Monday, December 12, 2016

Scepticism about the historical world: hacked election edition

Wow. Hidden at the bottom of today's NYTimes story on the intelligence about Russia and the US election:
The F.B.I. began investigating Russia’s apparent attempts to meddle in the election over the summer. Agents examined numerous possible connections between Russians and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle, including former Trump aides like Paul Manafort and Carter Page, as well as a mysterious and unexplained trail of computer activity between the Trump Organization and an email account at a large Russian bank, Alfa Bank.
At the height of its investigation before the election, the F.B.I. saw some indications that the Russians might be explicitly seeking to get Mr. Trump elected, officials said, and investigators collected online evidence and conducted interviews overseas and inside the United States to test that theory.
The F.B.I. was concerned enough about Russia’s influence and possible connections to the Trump campaign that it briefed congressional leaders — including Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and Senate minority leader — on some of the evidence this summer and fall. Mr. Reid, in particular, pressed for the F.B.I. to find out more and charged that the agency was sitting on important information that could implicate Russia.
But the agency’s suspicions about a direct effort by Russia to help Mr. Trump, or about possible connections between the two camps, appear to have waned as the investigation continued into September and October. The reasons are not entirely clear, and F.B.I. officials declined to comment. [my bolding]
So was the Weiner laptop announcement the pushback against the faction in the FBI who wanted to press ahead with the Russia investigation?

Perhaps we will never know---too many involved parties each with its own agenda and narrative, each with control over documentation and data, each with the motivation and means to warp the documentation and data of the other. This is a species of event leading to what we might think of as scepticism about the historical world--- there is some true account of events but it is hidden by a proliferation of counternarratives and their false facts, so that knowledge claims about it will be forever undercut.

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