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Alfonse D'Amato

It’s time to close the case on Russia


Russia. Friend? Enemy? Campaign and political pawn is more like it these days.

During the election, Hillary Clinton and the liberal media attempted to convince the American people that Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Donald Trump and that Trump was Putin's “puppet.”

Now that Donald is President-elect Trump, the accusations of Russian involvement in the election have strengthened to the point that liberals are claiming that Russia helped Trump win.

Evidence continues to mount that Russian officials may have had something to do with the breaches of Democratic National Committee email accounts, and the FBI is reportedly looking into claims that a computer system belonging to the DNC was compromised by hackers linked to the Russian government.

This is alarming news and a direct threat to our national security. However, on Dec. 15, the House Intelligence Committee canceled a briefing on Russian interference in the presidential election after the CIA declined to provide a representative for the session.

It’s disturbing to hear that the intelligence community would ignore a request from the Intelligence Committee for a classified briefing to discuss the possibility of Russian influence in the election. Meanwhile, The Washington Post is citing anonymous sources stating that the “CIA has determined Russia interfered in the election with the purpose of helping Trump’s campaign.”

Do not be fooled! This is nothing more than a cheap ploy by a couple of bad apples in the CIA and the intelligence community to manipulate what is being reported to the American public.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Seaford, offered some strong opinions and harsh criticism, stating, “All we’ve heard from the intelligence community over the last several months is that they could not say that there was any attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton or to help Donald Trump. Somebody has the time to leak it to The Washington Post and The New York Times, but they don’t have the time to come to Congress.”

It’s about time that someone stood up and criticized the intelligence community for the negligence and disrespect it showed to our elected officials and the American public. They caused this mess by leaking classified information, and now they will not own up to it. Instead, CIA officials and representatives of other agencies would rather hide behind anonymous quotes in major newspapers.

I am sick and tired of information that should remain private because it is a threat to our national security or our Justice Department being leaked to the media. Anyone who is leaking such information to the press should be terminated immediately.

At the same time, this is another way the liberal media can provide the American public with disinformation about the president-elect. The hack into DNC emails is a separate investigation and should not be aligned with claims that Russia may have hacked the election and skewed results in favor of Trump.

The misinformation reported by the liberal media, and not any actual “hacking,” is doing all of the work for the Russians by continually discussing it and causing uncertainty about the election results.

The election is over! The Electoral College has certified the results. The fact of the matter is that the Obama administration failed to adequately look into claims of Russian attacks, and now the matter is threatening our democratic elections.

Let me share something else that was equally mind-blowing. At a recent news conference, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer pointed out that despite the reality of the world we live in, where terrorist attacks are frighteningly the norm, currently New York’s rail and mass transit employees are not cross-checked with the federal terror watch list.

About 2 million people commute to Manhattan every day. New York City is the No. 1 target for terrorists, yet we are not adequately protected.

This is a disaster waiting to happen! Thank you, Senator Schumer, for bringing this important matter to our attention. Background checks do not cost much time or money, so organizations such as the Transportation Security Administration, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road have no excuse.

On that note, I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and best wishes for a healthy, safe and prosperous 2017.  

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.