An email I received Thursday pointed out a glaring omission in my Wednesday column, "Russians Are Using Florida Environmental Groups to Manipulate the Energy Market." I think it deserves a public reply.
Justine Johnson from Tampa wrote this: "Maybe the mainstream press is more responsible than Sunshine State News and other right-wing media on the issue of American environmentalists taking Commie money. Your long story fails to point out any credible sources on the other side of the aisle who actually believe the Russians are using environmental groups."
Justine, you're right about one thing. I should have pointed out that Russian manipulation of our energy markets and evidence of a money trail from the Kremlin to Bermuda to American environmental groups comes from balanced, nonpartisan investigations and studies in Washington. It's long-held, solid information with no party affiliation.
For a start, I could have named investigators in the Obama administration, the Democratic members of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and/or the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy as "credible [and very outspoken] sources on the other side of the aisle."
But I can do you one better. Would you consider Hillary Clinton a credible Democratic source on this issue?
On June 18, 2014, the budding Democratic candidate for president delivered a “private speech” sponsored by tinePublic, a Canadian promotional group. During that speech she discussed Russia’s financial support for environmental groups. The speech was included in documents released by WikiLeaks, after hacking into the account of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.
Here's what Clinton said:
"We [the State Department and the U.S. government] were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand up against any effort, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of that money supporting that effort was coming from Russia."
It's important for everybody to understand, not only Justine Johnson and Republicans anxious to put the Trump collusion story in perspective, that grassroots environmental organizations -- however unwittingly -- are being used by Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin to interrupt our exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas to cripple our economy, keep us from exporting it to our allies, and allowing Russia to continue blackmailing Western democracies.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith