The Obama Administration was right to put Russia on notice about its cyber operations. But let’s keep some perspective. Based on what is currently known, the DNC and Clinton email leaks, which contained no classified information, may not have been the affront to U.S. democracy some have described.
For example, Hillary Clinton said the Russian hacks were intended to “undermine our democracy” and resulted from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to pay her back for claiming that the 2011 Russian parliamentary elections were rigged. She added that the incident was a challenge to “the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.” A letter signed by a bipartisan group of four senior senators claimed the hacks “cut to the heart of our free society.”
This is all strong stuff, and perhaps now that the president has taken action, a deep breath is in order. The Russian attacks should indeed be another wake up call about the relentless probing of America’s digital assets by U.S adversaries and the potential consequences of weak cyber defenses. But by all appearances, U.S. democracy and institutions have hardly taken a crippling hit from revelations about the inner workings of the Clinton campaign and the DNC.