Washington, DC (TFC) – The 2008 election was notable for many things, particularly for it’s collection of candidates. While America’s attention beamed on the spectacle, as it turns out, foreign intelligence agency’s occupied the background. According to a recently declassified document, 2008 attracted unprecedented levels of foreign covert interest. One must wonder, if they were interested eight years ago, what’s keeping them from 2016’s political time bomb?
Painstaking briefings are a reality of any incoming presidential administration, and Obama’s was no different. During their presentation, the intelligence community reputedly issued an ominous warning to all incoming personnel–foreign intelligence agents were, and probably still were, watching them.
Entitled “Unlocking The Secrets: How To Use The Intelligence Community”, the newly disclosed document details these operations’ nature. Released by the office of the director of national intelligence, it spoke of foreign spying in 2008’s election “like no other.”
First covered by The Intercept, the report recounts foreign intelligence agents meeting with campaign staff and “other sources”. They hacked campaign data, and often probed candidates with increasingly personal questions, Intercept reports. Foreign entities reputedly engaged in “perception management”, the nature of which remains unclear. Such tactics were noted as being more aggressive than already subversive “traditional lobbying.”
“Be cautious”, it reads, “the reality of foreign intelligence operations is more nuanced and subtle than you might expect.” In citing “what you might expect now”, intelligence officials included such things as; “attempts at using third parties (groups or individuals) to influence your thinking on a subject, probing personal questions”, and, “endeavors to influence your social/professional associates.”
Bringing us to the current political climate, with an outgoing Obama leaving a void in turbulent political times. Due to this new information, it’s important to ask ourselves what “red flags” might attract a similar, or even greater, level of foreign spying. America is currently gripped in a level of protest unheard of since the 60’s, with 2015 dubbed “a year of protest” by RT. Everything from campaign finance reform to calls for closing the borders, and politicians are tapping into this.
Donald Trump’s following, for instance, has garnered a reputation for it’s hostile, non-inclusionist attitudes. Peaceful counter-protesters have been punched, dragged out, threatened, and all on camera. The candidate has also famously offered to pay the legal fee’s of followers who clash with opposing party’s. Such violence has escalated to the point where, just recently, an Australian-born artist was stalked and attacked by Trump supporters. The young woman, who’d painted Trump with a micro-penis, was followed near her home and beaten.
Several white supremacist leaders and their groups have come out in support of the candidate, and it’s leaking into his rally’s. More recently, Trump’s campaign was linked to the American Freedom Party. If you’re not familiar, AFP openly denies the holocaust, believes diversity is white genocide, and calls Trump “the great white hope.” According to Huffington Post, AFP head William D. Johnson was selected by Trump as a delegate in California.
On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has encompassed more air time than the state by state voting fraud aiding her victory’s. The Clinton camp reputedly gets more nervous about FBI’s investigation by the day, though it’s outcome is up in the air. According to ABC, following FBI’s interviews with Hillary’s asides, Clinton herself is next for questioning. Ask yourself, what foreign intelligence agency wouldn’t be interested in unsecure, sensitive chatter amongst other governments–friendly or otherwise? Access to unsecure information deemed classified would be a gem for any journalist, let alone a spy.
The drama’s of 2016’s election is beginning to fracture both parties. The divide in the republican party catalyzed by Trump mirrors the pushback against Bernie from “establishment democrats”.
Sanders, for instance, has been challenged both with America’s delegate system, and a pattern of voter disenfranchisement that has become regular at polling places. From polling site numbers shrinking drastically, to ballots being purged, to even Bill Clinton making a legally questionable appearance at a polling place with plans to visit others.
Coupled with growing activist movements against big money politics, and their disturbing lack of mainstream media coverage, 2016’s primary raises even American eyebrows. Perhaps it’s best to take heed of the past, remain presently aware, and anticipate any number of futures.