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Russia's Interference in the Election May Not Have Made Any Difference

December 11, 2016 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated September 02, 2020 11:36 AM UTC

Fortune’s Andrew Nusca and Robert Hackett discuss.

[THEME MUSIC] ANDREW NUSCA: Welcome to Fortune Tech Debate, where we debate the issues of the day in two minutes. Today, we're talking about the CIA's assertion that Russia hacked its way to a Trump presidency. All right. Let's put two minutes on the clock. Take it away, Bob. ROBERT HACKETT: OK. So the CIA this past weekend came out with a statement saying that not only has Russia been attempting to influence the election-- ANDREW NUSCA: Shocker. ROBERT HACKETT: --to cause disarray and discord, confuse people-- ANDREW NUSCA: As if there wasn't enough as there-- as it is. ROBERT HACKETT: --and just muddle up the whole democratic process, actually, they said that Russia was attempting to elect President-elect Donald Trump. And now Donald Trump has come out and he's saying, the CIA, we can't believe them. What evidence do they have? It could be any little guy in New Jersey. ANDREW NUSCA: And this might be some guy in New Jersey, Chris Christie, you really shouldn't-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] ROBERT HACKETT: --might be. ANDREW NUSCA: But look my point is, that this might be a rare moment-- OK, a rare moment in which I would actually agree with the President-elect Trump. I do think that the CIA may be confusing correlation and causation, OK? Just because Russia may have had involvement in the US election doesn't mean it actually changed the results. I mean, the American people may very well have elected a President Trump without Russia's involvement. ROBERT HACKETT: I mean, definitely, it could possibly have happened even though lots of the polls showed that Hillary Clinton is in the lead for most of the time. ANDREW NUSCA: Yeah, well. ROBERT HACKETT: But if you look at any of the news headlines that came out of this entire past few months here in America, everything was Wikileaks, or Guccifer, or DCLeaks. ANDREW NUSCA: Sure. ROBERT HACKETT: Everybody was getting hacked-- ANDREW NUSCA: Hacking everywhere. ROBERT HACKETT: --their inbox, their emails. Just laid over all across the web-- ANDREW NUSCA: But isn't that the point? ROBERT HACKETT: --for everybody to look at. ANDREW NUSCA: Hacking is happening all the time. Hacking probably played a part in the past election. It probably played a part in the time before that. What's to say that this election is so different? ROBERT HACKETT: I mean what's interesting-- Russia has been doing this in other elections across Europe and across other countries. They have been trying to influence them to their degree. But never before have they done so blatantly and with such a nation like the United States-- ANDREW NUSCA: Well, allegedly, OK? ROBERT HACKETT: --which is a bit of a power player on the global stage. ANDREW NUSCA: I think one thing that you do, is when you talk to a security expert, you know that the-- this stuff is happening all year long. It's not reserved to just elections. And it's happening with more than just Russia and the United States. Right? You've got China in play there too, several notorious Eastern European countries near Russia. ROBERT HACKETT: Here's the difference though, Trump needs to come out and say that he agrees with the intel community's conclusions and that this is wrong. ANDREW NUSCA: He'll say whatever the American people want him to. All right. Come to for more Tech Debate. [THEME MUSIC]