I would have expected more adeptness from Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence superstar in the Soviet Union's legendary KGB.
His amateurish attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in the United States by tasking Russian hackers to steal 20,000 emails from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and share them with WikiLeaks to embarrass Hillary Clinton and favor Donald Trump showed his talents are in decline.
The DNC emails confirmed what everyone already knew beyond a reasonable doubt. The DNC and its Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz were de facto megaphones and foot soldiers for Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Party primary elections for the presidential nomination. The political benefit to Republican presidential nominee Trump is speculative at best. Indeed, the Putin-orchestrated WikiLeak disclosures could benefit Ms. Clinton because the American electorate generally views Russia with a jaundiced eye--especially after the annexation of Crimea, aggression against Ukraine, and industrial-scale covert doping of its Olympian athletes.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden fretted, "they're clearly taking their game to another level. It would be weaponizing information. You don't want a foreign power affecting elections."
Thereby hangs a tale of United States hypocrisy which speaks volumes about our suboptimal global reputation. The very first CIA covert action manipulated the 1948 Italian elections. By its own later admissions to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the CIA gave $1 million to Italian "center parties." The agency also forged documents and letters purported to come from the Communist Party of Italy to besmirch its reputation and discredit its leaders; funded anonymous books and magazine articles vividly detailing alleged communist activities in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; and, published pamphlets exposing PCI candidates' sex and personal lives and insinuating they harbored fascist or anti-church sympathies.
The CIA took its Italian electoral intervention to a new level in Chile. As reported by the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities ("Church Committee), the CIA massively influenced Chile's 1964 presidential election. "A total of nearly four million dollars was spent on some fifteen covert action projects, ranging from organizing slum dwellers to passing funds to political parties" to prevent the election of a Socialist or Communist.
The CIA again intervened with multiple covert actions costing between $800,000 and $1 million in Chile's 1970 presidential election with the hope of derailing Marxist candidate Salvador Allende. The Senate Select Committee found: "Propaganda placements were achieved through subsidizing right-wing women's and 'civic action' groups. A 'scare' campaign...equated an Allende victory with violence and Stalinist repression." After the election was thrown to a joint session of the Chilean Congress because no candidate received an absolute majority, the CIA conducted covert activities to defeat Allende electorally, and CIA director Richard Helms was instructed to organize a military coup. National security adviser Henry Kissinger remarked, "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people."
Jordan's King Hussein received $1 million from the CIA annually for twenty years, 1957-1977.
The New York Times reported on April 28, 2013:
For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan's president -- courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.
All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
"We called it 'ghost money,' " said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai's deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. "It came in secret, and it left in secret."
These examples of the CIA's manipulation of foreign elections or foreign governments are but the tip of the iceberg. They exclude, among other things, the agency's overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mossadegh, Guatemala President Arbenz, attempted assassination of the Congo's Patrice Lumumba, attempted overthrow and assassination of Cuba's Fidel Castro, complicity in the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, and attempted overthrow of Indonesia's Sukarno.
As the United States degenerated from a Republic whose glory was liberty to an Empire whose glory is world domination, our foreign policy became indistinguishable from the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must, i.e., all nations are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Double standards give birth to enmity and enemies, not amity and friends. Aren't there any adults at the White House or CIA who know this?