A version of this post titled “Trump Invites Russia” originally appeared in the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter.
Earlier this week, Donald Trump tested the bounds of America’s capacity for irony (as he is wont to do).
The Republican party’s presidential candidate just stopped short of urging Russia—one of the United States’ biggest adversaries—to hack his opponents. “Russia, if you’re listening,” he openly yearned, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Trump was referring to tens of thousands of messages deleted from Hillary Clinton’s home-brew email server. (The Democratic presidential nominee has maintained that the disappeared records concerned personal, rather than classified information.)
A day later, Trump said he was kidding. “Of course I’m being sarcastic,” he told Fox News. Haha.
The Clinton campaign—recently hacked along with the Democratic National Committee, mind you—took the opportunity to paint Trump as a Kremlin crony. “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, chief foreign policy adviser to Clinton. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.” Scary stuff.
For more on Trump and Russia, watch:
Cybersecurity pros who predicted that hacking would be a major theme of the 2016 presidential election have not been disappointed. Yet the most troubling part of this election cycle is not, in this onlooker’s view, the onslaught of allegedly state-sponsored network intrusions and data theft. These are par for the course in cyberspace, to be sure. What is most concerning is that adversaries and opportunists—ranging from spies abroad to political aspirants at home—have learned to exploit the world’s interconnected communications technologies to sow fear, paranoia, and division among its people. Make no mistake: this is hacking, too.
Enjoy the weekend—and try to relax in spite of the headlines.