Actually, Juan Cole's conclusion regarding Yates' refusal to answer Graham's question is bad inference that deserves to just be corrected.
The national security apparatus is a set of domestic agencies, most of which also operate abroad. They classify information to protect themselves, not foreign actors. They might hide something about a foreign actor; but they will do that for mostly domestic players.
So what Yates' dodge does suggest, once again, is that there is a domestic actor that Yates judges to be worthy of hiding, though the threshold for that has admittedly become rather low. There could be a foreign actor, but there is as yet no suggestion of one. What is suggested--again again--is a struggle between departments. That means within them, too, since each has apparently been multiply penetrated by the others.
From this, all the outwardly silly hedging and firing and hiring ought to make some sense to us--though not because any of it is well motivated or well advised. People in US intel and information security appear uncertain who works for whom. That has certainly included Comey in a most visible way, since he was obliged first to offer obviously prosecutable evidence with respect to Hillary Clinton in the fall, then to rescind it, apparently outgunned in one sense or another.
So obviously Comey was going to be fired. No one could afford keep him in the position because both sides had gotten to him.
So yes, as Glenn Greenwald observes elsewhere, Trump wants a personal loyalist in the FBI spot. Yes, that is because Trump wishes to centralize antidemocratic powers--still further. Yes, that is almost certainly in part also because Trump could be prosecuted for one or another action and intends to take other actions that could be prosecuted, given a system of justice and rule by law.
But no, this is not because the firing of Comey marks any real suggestion of Russian interference. Once again, all the hoopla accompanied by a refusal to divulge any information is almost certainly generated to protect a domestic actor.
Julian Assange says as of yesterday that his sources within the FBI tell him that the agency is about to become very porous. That would be nice: actual empirical evidence in this discussion would be better late than never, and all signs suggest that someone within or around the FBI might have that.
Meanwhile, we might go farther in analysis by acknowledging the sort of banana-republic circumstances into which domestic American politics have fallen and cease trying to protect our favorite red or blue conspirators. What we have here is not less grave than Russian influence. It is just not much delimited by party.