • Z565||

    Trump was willing to end the sanctions which is very important to Putin and would be reason enough for Putin to intervene for Trump. There's no fucking mystery to it. If you were payimg attention and you're not a completely fucking blinded by partisanship you could plainly see the Trump Russia axis in action. For example Trump tried to lift the sanctions immediately when he got into office. It made no sense unless of course Trump was paying back Putin. Putin gives America nothing and we have no interest in making common cause with his mafia state. Trump was trying to pretend like we needed to "team up with Russia to fight ISIS" as the reason why we needed to forgive Russia and look past their meddling with is the biggest tell that Trump was compromised by Russia because that's Russian propaganda straight from the Kremlin. If ISIS didn't exist Russia would have created it out of whole cloth because and Assad and Russia needed ISIS so that they would look good and necessary in comparison.

  • ||

    If you were payimg attention and you're not a completely fucking blinded by partisanship you could plainly see the Trump Russia axis in action.

    Can I revise my nomination for Least Self-Aware Troll?

  • John||

    I love the sanctions narative. Trump just reimposed sanctions on Iran and the Democrats tell us that is the worst thing ever and nothing but a prelude to war. Yet, even the thought to lifting the sanctions on Russia is Treason!!

    Even if you believe that, what reason is there for the Russians to believe that Trump was actually going to lift the sanctions? All of the Trump tower meetings you are always yapping about happened after Trump won the election. No one has ever shown any reason why the Russians would believe that Trump both had a chance to win and was going to lift the sanctions.

    Meanwhile, it is pretty certain they have all kinds of blackmail material from Hillary's server. But they would have never used that for leverage to get the sanctions lifted once she was President because TRUMP!!

    If you are trolling here, I give you an A-. If you are not, you are a delusional lunatic.

  • ||

    No one has ever shown any reason why the Russians would believe that Trump both had a chance to win and was going to lift the sanctions.

    Well, we all know that Trump is insane, delusional and a serial liar who never keeps his word on anything and always believes and does whatever the last person told him, so why wouldn't the Russian government see his word as an iron-clad foundation upon which to build this conspiracy?

  • Nardz||

    Whatever David Brock is paying you, it's too much.

  • Pro Libertate||

    A hawk? I doubt it. Probably more like her husband and Obama--limit the troops on the ground, but "act tough" by killing people by drones/air.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Hillary is the one who wanted to enforce a "no-fly zone" over Syria. Which would have meant shooting down Russian fighters.

  • BYODB||

    Now now Jeff, this was sent down the memory hole so we're obligated to pretend it never happened.

    Nevermind that Clinton potentially got us involved in Bosnia to deflect from certain domestic issues. So I don't consider the Clintons to be anything other than hawks that lie about it a little more carefully.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They're all about domestic politics. Blowing people up overseas is domestic politics to them.

  • ||

    They're all about domestic politics. Blowing people up overseas is domestic politics to them.

    This is definitely true, but in fairness she was talking about sending actual ground troops into Syria in the last week or two of the election. While I agree that it's probably mostly about her wanting to be perceived as a hawk by domestic voters, I don't doubt she would have pushed us into a full-blown shooting war in order to make it happen.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well of course plenty of people are easily manipulated. Most people aren't ideologues. They might vote for someone based on reasons that we would consider entirely superficial or ridiculous (such as "but he feels my pain!" or "but he really loves America, I can tell!"). Perhaps you can make the case that these Facebook ads flipped a couple of votes here and there but it's hard to imagine that they determined the outcome of the election.

  • John||

    If the assumption is that a Facebook add can flip someone's vote, then the billion dollars or whatever that was spent during the last campaign by the two parties swamped any influence these ads may have had. To believe the ads flipped the election, you have to believe the a few hundred thousand dollars of facebook ads had an enormous effect but a billion dollars of other ads that came in every medium imaginable did not.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If memory serves the DNC and the Hilary Clinton campaign spent just short of a billion dollars combined to get her elected, not counting indirect contributions. The suggestion the Russians turned the election by such paltry means comparatively should be profoundly embarrassing to the Democrats.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Furthermore, it's not just Clapper who thinks that these ads would be successful in swaying votes, presumably, the sponsors of the ads themselves (whether they were Russians or not) thought the same thing otherwise they wouldn't have paid for the ads.

  • John||

    They thought they would have an effect. But it is difficult to believe they thought they would flip the election.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Governments spend money with reckless abandon. How much money does our own government piss away on things that demonstrably don't work?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This is still more proof that Drumpf is an illegitimate president installed by a hostile foreign power. I'm glad American patriots like Clapper and Mueller aren't taking this attack on our democracy lightly.

    #TrumpRussia
    #NotMyPresident
    #StillWithHer

  • JesseAz||

    Not your best work. 2/10

  • JesseAz||

    Not your best work. 2/10

  • ||

    Clapper is best known around here for the time he lied to a Senate committee by denying that the feds were engaged in the mass collection of American citizens' phone and internet records.

    Am I wrong or did Clapper threaten to assault a political refugee from the floor of the Congress as well? I could swear he mentioned roughing up Snowden if they ever met face-to-face. Even if you thought Snowden was a spy, the fact that Clapper took it so personally and was so petty about it is disgusting.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Clapper is trying to spin his dishonesty. When confronted by congress about his previous lie, he replied that he gave the least dishonest answer he could.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • I can't even||

    These are the kinds of faces a complete liar like Clapper makes.

    www.directorblue.blogspot.com/.....mages.html

  • Presskh||

    The "Russian" influence was but a drop in the ocean compared with the constant pro-Hillary, anti-Trump propoganda spewed forth by the US news media and Hollywood. Even with a colluding media and much more money to spend, Hillary was such an unlikable candidate that she lost anyway. The left can't believe that, with all of their crooked shenanigans used to ensure victory, they lost.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Clapper has since insisted that he didn't actually lie but rather just totally forgot about this massive secret data collection program.

    Since he thinks people are stupid enough to be influenced by some cheap facebook ads, he obviously think we're stupid enough to buy this bullshit too.

    Although to be fair, he's probably just projecting. Anyone stupid enough to believe this:

    ...to me, it just exceeds logic and credulity that they didn't affect the election, and it's my belief they actually turned it.

    isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Sevo||

    "Since he thinks people are stupid enough to be influenced by some cheap facebook ads, he obviously think we're stupid enough to buy this bullshit too."

    Meaning *he's* stupid enough to hope others are equally low-watt bulbs.

  • Citizen X||

    Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.

    "In," not "with." Big difference, as it turns out.

  • D-Pizzle||

    Well done, sir.

  • Z565||

    But millions are dumb as shit. They have low IQs. It's a sad reality but I imagine the idiots are in both parties in relative equal measure though I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Trump voters were collectively the dumbest collection of Americans ever assembled. And Clapper never fucking said the Facebook ads alone were responsible for tipping the contest to Trump so it's incredibly disingenuous to pretend like he did and then attack the strawman. Hacking those emails was the most consequential action by Russia and it's not crazy to say those emails and the bullshit that ensured was enough to convince Bernie voters or undecideds to abandon Clinton enough to make the difference in the close states. Clapper made clear it was his considered opinion and there was no way to know for certain.

  • Lowdog||

    And Clapper's opinion on anything means what, exactly? That motherfucker could tell me water is wet, and I'd have to question reality for just a second.

    Also, you're sure that Russia hacked Hillary's server? Are you sure you're not one of those low IQ voters. Lol

  • Z565||

    Yes I'm very confident Russia hacked those emails because American intelligence agencies came to that conclusion. I understand the hacker carelessly logged on from an IP address associated with the Russian intelligence services. I also understand they have evidence of Putin personally ordering the influence campaign. I'm very family with Russian trolls and the propaganda and stories they tell. I saw in real time these trolls supporting Trump with my own fucking eyes. I know the Russian govt reached out to the Trump campaign and specifically told them they wanted to help. It amazes me tbe way some of ya'll resist the evidence. There's fucking emails from Russians to Trump spelling it out. God damn.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It wasn't the Russians. It was the Canadians.

  • Lowdog||

    American intelligence, again, tells little, if any, truths. I think Trump is a blowhard, an economic ignoramus, and a fool for continuing to murderdrone people and saber-rattling in the ME.

    But I doubt Russia influenced the election enough to make a difference. Just not seeing the evidence you are. But then, I'm no expert on Russian trolls, like you.

    lol (again)

  • Pro Libertate||

    Okay, who are the Russian-controlled commenters here? Come on, the election is over, you can tell us now.

  • Sevo||

    Z565|5.25.18 @ 3:06PM|#
    "Yes I'm very confident Russia hacked those emails because American intelligence agencies came to that conclusion."

    Personally, I'm confident since Elvis' alien love child told me so. If you go to www.imanidiot.com, you too can get the inside story.
    Tell 'em 'Vad' sent you.

  • fdog50||

    When you say you are confident that the Russians hacked "those e-mails", to which e-mails are you referring? If it is the DNC e-mails, then I have always read that the American intelligence and law enforcement agencies never examined the servers themselves, but relied on the word of an investigator that the DNC had hired. but even so, those e-mails were in the news early in the campaign. Even after they made the news, HRC's polling numbers were still higher than Trumps's and in October, people were still talking about HRC winning by a double-digit margin.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Suppose that the Russians DID hack the DNC servers, and provide the contents to Wikileaks. What's the implication of this? That Russian intelligence should be awarded a Pulitzer?

    Because you know that if somebody had hacked the RNC servers and found something equally dirty, newspapers would have been falling over each other in an effort to publish it.

  • JTP||

    I'd like to just point out that American intelligence never actually took possession of the DNC's server to do their own forensic investigation, but instead relied on a private company hired by the DNC. If you just blindly take their word for it, i have some WMDs to sell you lol

    Also, its really not hard to access the internet from a foreign IP address. Its actually quite easy.

  • Lowdog||

    To mix metaphors a bit, one might say "Fuck Clapper with a rusty woodchipper"!!!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Are there really that many voters using Facebook?

  • Sevo||

    Suggest you look up "non sequitur".

  • Sevo||

    So you weren't able to find it?

  • Sevo||

    So you still can't find it?
    Pathetic.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "He asked how many voters use Facebook. At least 87 million."

    Good God. You think everybody on Facebook votes?

  • Tony||

    This drop in the bucket seems to have splashed a majority of the commenters here and untold numbers of pontificators around the internet and in the real world, because I hear insane Russia-promoted conspiracy crap about Hillary Clinton to this day on a constant basis.

    You can't say "People voted for Trump because they thought Hillary was so corrupt" and then turn around and claim their propaganda campaign had no effect.

  • ||

    You can't say "People voted for Trump because they thought Hillary was so corrupt" and then turn around and claim their propaganda campaign had no effect.

    Unless, of course, you "believe" that there is evidence of Hillary's corruption that predates this campaign such that the Russians were playing on a pre-existing theme about Hillary that persistently and doggedly has been following her around for four decades, for some unfathomable reason.

  • Tony||

    Hardly unfathomable. The VRWC has been fixated on the Clintons ever since they demonstrated an ability to play on Republican turf and win. It's not that difficult to work out. Since they haven't been indicted for anything in all this time one must either believe that Republican and Democratic justice departments have been in on the conspiracy to protect them, or the right-wing asshole-sphere is as relentless as it's never pretended not to be.

    Not that corruption is relative, but it was amusing to be reminded that Trump uses an unsecured cell phone constantly, before and after his incessant whining about Hillary's vast crimes related to her email account.

  • D-Pizzle||

    VRWC?

    Hillary, is that you?

  • ||

    It's precious that you not only use "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" unironically, but that you do it enough that you have to have an acronym.

    The fact that the Clintons have never (successfully) been indicted proves their innocence, just like with Trump, right?

    Anyway, the point, which you've helpfully supported, is that the "VRWC," not the Russians, have created this long-lasting notion that HRC is corrupt, hypocritical and dishonest.

    So while you're trying to frame it as correcting my mischaracterization, what you are in fact doing is admitting that you were full of shit when you said "You can't say "People voted for Trump because they thought Hillary was so corrupt" and then turn around and claim their propaganda campaign had no effect."

    Own it.

  • John B. Egan||

    I've never heard of VRWC, but is it any more pathetic than 'Deep State'? LOL!

  • Nardz||

    "because I hear insane Russia-promoted conspiracy crap about Hillary Clinton to this day on a constant basis."
    "The VRWC has been fixated on the Clintons"

    Just to be clear, VRWC stands for Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

  • The_Hoser||

    I thought it was VRWCP: "Very Ready With Cheese Pizza"

  • Mickey Rat||

    The corrupt reputatuon of the Clinton's since Arkansas has really nothing to do with their public behavior over the past 30 plus years. That was a helluva long discrediting campaign by the Russians, started when Hilary running for president was just a feminist pundit's pipe dream.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Honestly, one thing I'm sure about is that the right-wing, if it conspires, does it with extraordinary ineptitude. Heck, the left's strongest allies are the many soft socialists who control the GOP.

  • ||

    the right-wing, if it conspires, does it with extraordinary ineptitude.

    ^ This. Tony seems to think this conspiracy started all the way back when HRC's internship was cancelled with her supervisor commenting that she was unusually unethical even for an attorney.

    I thought the same thing about the Commie-Islam-O'-Fascist group that already knew in 1961 that mixed-race baby Barak was going to be president of the USA some day - any group that can maintain that kind of discipline for upwards of 45 years probably should be in charge.

    I'm skeptical, though, that any group of people as morally challenged as politicians and bureaucrats could actually maintain that sort of cohesion and goal-orientation for that long.

  • Sevo||

    "You can't say "People voted for Trump because they thought Hillary was so corrupt" and then turn around and claim their propaganda campaign had no effect."

    This guy supposedly holds advanced degrees, and is yet too stupid to avoid making non-sequitur statements.

  • ||

    Does he claim to hold advanced degrees? I've heard him claim to have a degree, but I've never heard him be specific about what it's in.

  • Sevo||

    I do not have a cite, but I recall clearly that he bragged on having at least one post-grad degree, at the time, belittling a commenter who had no degree at all.
    He has clammed up about it recently, as to whether that's a privacy issue or more honesty, I cannot say.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    People thought Hillary was corrupt because of Russian trolls! This is known! Otherwise, how would people have known? It just doesn't make sense!

  • Let freedom ring||

    So surprising that supposedly tech savvy libs like Sullum and others don't call out the Internet Research Institute for what it was-simply a commercial clickbait operation. It had nothing to do withPutin, or undermining our precious democracy. It was simply a way to make money by posting on social media and getting a few people to like it and share it and also click on google ads. You would think that libs would see that, but instead they buy into the idea that Putin tried ti influence our election, only the dumb Russkies were not good at it. Sheesh!

  • ThomasD||

    "... who thinks we're so stupid that some Facebook ads can trick us into voting for candidates we don't want."

    That Shackford takes anything Clapper says at face value is just another mark of shame on this publication.

    Clapper doesn't think that. He is not talking to anyone who actually voted for Trump. He's talking to the fools who voted for Clinton (maybe that's the source of your confusion) who still cannot understand or accept that Trump beat her. He's talking to all the people looking for any excuse to keep the sinking Russian Collusion narrative afloat.

    He thinks they are the gullible fools, and while he thinks the media are not so dumb, he does think them willing to play along with his charade.

    What do you think Scott?

  • Sevo||

    "James Clapper Thinks Americans Are Dumb Enough to Vote for Trump Because of Facebook Ads"
    So does Tony, turd, that annoying POS The Rev, and several other idiots posting here.

  • Richnunya||

    I'm amazed that you all have this much faith in the average Joe simpleton. Riddle me this:

    Advertisements, regardless of their creator or the creator's intentions, sway public opinion. If they didn't, campaigns and PACs wouldn't spend millions and millions of dollars on them every election cycle. So, it's completely stupid and factually wrong to say that Russian ads *didn't* swing the minds of some voters. Are they the *only* reason they voted a certain way? Of course not, but we're talking about the same electorate with a significant percentage who believe the Earth is possibly flat, the Earth is 6000 years old or less, 9/11 was an inside job, a deep state actually exists, mass shootings are orchestrated by liberals to ban guns, etc. These people who do no research and just blindly believe whatever bullshit flashes on their screen without giving it a second though are of course easily swayed by propaganda ads on social media the same way they are by nonsense political attack ads on their televisions.

    To reiterate: It's asinine to say that people voted for Trump (or Clinton) *because* of Russian ads and Russian social media bots/trolls, but it's entirely true to say that *some* of these people voted a certain way *in part* because these ads helped sway their opinions.

  • John||

    To reiterate: It's asinine to say that people voted for Trump (or Clinton) *because* of Russian ads and Russian social media bots/trolls, but it's entirely true to say that *some* of these people voted a certain way *in part* because these ads helped sway their opinions.

    Not when you consider that there was over a billion dollars spent on advertising for Hillary's campaign alone. How in the world could you conclude a few hundred thousand dollars in facebook ads made any difference in an environment that saturated with campaign advertising?

  • ||

    Not when you consider that there was over a billion dollars spent on advertising for Hillary's campaign alone.

    Yeah - next you're going to tell me the Clinton campaign also solicited dirt on their political enemies from agents of of foreign governments.

  • John||

    The Hillary Campaign paid a British spy to collect dirt, all of it slanderous or at best unlikely to be true, on Trump from Russians many of whom were agents of the Russian government. But, it was Trump who colluded with the Russians? Really?

  • Nardz||

    By the way, there's 0 proof ANY of that tripe came from Russians. The only things that claim Russian sourcing are the dossier itself, Steele, Intel agencies, and the MSM - hardly credible themselves.
    For all we know, the entire document was composed of nothing but Sidney Blumenthal's imagination. It is reasonable to assume that he was the "anonymous Russian sources" - perhaps more reasonable than assuming the anonymous sources were actually Russian...

  • John B. Egan||

    A Jeb Bush supporter paid Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump. When Jeb quit the race, Fusion began shopping it around. The attorney for the Clinton Campaign then contracted it. Meanwhile, Steele was outraged that nobody was exposing this information and printed it in the Atlantic, where it against was ignored, so he passed a copy to the FBI. Comey put it in his desk drawer. When the attorney for the Clinton campaign canceled the service, the FBI contracted to continue collecting information. Eventually, after the election, Steele passed a copy to John McCain through a journalist. McCain sat on it for a week before deciding that he had to take it to the FBI. He gave a copy to Comey and discussed it. Comey sat on it for another two weeks and eventually and grudgingly released the general information as he had no choice. Needless to say, The Jeb supporter, the Hillary supporter and the FBI all refused to publish it, so it wasn't until too late that the US public became aware of it.

    The moral of this story is : there is always much more than just a one-sided bumper-sticker comment regarding something like this.

  • Richnunya||

    I'm amazed that you all have this much faith in the average Joe simpleton. Riddle me this:

    Advertisements, regardless of their creator or the creator's intentions, sway public opinion. If they didn't, campaigns and PACs wouldn't spend millions and millions of dollars on them every election cycle. So, it's completely stupid and factually wrong to say that Russian ads *didn't* swing the minds of some voters. Are they the *only* reason they voted a certain way? Of course not, but we're talking about the same electorate with a significant percentage who believe the Earth is possibly flat, the Earth is 6000 years old or less, 9/11 was an inside job, a deep state actually exists, mass shootings are orchestrated by liberals to ban guns, etc. These people who do no research and just blindly believe whatever bullshit flashes on their screen without giving it a second though are of course easily swayed by propaganda ads on social media the same way they are by nonsense political attack ads on their televisions.

    To reiterate: It's asinine to say that people voted for Trump (or Clinton) *because* of Russian ads and Russian social media bots/trolls, but it's entirely true to say that *some* of these people voted a certain way *in part* because these ads helped sway their opinions.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What proof is there that the Russians preferred Trump or Clinton? And what about the orders of magnitude more dollars spent by the parties?

    I'm a libertarian who voted for neither, and I think there are plenty of reasons Trump won. None of which requires Russian interference with our election, which they couldn't pull off, anyway. Really, if they wanted to flex their muscles, they'd have pushed a third party candidate. And, in the end, Trump seems to be doing things to challenge Russia, which makes no sense if he's a Russian puppet.

  • Sevo||

    Richnunya|5.25.18 @ 4:00PM|#
    "I'm amazed that you all have this much faith in the average Joe simpleton."

    I'm amazed an imbecile like this presumes (s) is other than Joe Simpleton.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Long after the election, Facebook actually publicly revealed some of those ads. I took a look, and sure enough, I'd seen some of them. I recalled them quite well.

    Because they'd had me laughing hysterically when I'd seen them on Facebook, they were so heavy handed.

  • Sevo||

    "...While it seems obvious that the FBI was monitoring Trump's campaign to determine the extent of connections with Russian interests, the "spy" claim seems absurdly overheated (for now, anyway)..."

    Scott, why not cite the NYT for real authority?

  • John||

    Come on Sevo, the FBI had a guy who pretended to want to work and support the Trump campaign but whose actual purpose was to report back to the FBI everything he found out. That is totally not spying.

    The sad thing is, I think Shackford really is that stupid and believes that. Other than Dalmia, he is the worst writer on Reason.

  • Sevo||

    I should add that the sentence I copied contained a link ( seems absurdly overheated ) to, wait for it........
    WaPo!
    How's that for a non-biased source?

  • ||

    Vox has a good explainer that should clear this up for you.

    At first, they explain that Trump is trying to imply that the FBI planted an "informant" in Trump's campaign. And yes, in this first use of the word they use the scare quotes.

    They go on to explain that this guy was what the FBI calls an informant, and he's Republican. He used to do just this sort of thing on behalf of Republicans, so you know he would never do this kind of thing against Trump, a Republican. And an "informant" isn't a "spy," anyway.

    Fake News!

  • Sevo||

    Fortunately, I'm a fast reader, so that did't impact the use of my life much at all, in spite of the expressed imbecility.
    Yes, it is amazing how a spy was placed in the campaign to ascertain whether baseless accusations were correct, found nothing of the sort, and wasn't a 'spy' and Obo's admin didn't do it and won't do it again!
    Thank you VOX, for an education on how facts can easily be denied if you have readers dumb enough to swallow your crap.
    Tony is upthread a bit.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    "The sad thing is, I think Shackford really is that stupid and believes that. Other than Dalmia, he is the worst writer on Reason."
    Dunno. Sullum is at least a contender.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Here is real foreign interference in our election, excerpted from a Washington Post article printed before the election:

    1- "Mr Trump is so stupid, my God!" Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
    2- "Divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong." Former British prime minister David Cameron on Trump's proposed Muslim travel ban.
    3- "He changes opinions like the rest of us change underwear." Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen.
    4- "His discourse is so dumb, so basic." Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
    5- "That's the way Mussolini arrived and the way Hitler arrived." Mexican President Enrique Peña on Trump's rhetoric.

    And on and on for 61 more points. Is the Washington Post aiding these foreign governments and their representatives in their quest to influence the election?

    If there were actual hacked election results, that would be one thing, but buying ads or saying things is something completely different and impossible to prevent. Frankly, I'm interested in what foreign governments have to say about our elections. Since most of them want the USA to fail, their opinions are a good indicator of which way to vote.

  • Sevo||

    "Since most of them want the USA to fail, their opinions are a good indicator of which way to vote."

    The other ones are hoping to continue free-riding on the US defense budget, so there's some valid indicators there, too.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Hillary Clinton was supposed to win, and she didn't. How else do you explain that, except propaganda?

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuck you Clapper, you're a piece of communist shit.

  • Brian||

    We desperately need to overturn Citizens United, but a few dozen Russian internet trolls can flip an election. Because, consistency.

  • ||

    Well duh! If $100k can tip a whole election, that just underscores how important it is to get the influence of money out of our electoral process!

  • Jerryskids||

    Clapper is absolutely right. Americans are stupid, lazy, easily led sheep. Exhibit A would be Clapper himself, if Americans weren't stupid, lazy and gullible Clapper would never have gotten where he was and today his rotted corpse would still be dangling from a public display.

  • santamonica811||

    I don't really understand your point. Obviously, tons of Americans *were* dumb enough to vote for Donald Trump. Especially in the primaries, when they could have picked from several really qualified people, who were lifelong conservatives, and who did not have a history of lying, sexually assaulting women, making fun of the disabled, and who did not have a history of overt racism.

    Clapper's point seems self-evident.

    [Disclosure: Trump and Cruz were the 2 candidates I financially supported during 2016]

  • Sevo||

    "...who did not have a history of lying, sexually assaulting women, making fun of the disabled, and who did not have a history of overt racism."

    Cites missing.
    C'mon, with that list, you must have a ton of them. And not 'somebody claimed' crap, either.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Personally, I'd have voted for Rand Paul or Walker, but they both dropped out by South Carolina. I was considering Cruz until I saw him in person at a candidate forum in Greenville.

    Came across as pure used car salesman. My eyeballs practically felt greasy after watching him.

    Ben Carson struck me as nice, but not really Presidential material.

    In the end, I ended up supporting Trump just because he wasn't afraid to touch the so called "third rails".

  • John B. Egan||

    'James Clapper Thinks Americans Are Dumb Enough to Vote for Trump Because of Facebook Ads'.... Except Clapper didn't say that. The person who wrote this article purposely twisted what he said to demean the message.

    Why would Reason run Scott's pathetic article that purposely misinforms the readers? Is it to watch and see which of the readers succumb to this 'red meat' nonsense to prove Clapper's point.. or is Scott so inane that he is unable to determine simple truths?

    Is this what Reason has become?

  • Ron||

    Still waiting to meet anyone who saw a single Russian add and any one willing to admit it influenced them. I'm not sure the adds even exist

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure there were FB posts and random web ads paid for by 'Russians':
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/05/10/
    thousands-russian-bought-facebook-social
    -media-ads-released-congress/849959001/

    Whether they were paid for by Russians living in Chicago, whether they had the least effect, whether they are illegal; all that stuff which needs to be shown before any of it matters is buried under a pile of those with TDS.

  • Ron||

    Link failed, msybe my iphone, but stoll does it answer the questoin of who if anyone saw them. Just because an organiztion that lies for a living CIA is no reason we should belief them or thier cohorts

  • Sevo||

    "Link failed, msybe my iphone,"

    Nope, not your 'phone.
    Copy the entire link and back-space to put it in one line.
    Reason, who seems to be doing very well indeed, uses a server which requires commenters to post links in HTML code.
    To which, I say: Fuck you, Reason. Grow up.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I saw a few. They were hilariously heavy-handed. My favorite was the "Army of Jesus" ad.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The former head of our intelligence agencies thinks we're all easily manipulated rubes. Is that why he lied to the Senate?"

    That's why he got away with it. We're morons and put up with this crap.

  • Ecoli||

    Do you believe it was the Russians who hacked the DNC? Why? Because Clapper, Brennan and Comey say so?

    Does it matter who hacked the DNC? The DNC emails were produced by the DNC. Whoever revealed them, simply revealed them.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    "While it seems obvious that the FBI was monitoring Trump's campaign to determine the extent of connections with Russian interests, the "spy" claim seems absurdly overheated (for now, anyway)."
    Alright, I read the linked article at WAPO (not exactly an unbiased source when it comes to Trump). So a guy working for the FBI "reached out" to individuals working for the Trump campaign but was not "embedded" so Trump's claim that Obama's administration had a spy in his campaign is absurd. I'm not particularly bright, but it seems to me that WAPO and Reason are parsing here to support their unrelenting TDS. The average Joe or Josephine, confronted with these facts would call it spying. All of this is supposedly legitimate because the Obama administration was worried about Russian "meddling" in the election and these guys talked to Russians. Of course no one except people connected to Trump has ever talked to a Russian. By regurgitating WAPO propaganda Reason beclowns itself. I've been a reader for decades. I'm just about done wasting my time here.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I work in a blue collar world. I meet people every day who go to work in steel toed boots and put on a helmet when they get there. Their economy is booming. These are the people who put Trump in office and they are white, black, latino and every other ethnicity. They don't give a rat's ass about Russian meddling or transgender bathrooms. Social justice to them is a mortgage payment, food on the table, a car in the driveway and hope that they won't die broke and miserable. They don't have time to watch "The View", read Reason or Wapo or watch Fox News. They're working overtime and driving past a Help Wanted sign on their way into the plant. My little business has never been better. The elitists in government and media, including Reason, have ignored blue collar Americans for decades. The endless blathering about self-driving cars and "free trade" aren't going to save you from Trump 2.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Well stated. Trump is a problem solver, not a politician who gets paid to point out problems and perpetuate them.

  • TangoDelta||

    "He thinks y'all are dumb."
    Has anyone been paying attention? From tide pods to the authoritarian youth, he's right. Granted it isn't quite like he thought but he's right.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""1) While it seems obvious that the FBI was monitoring Trump's campaign to 2) determine the extent of connections with Russian interests""

    1) is obvious
    2) is you taking an excuse* made by the outgoing administration at face value and pretending its the only possible plausible reason why politicians might spy on one another.

    (a bizarre one at that, and one utterly unsubstantiated despite 2 years of dirt-slinging and wild specious claims made by media)

    This is like saying, "To be sure, G Gordon Liddy may have been overzealous in checking the DNC's paperwork, but this is nothing to get excited about..."

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    I challenge "My Country (and Party above that) Right or Wrong" Clapper or any other blindly-loyal "My Party First, RIght or Wrong" voter to name a single voter who was influenced to change their vote by Russian trolls.

  • John40||

    Because he lied under oath to Congress, Clapper needs to be indicted, brought to trial and when convicted, sentenced to prison.

  • bacchys||

    He's not wrong, though the formulation that it was just a few Facebook ads is wrong.

    The Russians were and are running a massive Information Operations campaign in the U.S. to influence the electorate. That certainly "tipped' a few votes. The major themes are nationalism, xenophobia, and distrust of government. It's been going on since at least '07, and it involves a lot more than just Facebook.

    They've been using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, 4Chan, and numerous websites hosted around the globe, to create the illusion of diversity and credibility and to reinforce those themes.

  • Owebama Is A Douchebag||

    Go f@ck yourself, you brain dead, Pinocchiobama- d*ck sucking Libtard scumbag.

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