The Plot To Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election, by Malcolm Nance (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., New York, New York, 2016, 186 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
“I wouldn’t know anything about it. You know, there are so many hackers today and they work with such finesse, planting a trail where and when they need…. It’s difficult to trace, if even possible…. The important thing here is what the public was shown…. One shouldn’t draw the public attention from the core of the issue by replacing it with secondary details like who did it.” – VLADIMIR PUTIN
February 17, 2018 (San Diego) - Coming on the heels of my recent review of former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Donna Brazil’s book Hacks, Malcolm Nance, international expert on counterterrorism intelligence, and MSNBC TV contributor, as well as New York Times Bestselling Author of Defeating Isis, has written a provocative and timely book on espionage and the state of affairs between the United States and Russia; The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.
With a Foreword by Spencer Ackerman, U.S. National Security Editor, The Guardian, Nance’s book puts into perspective the grave and ongoing debate about what Russia is doing to our country, and the complicity of the Trump electoral campaign to help bring it about.
Nance makes a profound assessment and statement in The Plot to Hack America; The Russian ability to launch an attack with a “weapon of Mass Disruption” has yet to occur, but could come at a time of Russia’s choosing. Should the Kremlin game out that the time is right to politically and economically destabilize America and finally topple it from being the shining city on the capitalist hill under its own ignorance and faith in a parlor tricking, reality show con man, then a massive hack on election day is well within capability.
Perhaps Nance’s most profound statement in this intriguing book, and with a bit of foreboding, states: “Though we have yet to see an actual disruption that matters in the lives of the average American citizen, one can be sure that it will come at a time when, once recognized, the only alternative to the attack may be a real war.”
Mind you, Nance wrote this book before the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and the indictment of Manafort and Gates by Mueller, along with NSA advisor Michael Flynn and George Papadopolous pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. Also, Nance actually wrote this book just before Donald Trump was elected over Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
U.S. Intelligence concluded Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, which has led to the current FBI investigation into possible Trump campaign connections. Russia denies the allegations and President Donald Trump has called the FBI probe a witch hunt.
Ironically, just yesterday, February 16, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians of meddling in our elections. Also, just yesterday on MSNBC with Brian Williams, the author Nance said: “utterly amazing”, speculating that the U.S. had someone on the inside. Nance further stated just last night on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Brien; “He is not surprised about the indictment, and that Donald Trump has been on the Russians radar for some time, since 1977.” You can read Robert Mueller’s indictment here.
To a large extent The Plot to Hack America is like revisionist history, as we now find ourselves and the country swirling in a maelstrom of talk of impeachment and collusion with the Russians, along with obstruction of justice – after President Trump fired the FBI Director James Comey during the course of trying to get Comey to pledge an oath of “loyalty” to him, and asking him if he could find it within himself to go easy on Michael Flynn.
To put this book in perspective, Nance states: “The founders of the Soviet Union harnessed this rich history of the dark arts, and where necessary, applied them precisely and ruthlessly. The modern techniques of electronic intelligence collection, planting listening devices, and using computers to conduct break-ins, lives up to its centuries of spy pedigree. In fact Putin’s lifelong worldview stems from maintaining faith with a long tradition of Russia’s agencies dedicated to spying, assassination, and political influence. Now as leader of Russia, he is a master of applying espionage as a consumer of its fruits.”
Despite this background on Putin and Russia pointed out by Nance in The Plot to Hack America, it now seems that the Republican Party is complicit in a coverup of what all our intelligence agencies agree on; that Russia hacked our recent national elections, as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, produced a GOP memo attempting to exonerate President Trump and his campaign from collusion with Russia, while President Trump won’t let the Democratic memo countering the GOP memo be released.
All of this is suspicious, coming on the heels of the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., meeting with a group of Russians in Trump Tower, along with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, allegedly to discuss “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and possibly relaxing sanctions against Russia. This certainly smacks of “collusion”.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, stated in a hearing recently: “This is pervasive, the Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States. While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but doing it throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere.”
In that same hearing, three of the nation’s top intelligence officials said that the U.S. has seen activity aimed at meddling in the upcoming midterm elections. “We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Senate intelligence committee this past week. Perhaps we should pay closer attention to what the author has to say in his book; The Plot to Hack America.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and he is the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.