James Woolsey: Russia Has Been Trying to Influence Western Elections for Three-Quarters of a Century

Getty Images
Getty Images

Former CIA Director James Woolsey discussed the allegations of Russian hacking in the 2016 election cycle with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“In the first place, the Russians using propaganda, or various other means of that sort, have been on their neighbors and other countries’ cases now since at least the 1940s, and possibly going back into the 30s,” Woolsey pointed out.

“They call it dezinformatsiya, ‘disinformation,’ otherwise known as lying,” he explained. “Thousands of people are involved in producing fake newspapers, fake frontispieces for books, on and on and on. They go after the institutions that they believe can help hold the West together, and push the West towards its culture and history. They go after the Catholic Church. They go after Jews. They go after democratic political parties in Europe. They’ve been doing this for three-quarters of a century.”

“So hacking is not new; it’s just carried out with different mechanical devices than back in the 1930s. They’re never not causing trouble. I think one starts from the proposition that if something has gone haywire, and it looks like there’s some institution somewhere – hard to tell exactly where – that is causing trouble for us, Russia kind of steps front and center in the list of suspects, said Woolsey.

“It doesn’t mean that they’ve successfully tinkered with the voting process and gotten dead people on the rolls to vote, or that sort of thing,” he added. “But we do have some upcoming problems along that line because when we fixed the messy voting system back in 2000 with the hanging chads and all that, a quarter of the voting machines in the country are only touch screens. They have no paper trail. So we’re sitting there waiting for the Russians to come at us, or Chinese or somebody else, and hack into or get an agent internally, into the companies that produce the voting machines and screw them all up. It’s entirely plausible. We’re sitting here fat, dumb, and happy with a quarter of our voting machines incapable of being used in a recount.”

Woolsey said he was not certain what to expect in Russian policy from President-elect Trump, who didn’t talk about Russia on the few occasions Woolsey spoke with him. “And in any case, I don’t talk about what I’ve talked about with American presidents,” he added with a laugh.

For his part, Woolsey thought the incoming administration should “be friendly” with Russia but remain on guard at all times.

“It’s perfectly fine to meet with Putin. It’s perfectly fine to smile while you’re talking to him. Just don’t get tricked,” he advised. “I think ‘cut it out’ is probably not a good thing for President Obama to have said because if you say that to a KGB guy, he may get the wrong idea. I think it’s perfectly fine to be cordial with them, unless they start acting uncordially.”

He noted that the Democrats’ sudden fury at Russia represents a significant change from party orthodoxy over the past few decades.

“In the absence of Scoop Jackson and Joe Lieberman, who were my kind of Democrats, we don’t typically have much criticism of Russia these days from the Democratic Party, so this is kind of a new experience for a number of them, to be saying the Russians were the problem,” Woolsey chuckled. “But I think there are still some Democrats who are capable of doing that and being tough on Russia. But yeah, given the very liberal-to-progressive bias of the Democratic Party these days, I’m sure it’s a new experience for some of them.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.