When information about possible Russian interference in U.S. elections started coming out in the wake of Trump’s disastrous victory, the majority who voted against him wanted to believe it. As news about Trump’s Russian connections began to spread, they wanted to believe that as well. The problem is, there have been a lot of allegations, but little in the way of solid evidence – and now, in light of recent revelations from Wikileaks about CIA hacking abilities, it is increasingly possible that we’re all being set up by our own intelligence agencies.

According to the collection of documents known by the code name “Vault 7,” the CIA has massive hacking capabilities. The agency has a veritable arsenal of hacking software “exploits” that can worm their way into your desktop computer, you laptop, your smart phone, and even your television (like the Samsung Smart TV). These hacking applications can get around some of the strongest anti-virus software around, and can even bypass encryption for secure chat apps. They can defeat Android and iOS devices, including those that run Trump’s Twitter account.

In short, they are watching us and listening to us, even when we think our devices are turned off. Furthermore, the CIA reportedly uses “malware” that can cover its own tracks, leaving code that can remain in devices for years. Among other things, this malware can leave false electronic trails indicating the actual source of the hacking to be almost anywhere on the planet – for example, Russia. Vault 7 documents claim that the CIA has an entire division responsible for such “misdirected attribution.

Given these revelations, the “evidence” that was given last fall “proving” that Russian operatives hacked into email accounts of the Democratic Party is even more suspect that it was before. Yes, they were hacked, with the use of phishing and various malware applications. But was it by the Russians – or someone or some organization closer to home?

One suspicious aspect of the affair was the “evidence” itself – provided by an organization hired by the DNC, known as CrowdStrike. This company offers “cloud-delivered endpoint protection” against malware, cyber attacks, and viruses. CrowdStrike found malware on DNC servers that contained metadata files written in the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet and indications that it originated from a Russian email service known as Yandex. It was exactly what the DNC wanted to hear – but the evidence was all circumstantial.

Yes, it could have been Russian operatives – but there are people in the CIA who are perfectly capable of writing code in Russian characters. Between that, the recent leaks concerning the agency’s ability to “misdirect attribution,” and the suspicious timing (timestamps on hacking activity conveniently coincided with standard working hours and holidays in Moscow’s time zone), it becomes apparent that it all could have been an “inside job.”

The question is – why? What is the CIA’s agenda? A recent story here on The Ring of Fire discusses the strong possibility that intelligence agencies, in cahoots with the military industrial complex, are in the process of staging a slow-motion coup of America’s elected government. Such a coup can only succeed if carried out in the shadows, however.

In a speech delivered on January 28th, 1852 to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, abolitionist Wendell Phillips said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” In the face of a system out of control, with every faction attempting to grab absolute power while the media deceives and obfuscates, that vigilance is more important than ever – and must not be clouded by disinformation that matches our preconceived biases and how we wish things to be.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.