'The Root' Editor Says Russian Election Hacking at the Same Level as Pearl Harbor, 9/11 Attacks

February 15, 2017

Jason Johnson, politics editor for The Root magazine, said Wednesday that Russia's interference in the 2016 election was at the same level as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Johnson, a tenured journalism professor at Morgan State University, appeared on MSNBC with host Stephanie Ruhle and conservative radio host Charlie Sykes to discuss the relationship between the Trump administration and the Russian government.

Ruhle asked Johnson if the Kremlin's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election was "at the caliber of a Pearl Harbor or a 9/11."

"I completely agree with that," Johnson responded, arguing that Russia's reported cyber and disinformation campaign was on par with the two deadliest attacks on the United States in its history.

He described contacts that Trump administration officials have had with Moscow and President Trump's praise of the Kremlin, arguing such actions "threaten the existence of NATO."

"That is dangerous," Johnson continued. "That is a 9/11 danger to the sovereignty of the United States, and it falls right on the desk of President Trump.

Sykes interjected to note that many reports on the administration's relationship with Russia are incomplete with anonymous sources and more facts are needed.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 and the coordinated al Qaeda attacks against multiple U.S. targets on Sept. 11, 2001 were the two deadliest in American history, killing 2,402 and 2,977 people, respectively. Pearl Harbor caused the United States to enter World War II, which took the lives of well over 400,00 Americans, and 9/11 led the country to go to war in Afghanistan, a conflict that has so far killed roughly 2,500 Americans.

Russia's interference in the presidential election does not currently appear to have directly led to the deaths of any Americans.