Don't look now, but this week the head of the NSA basically admitted that he believes Russia used WikiLeaks to influence the 2016 elections. Over at Mother Jones, David Corn says that actually is worthy of congressional hearings.
Despite all the news being generated by the change of power under way in Washington, there is one story this week that deserves top priority: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, was asked about the WikiLeaks release of hacked information during the campaign, and he said, "This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect." He added, "This was not something that was done casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily."
This was a stunning statement that has echoed other remarks from senior US officials. He was saying that Russia directly intervened in the US election to obtain a desired end: presumably to undermine confidence in US elections or to elect Donald Trump—or both. Rogers was clearly accusing Vladimir Putin of meddling with American democracy. This is news worthy of bold and large front-page headlines—and investigation. Presumably intelligence and law enforcement agencies are robustly probing the hacking of political targets attributed to Russia. But there is another inquiry that is necessary: a full-fledged congressional investigation that holds public hearings and releases its findings to the citizenry.
If the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies are digging into the Russian effort to affect US politics, there is no guarantee that what they uncover will be shared with the public. Intelligence investigations often remain secret for the obvious reasons: they involve classified information. And law enforcement investigations—which focus on whether crimes have been committed—are supposed to remain secret until they produce indictments. (And then only information pertinent to the prosecution of a case is released, though the feds might have collected much more.) The investigative activities of these agencies are not designed for public enlightenment or assurance. That's the job of Congress.
Unfortunately, the odds of this Congress ever addressing Mike Rogers's statement is approaching zero so quickly that it might throw off tachyons in the process. Even if you don't believe the NSA (and yeah, there's ample reason to never trust the NSA on anything, ever) Congress should still investigate the Russian connections here on the off chance that this is actually legit (and there's ample evidence to believe it may very well be.)
And they won't, because the chief beneficiaries of the Russian interference were Donald Trump and the GOP Congress. That's 100% true.