The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, in an article Thursday, took a hammer to widespread reporting over the last week of Russia’s attempts to hack the election systems of 21 American states, the piece arguing for more skepticism on “the Russia story.”
Outlets like the USA Today, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, and the Associated Press went wild at the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that they, as Maddow put it, “knew at least by June that 21 states had been targeted by Russian hackers during the election … targeting their election infrastructure.”
In Greenwald’s words, “So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was FALSE.”
Greenwald goes on to describe the precipitous narrative collapse this entire story suffered Wednesday, as DHS was forced to equivocate and then backtrack on the dubious claim. The election authorities of California and Wisconsin hit back hard at the allegation they had been infiltrated by Russian cyber attacks.
With no evidence to support the original claims, DHS retracted them. In Wisconsin’s case, a Russian hacking attempt of the state’s election infrastructure became a “scan” of a state agency totally unrelated to the election. Like Russia stories before it, the 21 vulnerable state election authorities slide down the memory hole.