“A kernel of tyranny lies in that obscurity.”
We are in discord as a nation. American intelligence agencies are casting conflicting lights on Russian intervention. The FBI and the CIA arrived at different conclusions regarding Russia’s intervention in the recent US presidential election. The depth of our situation should not be underestimated or trivialized. The debate on the floor has multiple parts:
- Is there reliable evidence demonstrating Russia’s interference in November’s presidential election? If so, what is the extent of this intervention?
- Did Russia intervene in favor of Donald Trump? If so, what does this act suggest about Russia’s strategic goals for the Trump presidency?
- What should we make of Donald’s Trump skeptical response to the CIA’s claim of Russian intervention? Is this a sign of dangerous, unbridled support of Russia or does it signal a new relationship with Russia free of the blame-first approach of previous administrations?
- How vulnerable are we as a nation if Russia successfully hacked the DNC’s computer systems? What objective metric should be applied to assess the damage and our vulnerabilities?
- Are American intelligence agencies so partisan or ideological that they can no longer provide objective analysis? If so, what corrective measures should be taken?
- What are the points of disagreement between the 17 intelligence agencies? Should they meet to debate the integrity of the evidence? How much of the debate should be in the hands of the American people?
- How much should we trust news agencies like the Washington Post when they consistently make reference to unnamed sources in their reporting on such weighty issues?
Divisions between intelligence agencies and our future president’s skepticism leaves one wondering where to turn for objective analysis. The debate itself has lead to fractured, if not broken confidence in the US government.
We must be careful to observe the damage the debate has caused regardless of the outcome of intelligence gathering. Where should the average citizen turn for helpful information during this intelligence cat fight?
Perhaps a natural reaction is to go to “news” outlets you trust. This often means consulting the news source you agree with. Reliance on one’s preferred news outlet metastasizes our current state of balkanization and increases the chances that citizens will seek out alternative news sources, thus making them more susceptible to false news stories.
How should we answer these questions? What criteria should be used to determine if a news outlet is reliable and objective?
We must get to the bottom of this debate because the tyranny of ignorance could be conceived here.