Speaking today at the Aspen Security Forum, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the situation with Russia at present as “a version of war,” involving intelligence services, but insisted that it was much too soon to blame the Russian government for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

Several Democrats have been overtly blaming Russia for the hack, and President Obama even said publicly he thought it was “possible” that the Russians had hacked the DNC emails and given them to WikiLeaks to try to help Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Clapper insisted that trying to “disrupt” the US presidential election would be in keeping with Soviet policies during the Cold War, saying the US is in “an operational mission” against Russia 24, 365. But he did concede that the government was not prepared to make an attribution of this particular hack, let alone the motives that underpin it.

The public evidence is well short of proving any real link to Russia in the hack, let alone that the Russian government was behind it. The interest, particularly among politicians effected by the leak, to jump the gun and blame Russia, seems to be an effort to portray Trump as Russia’s candidate in the election. Even amid Clapper’s admission that the evidence isn’t there, the talk of Russia trying to manipulate the election keeps that narrative alive.

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