Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:01 pm

The king's beaters: Hunts and beaters
by http://en.parcoalpimarittime.it/

How did the kings of the House of Savoy hunt? Simple: minimum effort and maximum effect. These were guaranteed by the technique of "beating", where the game (chamois or ibex) was surrounded and pushed forward to an agreed place. The animals were flushed out by the batteurs, the beaters and forced to converge on the hunting hides, where the sovereigns were waiting with their guns ready to open fire.

The beaters, were chosen among the stronger people in the valley and Alpine soldiers on leave. If the hunt itself was to start at daybreak, the beaters' work started at night: they were divided into groups led by a gamekeeper, they climbed to the passes and peaks above the hunters. At the agreed time, like a procession of noisy ants, the beaters came down shouting and firing in the air, to flush the animals out and make them converge on the nobles waiting lower down.

In fact this "beating from above" soon turned out to be inefficient and was replaced by "beating from below". Chamois by nature tend to flee uphill in the face of danger, and in doing this many animals managed to breech the line of beaters effectively escaping the royal bullets. So it was decided to move the hides higher up the mountains and force the chamois up: this way seeking a way out they were running towards the king's guns.

The beaters' task hid insidious perils. Many documents describe hunting in foul weather, rain, snow, wind or poor visibility. The risk of falling, getting lost or hypothermia were everyday hazards, not to mention falling stones dislodged by the runaway herds of animals. In the last twelve years hunting, from 1901 to 1913, three beaters lost their lives and two more were slightly wounded.

In Umberto I's reign, the number of beaters employed per season varied between 120 and 300, according to the number of hunts organised and the area to beat at each drive. They received ten lire per day, around fifty lire per year, excluding the occasions when king Umberto chose to give them double pay for their services. With Vittorio Emanuele III the number of beaters increased considerably: from 1907 for every beat there were 300-350 people. In the summer of 1906 Vittorio Emanuele III took the record for the number of animals bagged: over 400 in a single season!

In 1914 with the end of the chamois hunts the role of beater quickly disappeared. Many in the valley saw an important source of income disappear, as did the labourers working on the yearly upkeep of paths and the traders in the valley, who supplied material and equipment to the royal household: it was the sun setting on a small hunting world.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:37 am

US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’
by Robert Parry
January 7, 2017

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Exclusive: Despite mainstream media acceptance, the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment on alleged Russian “hacking” still lacks hard public evidence, a case of “trust-us” by politicized spy agencies, writes Robert Parry.

Repeating an accusation over and over again is not evidence that the accused is guilty, no matter how much “confidence” the accuser asserts about the conclusion. Nor is it evidence just to suggest that someone has a motive for doing something. Many conspiracy theories are built on the notion of “cui bono” – who benefits – without following up the supposed motive with facts.

But that is essentially what the U.S. intelligence community has done regarding the dangerous accusation that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a covert information campaign to influence the outcome of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

Just a day after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper vowed to go to the greatest possible lengths to supply the public with the evidence behind the accusations, his office released a 25-page report that contained no direct evidence that Russia delivered hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks.

The DNI report amounted to a compendium of reasons to suspect that Russia was the source of the information – built largely on the argument that Russia had a motive for doing so because of its disdain for Democratic nominee Clinton and the potential for friendlier relations with Republican nominee Trump.

But the case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses” – as in the U.S. intelligence community “assesses” that Russia is guilty – suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.”

The DNI report admits as much, saying, “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary,
as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

But the report’s assessment is more than just a reasonable judgment based on a body of incomplete information. It is tendentious in that it only lays out the case for believing in Russia’s guilt, not reasons for doubting that guilt.

A Risky Bet

For instance, while it is true that many Russian officials, including President Putin, considered Clinton to be a threat to worsen the already frayed relationship between the two nuclear superpowers, the report ignores the downside for Russia trying to interfere with the U.S. election campaign and then failing to stop Clinton, which looked like the most likely outcome until Election Night.

If Russia had accessed the DNC and Podesta emails and slipped them to WikiLeaks for publication, Putin would have to think that the National Security Agency, with its exceptional ability to track electronic communications around the world, might well have detected the maneuver and would have informed Clinton.

So, on top of Clinton’s well-known hawkishness, Putin would have risked handing the expected incoming president a personal reason to take revenge on him and his country. Historically, Russia has been very circumspect in such situations, usually holding its intelligence collections for internal purposes only, not sharing them with the public.


While it is conceivable that Putin decided to take this extraordinary risk in this case – despite the widely held view that Clinton was a shoo-in to defeat Trump – an objective report would have examined this counter argument for him not doing so.

But the DNI report was not driven by a desire to be evenhanded; it is, in effect, a prosecutor’s brief, albeit one that lacks any real evidence that the accused is guilty.

Further undercutting the credibility of the DNI report is that it includes a seven-page appendix, dating from 2012, that is an argumentative attack on RT, the Russian government-backed television network, which is accused of portraying “the US electoral process as undemocratic.”

The proof for that accusation includes RT’s articles on “voting machine vulnerabilities” although virtually every major U.S. news organizations has run similar stories, including some during the last campaign on the feasibility of Russia hacking into the actual voting process, something that even U.S. intelligence says didn’t happen.

The reports adds that further undermining Americans’ faith in the U.S. democratic process, “RT broadcast, hosted and advertised third-party candidate debates.” Apparently, the DNI’s point is that showing Americans that there are choices beyond the two big parties is somehow seditious.

“The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham,’” the report said. Yet, polls have shown that large numbers of Americans would prefer more choices than the usual two candidates and, indeed, most Western democracies have multiple parties. So, the implicit RT criticism of the U.S. political process is certainly not out of the ordinary.

The report also takes RT to task for covering the Occupy Wall Street movement and for reporting on the environmental dangers from “fracking,” topics cited as further proof that the Russian government was using RT to weaken U.S. public support for Washington’s policies (although, again, these are topics of genuine public interest).

Behind the Curtain

Though it’s impossible for an average U.S. citizen to know precisely what the U.S. intelligence community may have in its secret files, some former NSA officials who are familiar with the agency’s eavesdropping capabilities say Washington’s lack of certainty suggests that the NSA does not possess such evidence.

For instance, that’s the view of William Binney, who retired as NSA’s technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and who created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

Binney, in an article co-written with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, said, “With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on ‘circumstantial evidence,’ when it has NSA’s vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA’s capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking.”

There is also the fact that both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and one of his associates, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, have denied that the purloined emails came from the Russian government. Going further, Murray has suggested that there were two separate sources, the DNC material coming from a disgruntled Democrat and the Podesta emails coming from possibly a U.S. intelligence source, since the Podesta Group represents Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments.

In response, Clapper and other U.S. government officials have sought to disparage Assange’s credibility, including Clapper’s Senate testimony on Thursday gratuitously alluding to sexual assault allegations against Assange in Sweden.

However, Clapper’s own credibility is suspect in a more relevant way. In 2013, he gave false testimony to Congress regarding the extent of the NSA’s collection of data on Americans. Clapper’s deception was revealed only when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the NSA program to the press, causing Clapper to apologize for his “clearly erroneous” testimony.

A History of Politicization

The U.S. intelligence community’s handling of the Russian “hack” story also must be viewed in the historical context of the CIA’s “politicization” over the past several decades.

Image
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

U.S. intelligence analysts, such as senior Russia expert Melvin A. Goodman, have described in detail both in books and in congressional testimony how the old tradition of objective CIA analysis was broken down in the 1980s.

At the time, the Reagan administration wanted to justify a massive arms buildup, so CIA Director William Casey and his pliant deputy, Robert Gates, oversaw the creation of inflammatory assessments on Soviet intentions and Moscow’s alleged role in international terrorism, including the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

Besides representing “politicized” intelligence at its worst, these analyses became the bureaucratic battleground on which old-line analysts who still insisted on presenting the facts to the president whether he liked them or not were routed and replaced by a new generation of yes men.

The relevant point is that the U.S. intelligence community has never been repaired, in part because the yes men gave presidents of both parties what they wanted. Rather than challenging a president’s policies, this new generation mostly fashioned their reports to support those policies.



Head of PA IVANOV laments Russian intervention in US presidential election and black PR against CLINTON and the DNC. Vows not to supply intelligence to Kremlin PR operatives again. Advocates now sitting tight and denying everything.

***

Premier MEDVEDEV's office furious over DNC hacking and associated anti-Russian publicity. Want good relations with US and ability to travel there. Refusing to support or help cover up after PESKOV.

***

According to the first source, close to IVANOV, there had been talk in the Kremlin of TRUMP being forced to withdraw from the presidential race altogether as a result of recent events, ostensibly on grounds of his psychological state and unsuitability for high office.

***

Republican campaign underestimated resulting negative reaction from US liberals, elite and media and forced to change course as result.

***

Buyer's remorse sets in with Kremlin over TRUMP support operation in US presidential election. Russian leadership disappointed that leaked e-malls on CLINTON have not had greater impact in campaign.

***

PUTIN was angry at his subordinate's "over-promising" on the Republican presidential candidate, both in terms of his chances and reliability and being able to cover and/or contain the US backlash over Kremlin interference. More heads therefore were likely to roll, with the MFA the easiest target.

-- US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP'S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN, by Christopher Steele


The bipartisan nature of this corruption is best illustrated by the role played by CIA Director George Tenet, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton but stayed on and helped President George W. Bush arrange his “slam dunk” case for convincing the American people that Iraq possessed caches of WMD, thus justifying Bush’s 2003 invasion.

Here he was at the core. Like Dorothy, he had looked behind the curtain and seen the true "Wizard."

Here was what seemed a strange alliance. A state run by Democrats in bed with a Republican administration in Washington, and both conspiring to evade Congress' prohibition against aiding or abetting the Contras. It was so steeped with hypocrisy.

Was the CIA the invisible force that had the power to compromise these political pillars of the nation?

Were these same invisible forces orbiting only in Arkansas or throughout the nation? He wondered. But why limit it to the nation? Perhaps the world functioned under one control. Could that control be the CIA? Was there a secret alliance of agents worldwide who operate as they please?

Religion, he had come to realize, was a form of social control. Was politics as well? Was it just a game like professional sports, simply to divert public attention from what was really happening? Was it all just a placebo?

-- Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA: How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA, by Terry Reed & John Cummings


There was the one notable case of intelligence analysts standing up to Bush in a 2007 assessment that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program, but that was more an anomaly – resulting from the acute embarrassment over the Iraq WMD fiasco – than a change in pattern.

Presidents of both parties have learned that it makes their lives easier if the U.S. intelligence community is generating “intelligence” that supports what they want to do, rather than letting the facts get in the way.

The current case of the alleged Russian “hack” should be viewed in this context: President Obama considers Trump’s election a threat to his policies, both foreign and domestic. So, it’s only logical that Obama would want to weaken and discredit Trump before he takes office.


That doesn’t mean that the Russians are innocent, but it does justify a healthy dose of skepticism to the assessments by Obama’s senior intelligence officials.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:30 am

Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution
by Office of the Director of National Intelligence
6 January 2017

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Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.

• The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.
• Thus, while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods.

The Analytic Process

The mission of the Intelligence Community is to seek to reduce the uncertainty surrounding foreign activities, capabilities, or leaders’ intentions. This objective is difficult to achieve when seeking to understand complex issues on which foreign actors go to extraordinary lengths to hide or obfuscate their activities.

• On these issues of great importance to US national security, the goal of intelligence analysis is to provide assessments to decisionmakers that are intellectually rigorous, objective, timely, and useful, and that adhere to tradecraft standards.
• The tradecraft standards for analytic products have been refined over the past ten years. These standards include describing sources (including their reliability and access to the information they provide), clearly expressing uncertainty, distinguishing between underlying information and analysts’ judgments and assumptions, exploring alternatives, demonstrating relevance to the customer, using strong and transparent logic, and explaining change or consistency in judgments over time.
• Applying these standards helps ensure that the Intelligence Community provides US policymakers, warfighters, and operators with the best and most accurate insight, warning, and context, as well as potential opportunities to advance US national security.

Intelligence Community analysts integrate information from a wide range of sources, including human sources, technical collection, and open source information, and apply specialized skills and structured analytic tools to draw inferences informed by the data available, relevant past activity, and logic and reasoning to provide insight into what is happening and the prospects for the future.

• A critical part of the analyst’s task is to explain uncertainties associated with major judgments based on the quantity and quality of the source material, information gaps, and the complexity of the issue.
• When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as “we assess” or “we judge,” they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment.
• Some analytic judgments are based directly on collected information; others rest on previous judgments, which serve as building blocks in rigorous analysis. In either type of judgment, the tradecraft standards outlined above ensure that analysts have an appropriate basis for the judgment.
• Intelligence Community judgments often include two important elements: judgments of how likely it is that something has happened or will happen (using terms such as “likely” or “unlikely”) and confidence levels in those judgments (low, moderate, and high) that refer to the evidentiary basis, logic and reasoning, and precedents that underpin the judgments.

Determining Attribution in Cyber Incidents

The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation—malicious or not—leaves a trail. US Intelligence Community analysts use this information, their constantly growing knowledge base of previous events and known malicious actors, and their knowledge of how these malicious actors work and the tools that they use, to attempt to trace these operations back to their source. In every case, they apply the same tradecraft standards described in the Analytic Process above.

• Analysts consider a series of questions to assess how the information compares with existing knowledge and adjust their confidence in their judgments as appropriate to account for any alternative hypotheses and ambiguities.
• An assessment of attribution usually is not a simple statement of who conducted an operation, but rather a series of judgments that describe whether it was an isolated incident, who was the likely perpetrator, that perpetrator’s possible motivations, and whether a foreign government had a role in ordering or leading the operation.

This report is a downgraded version of a more sensitive assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the more sensitive assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.

TOP SECRET//HCS-P/SI-G//ORCON/NOFORN/FISA

This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections

ICA 2017-01D | 6 January 2017

This page intentionally left blank.

Scope and Sourcing

Information available as of 29 December 2016 was used in the preparation of this product.

Scope

This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies. It covers the motivation and scope of Moscow’s intentions regarding US elections and Moscow’s use of cyber tools and media campaigns to influence US public opinion. The assessment focuses on activities aimed at the 2016 US presidential election and draws on our understanding of previous Russian influence operations. When we use the term “we” it refers to an assessment by all three agencies.

• This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document’s conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow.

We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.

• New information continues to emerge, providing increased insight into Russian activities.

Sourcing

Many of the key judgments in this assessment rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior. Insights into Russian efforts—including specific cyber operations—and Russian views of key US players derive from multiple corroborating sources.

Some of our judgments about Kremlin preferences and intent are drawn from the behavior of Kremlin-loyal political figures, state media, and pro-Kremlin social media actors, all of whom the Kremlin either directly uses to convey messages or who are answerable to the Kremlin. The Russian leadership invests significant resources in both foreign and domestic propaganda and places a premium on transmitting what it views as consistent, self-reinforcing narratives regarding its desires and redlines, whether on Ukraine, Syria, or relations with the United States.

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections
ICA 2017-01D

6 January 2017

Key Judgments

Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.

Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.

• Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.
• We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.

• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.
• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.

We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

Contents

• Scope and Sourcing
• Key Judgments
• Contents
• CIA/FBI/NSA Assessment: Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election
o Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election
o Russian Campaign Was Multifaceted
o Influence Effort Was Boldest Yet in the US
o Election Operation Signals “New Normal” in Russian Influence Efforts
• Annexes
o A: Russia—Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US
o B: Estimative Language

Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election

Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election


We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency.

• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• In trying to influence the US election, we assess the Kremlin sought to advance its longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, the promotion of which Putin and other senior Russian leaders view as a threat to Russia and Putin’s regime.
Putin publicly pointed to the Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as US-directed efforts to defame Russia, suggesting he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the United States and cast it as hypocritical.
• Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.


We assess Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton.

Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States. Nonetheless, Putin publicly indicated a preference for President-elect Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia, and pro-Kremlin figures spoke highly about what they saw as his Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine. Putin publicly contrasted the President-elect’s approach to Russia with Secretary Clinton’s “aggressive rhetoric.”
• Moscow also saw the election of President-elect Trump as a way to achieve an international counterterrorism coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

• Putin has had many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Putin, Russian officials, and other pro-Kremlin pundits stopped publicly criticizing the US election process as unfair almost immediately after the election because Moscow probably assessed it would be counterproductive to building positive relations.

We assess the influence campaign aspired to help President-elect Trump’s chances of victory when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to the President-elect. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the presidency the Russian influence campaign focused more on undercutting Secretary Clinton’s legitimacy and crippling her presidency from its start, including by impugning the fairness of the election.

• Before the election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results. Pro-Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity.

Russian Campaign Was Multifaceted

Moscow’s use of disclosures during the US election was unprecedented, but its influence campaign otherwise followed a longstanding Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”

• We assess that influence campaigns are approved at the highest levels of the Russian Government—particularly those that would be politically sensitive.
• Moscow’s campaign aimed at the US election reflected years of investment in its capabilities, which Moscow has honed in the former Soviet states.
By their nature, Russian influence campaigns are multifaceted and designed to be deniable because they use a mix of agents of influence, cutouts, front organizations, and false-flag operations. Moscow demonstrated this during the Ukraine crisis in 2014, when Russia deployed forces and advisers to eastern Ukraine and denied it publicly.

The Kremlin’s campaign aimed at the US election featured disclosures of data obtained through Russian cyber operations; intrusions into US state and local electoral boards; and overt propaganda. Russian intelligence collection both informed and enabled the influence campaign.

Cyber Espionage Against US Political Organizations.

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.

We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies. In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.

• The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC.


Public Disclosures of Russian-Collected Data.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

• Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.
• Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.

• In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement.
The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks. RT’s editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become "the only Russian media company" to partner with WikiLeaks and had received access to "new leaks of secret information." RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to denounce the United States.

These election-related disclosures reflect a pattern of Russian intelligence using hacked information in targeted influence efforts against targets such as Olympic athletes and other foreign governments. Such efforts have included releasing or altering personal data, defacing websites, or releasing e-mails.

• A prominent target since the 2016 Summer Olympics has been the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with leaks that we assess to have originated with the GRU and that have involved data on US athletes.

Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.

Russian Cyber Intrusions Into State and Local Electoral Boards.

Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment.

DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.

Russian Propaganda Efforts.

Russia’s state-run propaganda machine—comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls—contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.

• Starting in March 2016, Russian Government–linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.
• Russian media hailed President-elect Trump’s victory as a vindication of Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements—the theme of Putin’s annual conference for Western academics in October 2016—and the latest example of Western liberalism’s collapse.
• Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev used his flagship weekly newsmagazine program this fall to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment and faulty democratic election process that aimed to prevent his election because of his desire to work with Moscow.
• Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would “drink champagne” in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine.

RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton’s election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia.


For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required.

In what is likely to be its most significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flank—one each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a “tripwire,” thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed, will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war.

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe.

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. “Today’s security environment is dramatically different than the one we’ve been engaged in for the last 25 years,” observed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for “a return to great-power competition,” including the possibility of all-out combat with “high-end enemies” like Russia and China.

-- The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia. Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.,by Michael T. Klare


• In August, Kremlin-linked political analysts suggested avenging negative Western reports on Putin by airing segments devoted to Secretary Clinton’s alleged health problems.
• On 6 August, RT published an English-language video called “Julian Assange Special: Do WikiLeaks Have the E-mail That’ll Put Clinton in Prison?” and an exclusive interview with Assange entitled “Clinton and ISIS Funded by the Same Money.” RT’s most popular video on Secretary Clinton, “How 100% of the Clintons’ ‘Charity’ Went to…Themselves,” had more than 9 million views on social media platforms. RT’s most popular English language video about the President-elect, called “Trump Will Not Be Permitted To Win,” featured Assange and had 2.2 million views.
• For more on Russia’s past media efforts—including portraying the 2012 US electoral process as undemocratic—please see Annex A: Russia—Kremlin's TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.

Russia used trolls as well as RT as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton. This effort amplified stories on scandals about Secretary Clinton and the role of WikiLeaks in the election campaign.

• The likely financier of the so-called Internet Research Agency of professional trolls located in Saint Petersburg is a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.
• A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015.

Influence Effort Was Boldest Yet in the US

Russia’s effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election represented a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations aimed at US elections. We assess the 2016 influence campaign reflected the Kremlin’s recognition of the worldwide effects that mass disclosures of US Government and other private data—such as those conducted by WikiLeaks and others—have achieved in recent years, and their understanding of the value of orchestrating such disclosures to maximize the impact of compromising information.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used intelligence officers, influence agents, forgeries, and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin, according to a former KGB archivist.

Since the Cold War, Russian intelligence efforts related to US elections have primarily focused on foreign intelligence collection. For decades, Russian and Soviet intelligence services have sought to collect insider information from US political parties that could help Russian leaders understand a new US administration’s plans and priorities.

• The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Directorate S (Illegals) officers arrested in the United States in 2010 reported to Moscow about the 2008 election.
In the 1970s, the KGB recruited a Democratic Party activist who reported information about then-presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter’s campaign and foreign policy plans, according to a former KGB archivist.

Election Operation Signals “New Normal” in Russian Influence Efforts

We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts in the United States and worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. We assess the Russian intelligence services would have seen their election influence campaign as at least a qualified success because of their perceived ability to impact public discussion.

• Putin’s public views of the disclosures suggest the Kremlin and the intelligence services will continue to consider using cyber-enabled disclosure operations because of their belief that these can accomplish Russian goals relatively easily without significant damage to Russian interests.
Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe.

We assess Russian intelligence services will continue to develop capabilities to provide Putin with options to use against the United States, judging from past practice and current efforts. Immediately after Election Day, we assess Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting US Government employees and individuals associated with US think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense, and foreign policy fields. This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans.

Annex A

Russia -- Kremlin's TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US* [* This annex was originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center, now the Open Source Enterprise.]

RT America TV, a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties. The rapid expansion of RT's operations and budget and recent candid statements by RT's leadership point to the channel's importance to the Kremlin as a messaging tool and indicate a Kremlin-directed campaign to undermine faith in the US Government and fuel political protest. The Kremlin has committed significant resources to expanding the channel's reach, particularly its social media footprint. A reliable UK report states that RT recently was the most-watched foreign news channel in the UK. RT America has positioned itself as a domestic US channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian Government.

In the runup to the 2012 US presidential election in November, English-language channel RT America -- created and financed by the Russian Government and part of Russian Government-sponsored RT TV (see textbox 1) -- intensified its usually critical coverage of the United States. The channel portrayed the US electoral process as undemocratic and featured calls by US protesters for the public to rise up and "take this government back."

• RT introduced two new shows -- "Breaking the Set" on 4 September and "Truthseeker" on 2 November -- both overwhelmingly focused on criticism of US and Western governments as well as the promotion of radical discontent.
• From August to November 2012, RT ran numerous reports on alleged US election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities, contending that US election results cannot be trusted and do not reflect the popular will.
• In an effort to highlight the alleged "lack of democracy" in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a "sham."
RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against "the ruling class" and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations. RT advertising for the documentary featured Occupy movement calls to "take back" the government. The documentary claimed that the US system cannot be changed democratically, but only through "revolution." After the 6 November US presidential election, RT aired a documentary called "Cultures of Protest," about active and often violent political resistance (RT, 1- 10 November).

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Messaging on RT prior to the US presidential election (RT, 3 November)

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RT new show "Truthseeker" (RT, 11 November)

RT Conducts Strategic Messaging for Russian Government

RT's criticism of the US election was the latest facet of its broader and longer-standing anti-US messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers' trust in US democratic procedures and undercutting US criticism of Russia's political system. RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan recently declared that the United States itself lacks democracy and that it has "no moral right to teach the rest of the world" (Kommersant, 6 November).

• Simonyan has characterized RT's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement as "information warfare" that is aimed at promoting popular dissatisfaction with the US Government. RT created a Facebook app to connect Occupy Wall Street protesters via social media. In addition, RT featured its own hosts in Occupy rallies ("Minaev Live," 10 April; RT, 2, 12 June).
RT's reports often characterize the United States as a "surveillance state" and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use (RT, 24, 28 October, 1-10 November).
• RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT's hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and "corporate greed" will lead to US financial collapse (RT, 31 October, 4 November).

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Simonyan steps over the White House in the introduction from her short-lived domestic show on REN TV (REN TV, 26 December 2011)

RT broadcasts support for other Russian interests in areas such as foreign and energy policy.

• RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government's concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom's profitability (5 October).
• RT is a leading media voice opposing Western intervention in the Syrian conflict and blaming the West for waging "information wars" against the Syrian Government (RT, 10 October-9 November).
• In an earlier example of RT's messaging in support of the Russian Government, during the Georgia-Russia military conflict the channel accused Georgians of killing civilians and organizing a genocide of the Ossetian people. According to Simonyan, when "the Ministry of Defense was at war with Georgia," RT was "waging an information war against the entire Western world" (Kommersant, 11 July).

In recent interviews, RT's leadership has candidly acknowledged its mission to expand its US audience and to expose it to Kremlin messaging. However, the leadership rejected claims that RT interferes in US domestic affairs.

• Simonyan claimed in popular arts magazine Afisha on 3 October: "It is important to have a channel that people get used to, and then, when needed, you show them what you need to show. In some sense, not having our own foreign broadcasting is the same as not having a ministry of defense. When there is no war, it looks like we don't need it. However, when there is a war, it is critical."
• According to Simonyan, "the word 'propaganda' has a very negative connotation, but indeed, there is not a single international foreign TV channel that is doing something other than promotion of the values of the country that it is broadcasting from." She added that "when Russia is at war, we are, of course, on Russia's side" (Afisha, 3 October; Kommersant, 4 July).
• TV-Novosti director Nikolov said on 4 October to the Association of Cable Television that RT builds on worldwide demand for "an alternative view of the entire world." Simonyan asserted on 3 October in Afisha that RT's goal is "to make an alternative channel that shares information unavailable elsewhere" in order to "conquer the audience" and expose it to Russian state messaging (Afisha, 3 October; Kommersant, 4 July).
• On 26 May, Simonyan tweeted with irony: "Ambassador McFaul hints that our channel is interference with US domestic affairs. And we, sinful souls, were thinking that it is freedom of speech."

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RT anti-fracking reporting (RT, 5 October)

RT Leadership Closely Tied to, Controlled by Kremlin

RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan has close ties to top Russian Government officials, especially Presidential Administration Deputy Chief of Staff Aleksey Gromov, who reportedly manages political TV coverage in Russia and is one of the founders of RT.

• Simonyan has claimed that Gromov shielded her from other officials and their requests to air certain reports. Russian media consider Simonyan to be Gromov's protege (Kommersant, 4 July; Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Simonyan replaced Gromov on state-owned Channel One's Board of Directors. Government officials, including Gromov and Putin's Press Secretary Peskov were involved in creating RT and appointing Simonyan (Afisha, 3 October).
• According to Simonyan, Gromov oversees political coverage on TV, and he has periodic meetings with media managers where he shares classified information and discusses their coverage plans. Some opposition journalists, including Andrey Loshak, claim that he also ordered media attacks on opposition figures (Kommersant, 11 July).

The Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging because of their ideological beliefs.

• The head of RT's Arabic-language service, Aydar Aganin, was rotated from the diplomatic service to manage RT's Arabic-language expansion, suggesting a close relationship between RT and Russia's foreign policy apparatus. RT's London Bureau is managed by Darya Pushkova, the daughter of Aleksey Pushkov, the current chair of the Duma Russian Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Gorbachev speechwriter(DXB, 26 March 2009; MK.ru, 13 March 2006).
• According to Simonyan, the Russian Government sets rating and viewership requirements for RT and, "since RT receives budget from the state, it must complete tasks given by the state." According to Nikolov, RT news stories are written and edited "to become news" exclusively in RT's Moscow office (Dozhd TV, 11 July; AKT, 4 October).
• In her interview with pro-Kremlin journalist Sergey Minaev, Simonyan complimented RT staff in the United States for passionately defending Russian positions on the air and in social media. Simonyan said: "I wish you could see…how these guys, not just on air, but on their own social networks, Twitter, and when giving interviews, how they defend the positions that we stand on!" ("Minaev Live," 10 April).

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Simonyan shows RT facilities to then Prime Minister Putin. Simonyan was on Putin's 2012 presidential election campaign staff in Moscow (Rospress, 22 September 2010, Ria Novosti, 25 October 2012).

RT Focuses on Social Media, Building Audience

RT aggressively advertises its social media accounts and has a significant and fast-growing social media footprint. In line with its efforts to present itself as anti-mainstream and to provide viewers alternative news content, RT is making its social media operations a top priority, both to avoid broadcast TV regulations and to expand its overall audience.

• According to RT management, RT's website receives at least 500,000 unique viewers every day. Since its inception in 2005, RT videos received more than 800 million views on YouTube (1 million views per day), which is the highest among news outlets (see graphics for comparison with other news channels) (AKT, 4 October).
• According to Simonyan, the TV audience worldwide is losing trust in traditional TV broadcasts and stations, while the popularity of "alternative channels" like RT or Al Jazeera grows. RT markets itself as an "alternative channel" that is available via the Internet everywhere in the world, and it encourages interaction and social networking (Kommersant, 29 September).
• According to Simonyan, RT uses social media to expand the reach of its political reporting and uses well-trained people to monitor public opinion in social media commentaries (Kommersant, 29 September).
• According to Nikolov, RT requires its hosts to have social media accounts, in part because social media allows the distribution of content that would not be allowed on television (Newreporter.org, 11 October).
• Simonyan claimed in her 3 October interview to independent TV channel Dozhd that Occupy Wall Street coverage gave RT a significant audience boost.

The Kremlin spends $190 million a year on the distribution and dissemination of RT programming, focusing on hotels and satellite, terrestrial, and cable broadcasting. The Kremlin is rapidly expanding RT's availability around the world and giving it a reach comparable to channels such as Al Jazeera English. According to Simonyan, the United Kingdom and the United States are RT's most successful markets. RT does not, however, publish audience information.

• According to market research company Nielsen, RT had the most rapid growth (40 percent) among all international news channels in the United States over the past year (2012). Its audience in New York tripled and in Washington DC grew by 60% (Kommersant, 4 July).
• RT claims that it is surpassing Al Jazeera in viewership in New York and Washington DC (BARB, 20 November; RT, 21 November).
• RT states on its website that it can reach more than 550 million people worldwide and 85 million people in the United States; however, it does not publicize its actual US audience numbers (RT, 10 December).

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Formal Disassociation From Kremlin Facilitates RT US Messaging

RT America formally disassociates itself from the Russian Government by using a Moscow-based autonomous nonprofit organization to finance its US operations. According to RT's leadership, this structure was set up to avoid the Foreign Agents Registration Act and to facilitate licensing abroad. In addition, RT rebranded itself in 2008 to deemphasize its Russian origin.

According to Simonyan, RT America differs from other Russian state institutions in terms of ownership, but not in terms of financing. To disassociate RT from the Russian Government, the federal news agency RIA Novosti established a subsidiary autonomous nonprofit organization, TV-Novosti, using the formal independence of this company to establish and finance RT worldwide (Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Nikolov claimed that RT is an "autonomous noncommercial entity," which is "well received by foreign regulators" and "simplifies getting a license." Simonyan said that RT America is not a "foreign agent" according to US law because it uses a US commercial organization for its broadcasts (AKT, 4 October; Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Simonyan observed that RT's original Russia-centric news reporting did not generate sufficient audience, so RT switched to covering international and US domestic affairs and removed the words "Russia Today" from the logo "to stop scaring away the audience" (Afisha, 18 October; Kommersant, 4 July).

• RT hires or makes contractual agreements with Westerners with views that fit its agenda and airs them on RT. Simonyan said on the pro-Kremlin show "Minaev Live" on 10 April that RT has enough audience and money to be able to choose its hosts, and it chooses the hosts that "think like us," "are interested in working in the anti-mainstream," and defend RT's beliefs on social media. Some hosts and journalists do not present themselves as associated with RT when interviewing people, and many of them have affiliations to other media and activist organizations in the United States ("Minaev Live," 10 April).

Annex B

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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:40 am

The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking’
by William Binney and Ray McGovern
January 6, 2017

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Still not showing evidence, U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper told senators he’s really sure Russia was the source of “hacked” Democratic emails, but the case remains weak, say ex-intelligence officials William Binney and Ray McGovern.

It has been several weeks since the New York Times reported that “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” led the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers” to help Donald Trump win the election. But the evidence released so far has been far from overwhelming.

The long anticipated Joint Analysis Report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Dec. 29 met widespread criticism in the technical community. Worse still, some of the advice it offered led to a very alarmist false alarm about supposed Russian hacking into a Vermont electric power station.

Advertised in advance as providing proof of Russian hacking, the report fell embarrassingly short of that goal. The thin gruel that it did contain was watered down further by the following unusual warning atop page 1: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

Also, curiously absent was any clear input from the CIA, NSA or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Reportedly, Mr. Clapper will get a chance on Friday to brief an understandably skeptical Donald Trump, who has called the briefing delay “very strange,” even suggesting that top intelligence officials “need more time to build a case.”

Clapper’s Checkered History

Mr. Trump’s skepticism is warranted not only by technical realities, but also by human ones, including the dramatis personae involved. Mr. Clapper has admitted giving Congress on March 12, 2013, false testimony regarding the extent of the National Security Agency’s collection of data on Americans. Four months later, after the Edward Snowden revelations, Mr. Clapper apologized to the Senate for testimony he admitted was “clearly erroneous.” That he is a survivor was already apparent by the way he landed on his feet after the intelligence debacle on Iraq.

Mr. Clapper was a key player in facilitating the fraudulent intelligence. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Mr. Clapper in charge of the analysis of satellite imagery, the best source for pinpointing the location of weapons of mass destruction — if any.


When Pentagon favorites like Iraqi émigré Ahmed Chalabi plied U.S. intelligence with spurious “evidence” on WMD in Iraq, Mr. Clapper was in position to suppress the findings of any imagery analyst who might have the temerity to report, for example, that the Iraqi “chemical weapons facility” for which Mr. Chalabi provided the geographic coordinates was nothing of the kind. Mr. Clapper preferred to go by the Rumsfeldian dictum: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” (It will be interesting to see if he tries that out on the President-elect Friday.)

A year after the war began, Mr. Chalabi told the media, “We are heroes in error. As far as we’re concerned we’ve been entirely successful.” By that time it was clear there were no WMD in Iraq. When Mr. Clapper was asked to explain, he opined, without adducing any evidence, that they probably were moved into Syria.

With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on “circumstantial evidence,” when it has NSA’s vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA’s capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking.

Here’s the difference:

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or other cyber-protection systems and then extracts data. Our own considerable experience, plus the rich detail revealed by Edward Snowden, persuades us that, with NSA’s formidable trace capability, it can identify both sender and recipient of any and all data crossing the network.

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization — on a thumb drive, for example — and gives it to someone else, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did. Leaking is the only way such data can be copied and removed with no electronic trace.

Because NSA can trace exactly where and how any “hacked” emails from the Democratic National Committee or other servers were routed through the network, it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack, as other reporting suggests. From a technical perspective alone, we are convinced that this is what happened.

Lastly, the CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in this electronic arena. Given Mr. Clapper’s checkered record for accuracy in describing NSA activities, it is to be hoped that the director of NSA will join him for the briefing with Mr. Trump.

William Binney (williambinney0802@comcast.net) worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. Ray McGovern (rrmcgovern@gmail.com) was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85. [This article previously appeared in The Baltimore Sun at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinio ... story.html]
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:53 am

How James Clapper will get away with perjury: Yes, the national director of intelligence lied under oath, and his defense is implausible. You think that matters?
by Paul Campos
June 12, 2013

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Did National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate in March? The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as it appears to be. As a practical matter, however, it’s the wrong question to be asking about Clapper’s behavior.

Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded, “No, sir … not wittingly.”

Now this is what an ordinary person would call a “lie.” Ordinary people also believe that perjury is lying under oath. But lawyers are not ordinary people, and, as a technical legal matter, the situation is more complicated.

If the question of whether Clapper committed perjury is understood to mean, “Would the government (if it were inclined to prosecute Clapper, which it won’t) be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Clapper’s response violated the federal perjury statutes?” the answer is, “Maybe, maybe not.”

Legally speaking, perjury is hard to prove, because it’s a highly technical offense. As a matter of federal law, a witness commits perjury if he knowingly makes a false material statement under oath. Clapper was under oath, his statement was false, and it was material to a legitimate governmental investigation. (The materiality requirement is intended to eliminate so-called “perjury traps,” in which a witness is asked a question for no other reason than to try to get him to perjure himself.)

Nevertheless, the government would not have a slam dunk perjury case against Clapper, if it chose to prosecute him. This is because, to secure a perjury conviction, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the witness knew his statement was false. No doubt relying on the advice of counsel, Clapper has already deployed what could be called the “it depends on what the meaning of ‘collect’ is” defense.

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Clapper used a metaphor for what the intelligence services are doing, in which he compared gathering information about phone conversations, as opposed to actively listening to those conversations, to tracking the Dewey Decimal System numbers of books on a library shelf, as opposed to actually reading the books:

To me, collection of U.S. persons’ data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it … And this has to do with of course somewhat of a semantic, perhaps some would say too – too cute by half [definition]. But it is – there are honest differences on the semantics of what, when someone says ‘collection’ to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to [Sen. Wyden].

Now this strikes me as an extremely implausible defense, especially in response to the question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions of Americans,” which in retrospect was obviously phrased by Sen. Wyden in this way in an attempt to stop Clapper from engaging in what even Clapper admits sounds like disingenuous semantic quibbling. (It’s also worth noting that Sen. Wyden provided Clapper with the questions he would be asked the day before the hearing, and gave him an opportunity the day afterward to modify or retract any of his testimony.)

But just because a defense sounds implausible, that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. Clapper would merely need to raise a reasonable doubt in one juror’s mind regarding whether he knew his statement was false. Would he be able to do so? That’s what Washington’s top white-collar criminal defense lawyers are paid $800 per hour to find out.

But in the end, that question should be irrelevant to the real question of the moment, which is whether there’s a good enough basis for concluding that Clapper lied to the Senate under oath, with “good enough” here meaning “good enough for the purposes of firing him.”

That is not – nor should it be — a technical question of criminal law, and you don’t have to be a lawyer to recognize that the answer to it is obvious.

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:59 am

The Royal Hunt of Donald the Terrible
by Charles Carreon
January 21, 2017

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THE PLEASURES OF SHOOTING. AFTER LUNCHEON THE "BEATING" IS A LITTLE WILD.
[Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger]


Washington loves nothing so much as a hunt, and the hunt started by the CIA, that set CNN and the rest of the press to croaking like a swamp full of bullfrogs, has been a Royal Hunt, indeed. Built of purest innuendo, the “intelligence dossier” that gave room for full-bore accusations of treason against the President Elect, has been elevated to the level of “credibility” by circuitous statements that hang from nothing but their own brazen assertions. Take this sampling of tautological statements that attempt to turn the “intelligence dossier” into something other than naked slander:

Jesus fucking Christ. This gun isn't smoking. It's burst into flame. "The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta." This is the evidence that the election was corrupted by the Trump team's collusion with a foreign power, and it seems very very very likely Trump knew. Treason.
-- Rebecca Solnit (Tweet), The New York Times

“Look, don't take anything in this dossier as gospel. But it's definitely evidence in favor of some pretty extraordinary claims.”
-- Zack Beauchamp @zackbeauchamp

Stunning and believable narrative in leaked docs describing alleged rift in Kremlin over meddling in US elections … Bombshell if true: Trump lawyer @MichaelCohen212 & Kremlin reps allegedly held clandestine August meeting in Prague
-- Borzou Daragahi @borzou

With CNN confirming that intelligence chiefs consider this report credible, it's about time to start using the word "treason."
-- Markos Moulitsas @markos

The evidence is questionable, but the idea looks entirely plausibleUnverifiable sensational details aside, the Trump dossier is a good reflection of how things are run in the Kremlin … with methods borrowed from the KGB … [so] whatever the truth of Putin’s connections with Trump, [it’s all] pretty scary.
-- Andrei Soldatov, The Guardian

Regardless of truth or falsity, I can see why they thought the president-elect should know.
-- Former CIA Director Michael Hayden


The New Journalism: Believing Double-talk From People Who Lie for A Living

Using weasel-words like “alleged,” “purported,” and “not-Gospel,” to describe the “intelligence dossier,” while simultaneously citing it as “evidence of treason” is just doubletalk. Journalists used to help us make the distinction between allegations and evidence, but that’s not the approach they’re taking here – urging readers to believe for the sake of believing whenever the story is good enough to believe. That a narrative is “stunning and believable” is a description of good fiction, not an indication of its accuracy. That an idea is “plausible” does not commend it to the wise for acceptance, but merely for consideration. That intelligence agents sometimes pass on information “regardless of truth or falsity” does not suggest that, by being passed along, false information becomes true.

But the authors of these words are all urging us to jump to another conclusion, not so tediously weighed down with logic: “When an ‘intelligence agent’ says something, even without a witness or anything more than their own words to support it, we must all stand up and salute it as ‘evidence’”. Well, for those of us with a memory longer than, say, 18 months, we can remember all the way back to when a spook was a spook, and his word, without evidence, was the worthless doubletalk of people who would have to kill you if they told you the truth. How times have changed.

“Less Here Than Meets the Eye”

Americans have been given a choice: to believe that Russia has its hand up Trump’s butt, and is running him like a puppet, or to deny that this is a proven fact. Those of us who are less than convinced that we are facing a commie takeover by Donald the Terrible don’t get a second chance to believe. We’re out of the discussion, exiled from “liberal” society, that has somehow decided to believe whatever the CIA has to say about the guy who was headed for, and now is sitting in, the White House. When we try to run down the facts behind the “intelligence dossier” that has been adopted as true by the same crowd that told us to watch out for “fake news,” we discover there are none. It’s all conjecture. As Tallula Bankhead famously observed, “There is less here than meets the eye.”

The Goal? To Imprison the President in Failed Policies

But the lack of evidence never sways the faith of believers. The beaters in this Royal Hunt have dedicated all of their firepower and noisemaking ability at flushing the President out of his lair and straight into the policy prison where the entire Establishment is now wailing that all Presidents must reside. Or what? There is a possibility of what? A rupture with past policies? An overturning of existing relationships? The reordering of relationships?

All those briefing books Trump refuses to read – they’re full of catechism, not knowledge. They are the latest advice from a cadre of pinheads who haven’t done anything particularly right in US foreign policy as far back as they’ve been an influence. Their catechism teaches that military expansionism is good foreign policy, and their dominance of all Washington thinking has now metastasized into the giant boil of pissed-off spies erupting on the forehead of official Washington in a grotesque, pulsing tumor. The only thing more grotesque than the CIA's resort to McCarthy-era propaganda tactics is the convulsive Seig-Heiling of the media lackeys as one body, thrilled at last to be part of the "liberal agenda."

Mistake me not for a Trumper, on this day or any of the remaining days of his administration. Nevertheless, the McCarthyite clamor now resonating the echo-chambers of the media regarding Donald Trump and the “Russian hacking scandal” is mere journalistic flatulence occasioned by gluttonous consumption of fact-free propaganda. What effect it will have on the policies of a man who seems to be hell bent on driving his motorcade through the front yard of the approved political habitation has yet to be seen.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:31 am

President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence's full remarks at the CIA Headquarters on Saturday.
by President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence
January 21, 2017

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you to the Acting Director Meroe Park. Thank you for 27 years serving the United States of America here at CIA.

It's a great privilege for me to be with you today and to have the opportunity to introduce at his first event, on his first full day, the new President of the United States, Donald Trump. (Applause.)

As you can imagine, it's deeply humbling for my family and I to find ourselves in this role. I'm grateful to our new President for the opportunity he's given me and the opportunity the American people have given us to serve. But it's especially humbling for me to be before all of you today -- men and women of character, who have sacrificed greatly -- and to stand before this hallowed wall, this memorial wall, where we remember 117 who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I can assure you this new President and our entire team recognizes and appreciates the sacrifices of all of the men and women of the intelligence community of the United States of America. (Applause.)

I've gotten to know our new President. We traveled a lot together. When the cameras are off and the -- lights are off, I'll tell you two things I know for sure. Number one, I've never met anyone more dedicated to the safety and security of the people of the United States of America, or anyone who is a greater strategic thinker about how we accomplish that for this nation. In fact, to understand the life of our new President is -- his whole life was strategy. He built an extraordinary success in the private sector, and I know he's going to make America safe again. (Applause.)

And lastly, I can honestly tell you, for all my years serving in the Congress, serving as governor of my home state, traveling cross-country and seeing the connection that he's made to men and women who serve and protect in every capacity in this country, I've never met anyone with a greater heart for those who every day, in diverse ways, protect the people of this nation through their character and their service and their sacrifice.

And so let me say, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce all of you the President of the United States. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I want to thank everybody. Very, very special people. And it is true, this is my first stop, officially. We're not talking about the balls, or we're not talking about even the speeches -- although they did treat me nicely on that speech yesterday. (Laughter.) I always call them the dishonest media, but they treated me nicely. (Laughter.)

But I want to say that there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There's nobody. (Applause.)

The wall behind me is very, very special. We've been touring for quite a while, and I'll tell you what -- 29? I can't believe it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Twenty-eight.

TRUMP: Oh, 28. We got to reduce it. That's amazing. And we really appreciate what you've done in terms of showing us something very special. And your whole group, these are really special, amazing people. Very, very few people could do the job you people do. And I want to just let you know, I am so behind you. And I know maybe sometimes you haven’t gotten the backing that you've wanted, and you're going to get so much backing. Maybe you're going to say, please don’t give us so much backing. (Laughter.) Mr. President, please, we don’t need that much backing. (Laughter.) But you're going to have that. And I think everybody in this room knows it.

You know, the military and the law enforcement, generally speaking, but all of it -- but the military gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military. And probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did. (Laughter.) But I would guarantee a big portion, because we're all on the same wavelength, folks. (Applause.) We're all on the same wavelength, right? He knows. It took Brian about 30 seconds to figure that one out, right, because we know we're on the same wavelength.

But we're going to do great things. We're going to do great things. We've been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we've ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have. We've been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS. Have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. (Applause.) Radical Islamic terrorism. And I said it yesterday -- it has to be eradicated just off the face of the Earth. This is evil. This is evil. And you know, I can understand the other side. We can all understand the other side. There can be wars between countries, there can be wars. You can understand what happened. This is something nobody can even understand. This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen. And you're going to go to it, and you're going to do a phenomenal job. But we're going to end it. It's time. It's time right now to end it.

You have somebody coming on who is extraordinary. For the different positions of "Secretary of This" and "Secretary of That" and all of these great positions, I'd see five, six, seven, eight people. And we had a great transition. We had an amazing team of talent. And, by the way, General Flynn is right over here. Put up your hand. What a good guy. (Applause.) And Reince and my whole group. Reince -- you know -- they don’t care about Reince. He's like this political guy that turned out to be a superstar, right? We don’t have to talk about Reince.

But we did -- we had such a tremendous, tremendous success. So when I'm interviewing all of these candidates that Reince and his whole group is putting in front, it went very, very quickly, and, in this case, went so quickly -- because I would see six or seven or eight for Secretary of Agriculture, who we just named the other day, Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia. Fantastic guy. But I'd see six, seven, eight people for a certain position. Everybody wanted it.

But I met Mike Pompeo, and it was the only guy I met. I didn’t want to meet anybody else. I said, cancel everybody else. Cancel. Now, he was approved, essentially, but they're doing little political games with me. He was one of the three. Now, last night, as you know, General Mattis, fantastic guy, and General Kelly got approved. (Applause.) And Mike Pompeo was supposed to be in that group. It was going to be the three of them. Can you imagine all of these guys? People respect -- you know, they respect that military sense. All my political people, they're not doing so well. The political people aren’t doing so well but you. We're going to get them all through, but some will take a little bit longer than others.

But Mike was literally -- I had a group of -- what, we had nine different people? Now, I must say, I didn’t mind cancelling eight appointments. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world. But I met him and I said, he is so good. Number one in his class at West Point.

Now, I know a lot about West Point. I'm a person that very strongly believes in academics. In fact, every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years who did a fantastic job in so many different ways, academically -- was an academic genius -- and then they say, is Donald Trump an intellectual? Trust me, I'm like a smart persona. (Laughter.) And I recognized immediately. So he was number one at West Point, and he was also essentially number one at Harvard Law School. And then he decided to go into the military. And he ran for Congress. And everything he's done has been a homerun. People like him, but much more importantly to me, everybody respects him. And when I told Paul Ryan that I wanted to do this, I would say he may be the only person that was not totally thrilled -- right, Mike? Because he said, I don’t want to lose this guy.

But you will be getting a total star. You're going to be getting a total gem. He's a gem. (Applause.) You'll see. You'll see. And many of you know him anyway. But you're going to see. And again, we have some great people going in. But this one is something -- is going to be very special, because this is one, if I had to name the most important, this would certainly be perhaps -- you know, in certain ways, you could say my most important. You do the job like everybody in this room is capable of doing. And the generals are wonderful, and the fighting is wonderful. But if you give them the right direction, boy, does the fighting become easier. And, boy, do we lose so fewer lives, and win so quickly. And that's what we have to do. We have to start winning again.

You know, when I was young and when I was -- of course, I feel young. I feel like I'm 30, 35, 39. (Laughter.) Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I'm young. You know, I was stopping -- when we were in the final month of that campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops. Speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 30,000 people, 15,000, 19,000 from stop to stop. I feel young.

When I was young -- and I think we're all sort of young. When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. We'd win with trade. We'd win with wars. At a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors, "The United States has never lost a war." And then, after that, it's like we haven’t won anything. We don’t win anymore. The old expression, "to the victor belong the spoils" -- you remember. I always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. Now, I said it for economic reasons. But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that's where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil. But okay. (Laughter.) Maybe you'll have another chance. But the fact is, should have kept the oil.

I believe that this group is going to be one of the most important groups in this country toward making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems. We have so many problems that are interrelated that we don’t even think of, but interrelated to the kind of havoc and fear that this sick group of people has caused. So I can only say that I am with you 1,000 percent.

And the reason you're my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. (Laughter and applause.) And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you're the number-one stop is exactly the opposite -- exactly. And they understand that, too.

And I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech? (Applause.) I've been given good reviews. But we had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we're not going to let it rain on your speech.

In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we'll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny. And then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured. But, you know, we have something that's amazing because we had -- it looked -- honestly, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that's not bad, but it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around -- you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed. So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they're going to pay a big price.

We had another one yesterday, which was interesting. In the Oval Office there's a beautiful statue of Dr. Martin Luther King. And I also happen to like Churchill, Winston Churchill. I think most of us like Churchill. He doesn’t come from our country, but had a lot to do with it. Helped us; real ally. And, as you know, the Churchill statue was taken out -- the bust. And as you also probably have read, the Prime Minister is coming over to our country very shortly. And they wanted to know whether or not I'd like it back. I say, absolutely, but in the meantime we have a bust of Churchill.

So a reporter for Time magazine -- and I have been on there cover, like, 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time Magazine. Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it's one time, because he won the Super Bowl or something, right? (Laughter.) I've been on it for 15 times this year. I don’t think that's a record, Mike, that can ever be broken. Do you agree with that? What do you think?

But I will say that they said -- it was very interesting -- that Donald Trump took down the bust, the statue, of Dr. Martin Luther King. And it was right there. But there was a cameraman that was in front of it. (Laughter.) So Zeke -- Zeke from Time Magazine writes a story about I took down. I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King. But this is how dishonest the media is.

Now, the big story -- the retraction was, like, where? Was it a line? Or do they even bother putting it in? So I only like to say that because I love honesty. I like honest reporting.

I will tell you, final time -- although I will say it, when you let in your thousands of other people that have been trying to come in -- because I am coming back -- we're going to have to get you a larger room. (Applause.) We may have to get you a larger room. You know? And maybe, maybe, it will be built by somebody that knows how to build, and we won't have columns. (Laughter.) You understand that? (Applause.) We get rid of the columns.

No, I just wanted to really say that I love you, I respect you. There's nobody I respect more. You're going to do a fantastic job. And we're going to start winning again, and you're going to be leading the charge.

So thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you -- you're beautiful. Thank you all very much. Have a good time. I'll be back. I'll be back. Thank you.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:02 pm

How George W. Bush dissed the U.S. intelligence community. The likelihood is that the crimes of Bush, Cheney, Libby and Rove so far revealed are only the tip of the iceberg.
by Juan Cole
January 6, 2017

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Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorist center and FBI National Security Branch, has been on CNN maintaining that there was a big difference between how the intelligence agencies were treated by the Bush administration and how the PEOTUS is treating them. He said that he was grilled on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction by the Republican congress, but that he was treated with respect. He complains that Donald J. Trump is being disrespectful to intelligence professionals.

With all due respect to Mr. Mudd (and I sincerely mean that), what he is saying makes no sense. Everyone knows that the Bush cabinet hated the CIA for not going along with its phony allegations of Iraqi biological and nuclear weapons. (The one lapse was a hastily assembled NIE produced under pressure from then vice president and unindicted felon Richard Bruce Cheney). Iraq didn’t have such weapons and in 2002 when the press for war was made, did not even have programs.

The main point is that while Bush and his cohort had a rule that they did not trash talk people in public, they displayed the utmost disrespect for intelligence professionals who would not turn weasel and tell them (and the public) what they wanted to hear. How could you disrespect intelligence professionals more than to set aside their analysis in favor of the talking points of Neoconservative hacks or to out them, putting their lives and those of their contacts in danger? And what more dangerous course than to go to war against the grain of the analysis of the trained professionals? The difference between Trump and Bush is only a matter of rhetorical style, and Trump hasn’t had the opportunity yet to endanger America the way Bush and the Neoconservatives did.

Here are four egregious examples of the Bush-Cheney (and especially Cheney) attack on CIA professionals:

1. A fraudulent document was circulated by former Italian and French intelligence officer with a businessman cover, Rocco Martino, purporting to be a purchase statement by the Niger government regarding an alleged buy of uranium by Saddam Hussein of Iraq. It was apparently taken seriously by British intelligence, but it was an obvious fraud, since the officials who allegedly signed it were not any longer in office on the date of the document. The whole thing may have been a project of Italian military intelligence, which has strong connections to surviving fascist circles in Italy, and is also connected to Michael Ledeen, Washington poobah who is now close to the Trumpies. (H/t to Josh Marshall who researched all this). My guess is that U.S. Neoconservatives used Ledeen as a conduit to the Italian intelligence Neofascists, and put in an order for such a hoax.

American CIA analysts looked at the document and quickly concluded that it was a fraud. Despite enormous pressure from Bush-Cheney officials, the Neoconservatives, the State Department and the CIA refused to go along with Bush’s desire to include a reference to the forgery in his 2003 State of the Union Address. Bush (or David Frum?) therefore put it this way: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This [was a] way of lying while seeming to tell the truth. What Bush really did was to disregard the State Department’s Intelligence and Research department and the CIA analysts and to find any alternative to this homegrown Washington expertise. In other words, Bush appealed to MI6 in just the way that Trump is appealing to Julian Assange. Both over-ruled their own intelligence professions.

Iraq war: the greatest intelligence failure in living memory. On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war, Panorama's Peter Taylor reveals the sources close to Saddam Hussein whose intelligence could have changed the course of history.
by Peter Taylor
18 Mar 2013

Ten years on from the invasion, Iraq remains the most divisive war in recent history and the greatest intelligence failure in living memory.

Much of the key intelligence that was used to justify the war was based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies - and as subsequent investigations showed, it was dramatically wrong. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

But crucially, there was intelligence that proved to be right. And, as a forensic, six-month investigation we conducted for BBC Panorama has revealed, it came from two highly-placed human sources at the very top of Saddam’s regime.

Both said that Iraq had no active WMD. Both were ignored or dismissed.

The intelligence from the first source came just a week before the government published its controversial dossier on WMD on 24 September 2002.

In the introduction to this dossier (known to some as the “dodgy” dossier) Tony Blair confidently declared, ‘the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons [and] that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons.’

Yet the two sources who produced the intelligence that Iraq had no WMD were the closest to Saddam Hussein that Western intelligence had ever got.

It was a remarkable achievement to have gained access at this level given the difficulty of recruiting any human source within Saddam’s secretive, paranoid and murderous regime.

The story of the first source comes straight out of the pages of a spy thriller.

In the spring of 2002, the CIA’s head of station in Paris, Bill Murray, was told by French intelligence, whose government had good links with the Iraqi regime, that a senior member of Saddam’s cabinet might want to defect with his family and had a great deal of intelligence that he might wish to share.

For the White House, such a defection offered the salivating prospect of a senior member of Saddam’s cabinet recanting on prime time television.

The source, Murray was informed, hated Saddam who had murdered his brother, and now seemed prepared to do business.

What made him even more attractive to Murray and the White House was that he had no blood on his hands and had never been accused of any involvement in murders or criminal activity. Compared with other members of Saddam’s blood-stained regime, the source was ‘Mr Clean’.

Murray was enthused: ‘He looked like a person of real interest, somebody who we should really be talking to.’ But a face-to-face meeting between a CIA agent and one of Saddam’s inner circle was out of the question as it was too risky.

The French suggested an intermediary, an Arab former journalist living in Paris, who had known the source for many years. They told Murray that he had worked with them for a number of years.

In the early summer of 2002, the financial bargaining began. The intermediary did not come cheap. His starting price was a staggering one million dollars. Murray, familiar with the ways of the Arab bazaar, haggled and finally got the price down to $200,000 which he handed over in cash in a paper bag. Murray explained it was to be used ‘to pay his expenses, to show that we were serious and also to provide some personal items for the source.’ He said it was never clear how much the intermediary wanted for himself and how much he was trying to stake out for the source.

However excessive the down payment might have seemed, it would have been worth every cent if the source came up with the goods on Saddam’s WMD. The source was none other than Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri.

With the down payment agreed, Murray submitted a detailed list of questions for the intermediary to put to him. WMD were top of the list. Naji Sabri was then to report back to Murray. That was the deal.

Through the summer months, there was radar silence. The intermediary had to pick his moment to meet the minister without arousing suspicion.

The opportunity came in mid-September 2002 when Naji Sabri was visiting New York to address the United Nations.

Again it was too risky for Murray to meet Naji Sabri face to face as most of the time the minister was being watched by a team of Saddam’s minders.

But the intermediary met him at the Iraqi Ambassador’s residence in New York. A secret sign was agreed to confirm to Murray that the meeting had taken place and that the minister was prepared to offer information.

The intermediary had arranged for a couple of hand-made suits to be made for the minister, presumably out of Murray’s $200,000 seed money ‘to pay his expenses’. Naji Sabri was to wear one of them when he addressed the UN General Assembly as a sign that he was on side. “It was part of the agreement to confirm the relationship between the intermediary and the source,” Murray explained,

The following day, Murray met the intermediary for a debriefing in a hotel room in New York. He was given the substance of the intelligence: ‘Saddam had intentions to have WMD, chemical, biological and nuclear, but the report was very clear about what he actually had at that point in time and he had virtually nothing.’

It was not what the White House wanted to hear. ‘I was told they were not happy.’

Murray made notes of the debriefing on a yellow pad and then, as he had to catch a plane back to Washington, sent them to the office in New York to be typed up as a formal report.
It was when he got to the airport that he saw Naji Sabri on a television screen addressing the UN, wearing his expensive, brand new suit. Murray was satisfied: ‘It was my new suit. It told me they were telling me the truth.’ Someone close to the story told me that President Bush had allegedly also seen the minister on television and pointed out that was the suit that he had paid for.

Murray says that he subsequently discovered that his account had been modified with a new introductory paragraph with which he was not happy. A Senate inquiry has since said it could find no documentary evidence of Murray’s account. What happened to his original text remains a mystery.

On 5 February 2004, after the fall of Saddam, CIA Director, George Tenet, delivered a speech at Georgetown University in which he referred to ‘what was going on in the fall of 2002’ - when Murray passed on his intelligence.

Tenet spoke of a source ‘with direct access to Saddam and his inner circle’ who had talked of Iraq “stockpiling chemical weapons” and “aggressively and covertly” developing a nuclear weapon that could be ready in 18 to 24 months. Tenet added that he could not have ignored or dismissed such reports. He stands by what he said. Murray maintains this did not reflect what he had written and passed on to New York. His report had referred to Saddam giving “stocks” of chemical weapons, left over from the early nineties, to friendly tribes and of Saddam’s scientists saying nuclear weapons could be ready in 18 to 24 months after they obtained the necessary material.

Murray says his key message was that Saddam did not have any serious, active current WMD stockpile or programmes.

Murray believes his report had been used selectively. By whom and at what level he does not know, but he thinks he knows why. He says the intelligence was cherry picked. ‘Very bad intelligence got to the leadership very quickly but other intelligence just didn’t make it.’


In the end Naji Sabri did not defect and give President Bush his moment of triumph in the glare of the cameras but he did manage to get out of Iraq. He went to teach communication studies at a university in the Gulf.

We tracked him down and asked him to comment. He dismissed Bill Murray’s story as ‘a complete fabrication’ and whilst admitting he met ‘an Arab ex-journalist living in France’ in New York, he says the meeting only lasted “a few minutes”.

I asked Bill Murray if MI6 got the intelligence from Naji Sabri. He assumed that it did. ‘Britain is a strategic ally and we share this kind of information with them regularly and rapidly and so it would have been soon after we acquired it.’

I wondered if Lord Butler, who chaired the original government Inquiry into the use of intelligence on WMD in the lead up to the Iraq war, was aware of what Iraq’s Foreign Minister was reported to have said? ‘No,’ he told me... If SIS (MI6) was aware of it, we should have been informed.’

He added by way of explanation that perhaps MI6 was not permitted to share intelligence that came from the CIA as it was not MI6’s to give.

Four months after Bill Murray debriefed the intermediary, another piece of dramatic intelligence came in, this time to MI6. In January 2003, now only three months before the war, a senior MI6 officer met another high-ranking member of Saddam’s inner circle, the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Habbush Al Tikriti. After the invasion he became the Jack of Diamonds on America’s “Most Wanted” notorious Deck of Cards, with a reward of one million US dollars thought to be on offer. It appears the meeting took place on Habbush’s initiative. It was in Amman, Jordan.

It seems that the likely reason was an attempt by the regime to reach some kind of face-saving compromise that might avert the imminent invasion, perhaps by negotiating safe passage for Saddam out of Iraq. In the course of the discussion, Habbush told the MI6 officer that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.


I asked Lord Butler if his Inquiry had been aware of the meeting and of what Habbush had said. ‘This was something which our review did miss.’ he said. ‘[There was] a mass of information, I think fifty thousand intelligence reports alone on Iraq. We were told [by MI6] that it was something designed by Saddam to mislead.”

Habbush is now thought to be living somewhere outside of Iraq, his escape allegedly organised by a Western intelligence agency.

Bill Murray gained no satisfaction when it emerged that the intelligence from Iraq’s Foreign Minister and Saddam’s Head of Intelligence turned out to be right. He felt let down and disappointed.

‘I thought we’d produced probably the best intelligence that anybody produced in the pre-war period, all of which came out in the long run to be accurate and the information was discarded and not used.’


Murray’s feelings about the use of misleading intelligence to justify the war reflect the way many in the UK probably still feel, that they were misled by their Prime Minister. Lord Butler agrees. “They’ve every right to feel that,” he said.


2. In late 2005, Bush closed the Alec Station, the unit within the CIA that was tasked with finding Bin Laden. Bush directed intelligence resources instead toward Iraq, which he had illegally invaded and occupied under false pretenses. The CIA was not happy. The former head of the unit reacted, “This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda . . . These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals.” And of course al-Qaeda did experience a resurgence. Indeed, the Iraq al-Qaeda affiliate morphed into Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

3. In late 2005, someone on the Bush National Security Agency attempted to enlist the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA in violating the Agency’s charter by having them investigate and smear a U.S. citizen on American soil (me). A group of analysts who objected to the whole episode later blew the whistle on it, including Glenn L. Carle, the bravest man in Washington. They went public because they knew that what had been done, having the agency tasked to operate on U.S. soil with regard to an innocent American, could have deeply damaged it. The irony is that in those days I was trying to help destroy al-Qaeda and frequently gave briefings and presentations to inter-agency audiences that included CIA analysts (and no, I was never an agent), attempting to help get them up to speed on the particulars of the challenge. And the Bushies stabbed us all in the back the same way they did Valerie Plame (see #4).

Meet Professor Juan Cole, Consultant to the CIA
by John V. Walsh
August 30, 2011

Juan Cole is a brand name that is no longer trusted. And that has been the case for some time for the Professor from Michigan. After warning of the “difficulties” with the Iraq War, Cole swung over to ply it with burning kisses on the day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. His fervor was not based on Saddam Hussein’s fictional possession of weapons of mass destruction but on the virtues of “humanitarian imperialism.”

Thus on March 19, 2003, as the imperial invasion commenced, Cole enthused on his blog: “I remain (Emphasis mine.) convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides.” Now, with over 1 million Iraqis dead, 4 million displaced and the country’s infrastructure destroyed, might Cole still echo Madeline Albright that the price was “worth it”? Cole has called the Afghan War “the right war at the right time” and has emerged as a cheerleader for Obama’s unconstitutional war on Libya and for Obama himself.

Cole claims to be a man of the left and he appears with painful frequency on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now as the reigning “expert” on the war on Libya. This is deeply troubling – on at least two counts. First, can one be a member of the “left” and also an advocate for the brutal intervention by the Great Western Powers in the affairs of a small, relatively poor country? Apparently so, at least in Democracy Now’s version of the “left.” Second, it appears that Cole’s essential function these days is to convince wavering progressives that the war on Libya has been fine and dandy. But how can such damaged goods as Cole credibly perform this marketing mission so vital to Obama’s war?

Miraculously, Cole got just the rehabilitation he needed to continue with this vital propaganda function when it was disclosed by the New York Times on June 15 that he was the object of a White House inquiry way back in 2005 in Bush time.
The source and reason for this leak and the publication of it by the NYT at this time, so many years later, should be of great interest, but they are unknown. Within a week of the Times piece Cole was accorded a hero’s welcome on Democracy Now, as he appeared with retired CIA agent Glenn Carle who had served 23 years in the clandestine services of the CIA in part as an “interrogator.” Carl had just retired from the CIA at the time of the White House request and was at the time employed at the National Intelligence Council, which authors the National Intelligence Estimate.

It hit this listener like a ton of bricks when it was disclosed in Goodman’s interview that Cole was a long time “consultant” for the CIA, the National Intelligence Council and other agencies. Here is what nearly caused me to keel over when I heard it (From the Democracy Now transcript.):

AMY GOODMAN: So, did you know Professor Cole or know of him at the time you were asked? And can you go on from there? What happened when you said you wouldn’t do this? And who was it who demanded this information from you, said that you should get information?

GLENN CARLE: Well, I did know Professor Cole. He was one of a large number of experts of diverse views that the National Intelligence Council and my office and the CIA respectively consult with to challenge our assumptions and understand the trends and issues on our various portfolios. So I knew him that way. And it was sensible, in that sense, that the White House turned to my office to inquire about him, because we were the ones, at least one of the ones—I don’t know all of Mr. Cole’s work—who had consulted with him. (Emphases mine.)


That seems like strange toil for a man of the “left.” But were the consultations long drawn out and the association with the CIA a deep one? It would appear so. Again from the transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the way James Risen (the NYT reporter) writes it, he says, “Mr. Carle said [that] sometime that year, he was approached by his supervisor, David Low, about Professor Cole. [Mr.] Low and [Mr.] Carle have starkly different recollections of what happened. According to Mr. Carle, [Mr.] Low returned from a White House meeting one day and inquired who Juan Cole was, making clear [that] he wanted [Mr.] Carle to gather information on him. Mr. Carle recalled [his] boss saying, ‘The White House wants to get him.'”

GLENN CARLE: Well, that’s substantially correct. The one nuance, perhaps, I would point out is there’s a difference between collecting information actively, going out and running an operation, say, to find out things about Mr. Cole, or providing information known through interactions. (Emphasis mine.) I would characterize it more as the latter.


And later in the interview Carle continues:

On the whole, Professor Cole and I are in agreement. The distinction I make is it wasn’t publicly known information that was requested; it was information that officers knew of a personal nature about Professor Cole, which is much more disturbing. There was no direct request that I’m aware, in the two instances of which I have knowledge, for the officers actively to seek and obtain, to conduct—for me to go out and follow Professor Cole. But if I knew lifestyle questions or so on, to pass those along. (Emphasis mine.)That’s how I—which is totally unacceptable.


It would seem then that the interaction between the CIA operatives and Cole was long standing and sufficiently intimate that the CIA spooks could be expected to know things about Cole’s lifestyle and personal life. It is not that anyone should give two figs about Cole’s personal life which is more than likely is every bit as boring as he claims. But his relationship with the CIA is of interest since he is an unreconstructed hawk. What was remarkable to me at the time is that Goodman did not pick up on any of this. Did she know before of Cole’s connections? Was not this the wrong man to have as a “frequent guest,” in Goodman’s words, on the situation in the Middle East?

This is not to claim that Cole is on a mission for the CIA to convince the left to support the imperial wars, most notably at the moment the war on Libya. Nor is this a claim that the revelation about the White House seeking information on Cole was a contrived psyops effort to rehabilitate Cole so that he could continue such a mission. That cannot be claimed, because there is as yet no evidence for it. But information flows two ways in any consultation, and it is even possible that Cole was being loaded with war-friendly information in hopes he would transmit it.

Cole is anxious to promote himself as a man of the left as he spins out his rationale for the war on Libya. At one point he says to Goodman (3/29), “We are people of the left. We care about the ordinary people. We care about workers.” It is strange that a man who claims such views dismisses as irrelevant the progress that has come to the people of Libya under Gaddafi, dictator or not. (Indeed what brought Gaddafi down was not that he was a dictator but that he was not our dictator.) In fact Libya has the highest score of all African countries on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) and with Tunisia and Morocco the second highest level of literacy. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide.

Whither the Left on the Question of Intervention?

None of this is all too surprising given Cole’s status as a “humanitarian” hawk. But it is outrageous that he is so often called on by Democracy Now for his opinion. One of his appearances there was in a debate on the unconstitutional war in Libya, with CounterPunch’s estimable Vijay Prashad taking the antiwar side and Cole prowar. It would seem strange for the left to have to debate the worth of an imperial intervention. Certainly if one goes back to the days of the Vietnam War there were teach-ins to inform the public of the lies of the U.S. government and the truth about what was going on in Vietnam. But let us give Democracy Now the benefit of the doubt and say that the debate was some sort of consciousness raising effort. Why later on invite as a frequent guest a man who was the pro-war voice in the debate? That is a strange choice indeed.

This writer does not get to listen to Democracy Now every day. But I have not heard a full-throated denunciation of the war on Libya from host or guests. Certainly according to a search on the DN web site, Cynthia McKinney did not appear as a guest nor Ramsey Clark after their courageous fact finding tour to Libya. There was only one all out denunciation of the war – on the day when the guests were Rev. Jesse Jackson and Vincent Harding who was King’s speechwriter on the famous speech “Beyond Vietnam” in 1967 in which King condemned the U.S. war on Vietnam. Jackson and the wise and keenly intelligent Harding were there not to discuss Libya but to discuss the MLK Jr. monument. Nonetheless Jackson and Harding made clear that they did not like the U.S. war in Libya one bit, nor the militarism it entails.

If one reads CounterPunch.org, Antiwar.com or The American Conservative, one knows that one is reading those who are anti-interventionist on the basis of principle. With Democracy Now and kindred progressive outlets, it’s all too clear where a big chunk of the so-called “left” stands, especially since the advent of Obama. In his superb little book Humanitarian Imperialism Jean Bricmont criticizes much of the left for falling prey to advocacy of wars, supposedly based on good intentions. And Alexander Cockburn has often pointed out that many progressives are actually quite fond of “humanitarian” interventionism. Both here and in Europe this fondness seems to be especially true of Obama’s latest war, the war on Libya. It is little wonder that the “progressives” are losing their antiwar following to Ron Paul and the Libertarians who are consistent and principled on the issue of anti-interventionism.

Democracy Now, quo vadis? Wherever you are heading, you would do well to travel without Juan Cole and his friends.

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com After wading through Cole’s loose prose and dubious logic to write this essay, the author suspects that the rejection of Cole by the Yale faculty was the result of considerations that had little to do with neocon Bush/Cheney operatives.


4. Bush-Cheney even went so far as to deliberately out a serving CIA field officer with a non-official cover (a NOC, who would be disavowed if captured by the enemy; unfortunately she was captured by Bush-Cheney). Younger readers may not know the Valerie Plame story, so here is a reprint edition from February 10, 2006, of it. [Valerie’s later thrillers are well worth reading.]

Cheney Authorized Libby to Disclose Classified Documents

Once upon a time, a former agent of Italian military intelligence named Rocco Martino, who had had some experience in the African country of Niger, came into possession of some forged, fraudulent documents.

These alleged Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium in 1999. In fact, the signatures were of Nigerian officials who had been in power a decade earlier, in the late 1980s.


So they were clumsy forgeries. Martino passed them on to the Italian magazine Panorama, which passed them to the U.S. embassy.

Tantalizingly, President George W. Bush’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove, has an indirect connection to Italian intelligence.

Rove’s chief adviser on Iran policy is Neoconservative wildman and notorious warmonger Michael Ledeen, who has a longstanding connection to the darker corners of Italian intelligence.

Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney heard of the alleged uranium purchase.

Cheney asked George Tenet to look into the allegation.

The issue went to the Directorate of Operations secret unit on counter-proliferation. Among the field officers there was Valerie Plame Wilson, who had spent her life fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction under cover of a dummy corporation.

Valerie Plame Wilson was married to former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, who had served bravely as acting ambassador in Iraq in 1990, and when threatened by Saddam he showed up to a press conference wearing a hanging noose instead of a necktie. President George H. W. Bush highly praised him.

Joe Wilson had not only served in Iraq, he also had been ambassador to the West African countries of Gabon and Sao Tome, and spoke fluent French. When Plame Wilson’s superiors brought up the possibility of sending him as a private citizen to look into the plausibility of the report that Saddam had bought Nigerian uranium, she was consulted and agreed (she was not part of the decision loop).

He went, and soon saw that the uranium industry in Niger was actually under the control of French companies and was strictly monitored.

There was no possibility of corrupt Nigerian officials selling it off under the table.

A separate military mission led by Marine General Carlton Fulford, Jr, deputy commander of the United States European Command (EUCOM), went to Niger the same month, February 2002.

Fulford quickly came to the same conclusion as Wilson, that it was implausible that al-Qaeda or anyone else could secretly buy uranium from Niger.

Wilson came back and was orally debriefed by people who wrote a report for Tenet, expecting that Tenet would pass it on to the high officials of the Bush administration.

Wilson was amazed when the Niger uranium story was put into Bush’s State of the Union address.


Then Libby wanted Secretary of State Colin Powell to make allegations about Saddam and al-Qaeda before the United Nations Security Council. Powell was also pressed by someone to bring up the Niger uranium story.

Powell is said to have exclaimed, “I’m not reading this bullshit!”

Libby appears to have been a big influence on the speech Powell gave, almost every detail of which was inaccurate, and at which United Nations officials who heard it openly laughed.

After the war, Wilson wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he revealed his mission and again called into question the Bush administration assertion that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program.

Cheney was extremely upset by Wilson’s op-ed. He saw it as an allegation that he had personally sent Wilson and then ignored Wilson’s report. Or at least that was the spin. But Wilson had said no such thing in the article. He simply said that Cheney had asked Tenet to look into the story, which Cheney probably did.

Cheney was afraid that if the American public became convinced that there had been no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the war effort would collapse, along with all those billions of no-bid uncompetitive contracts for Halliburton.

Cheney, it has now come out, then authorized Libby to leak the classified 2002 National Intelligence Estimate to the press.

The NIE, which may have been produced under pressure from Cheney himself, had incorrectly suggested that Iraq was only a few years from having a nuclear weapon. In fact, Iraq did not have an active weapons program at all after the early 1990s when it was dismantled by the UN inspectors. The pre-war NIE in any case was just old bad intelligence, which was contradicted by David Kay’s team on the ground in post-war Iraq, which just wasn’t finding much.


10/4/02: Asked by Sen. Graham to make gist of NIE public, Tenet produces 25-page document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It says Saddam has them and omits dissenting views contained in the classified NIE....

12/21/02: Asked by Bush if there's any reason to doubt existence of WMD, Tenet says: "It's a slam-dunk case." [Date the public knew: 4/17/04]

2/4/03: Powell asks Tenet to personally assure intel for speech is good. Tenet does. [Date the public knew: 6/25/06]


-- Lie by Lie: How Our Leaders Used Fear and Falsehood To Dupe Us Into a Mideast Quaqmire: A Timeline , by Tim Dickinson & Jonathan Stein


Aftermath - After the completion of the National Intelligence Estimate, the Bush administration will continue to make allegations concerning Iraq’s weapons capabilities and ties to militant Islamic groups, but will include none of the qualifications and nuances that are present in the classified NIE. After excerpts from the classified version of the NIE are published in the press in July of 2003 (see 3:09 p.m. July 11, 2003), administration officials will claim that neither Bush, Rice, nor other top officials were informed about the alternative views expressed by the DOE, INR, and the Air Force intelligence agency. They will also assert that the dissenting views did not significantly undermine the overall conclusion of the NIE that Iraq was continuing its banned weapons program despite UN resolutions. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/2003; NEW YORK TIMES, 7/19/2003; WASHINGTON POST, 7/27/2003]

-- Context of 'January 2003: Classified Intelligence Assessments Warn of Dire Consequences to Iraq Invasion', by History Commons


Libby now began telling reporters that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative, itself classified information, since she was an undercover operative.

Karl Rove engaged in the same routine. Apparently Cheney, Rove and Libby (and Bush?) believed that Wilson’s credibility would be undermined if the Washington press corps could have it intimated to them that his story was a CIA plant.

Robert Novak used the information given him by the White House staff to out Valerie Plame Wilson as an undercover operative. Her career was ruined. All her contacts in the global South were burned, and their lives put in danger. The CIA’s careful project combating weapons of mass destruction collapsed.

The same administration that alleges it should be able to listen to our phone calls at will for national security purposes deliberately undermined U.S. security for petty political purposes, making us all much less safe.

The likelihood is that the crimes of Bush, Cheney, Libby and Rove so far revealed are only the tip of the iceberg.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:03 am

The Democratic Party line that could torch civil liberties … and maybe help blow up the world. We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard.
by Norman Solomon
January 4, 2017

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Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Of course, partisan spinners aren’t big on self-examination, especially if they’re aligned with the Democratic Party’s dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up – even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Much of the current fuel for the blame-Russia blaze has to do with the horrifying reality that Donald Trump will soon become president. Big media outlets are blowing oxygen into the inferno. But the flames are also being fanned by people who should know better.

Consider the Boston Globe article that John Shattuck – a former Washington legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union – wrote in mid-December. “A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump,” the civil libertarian wrote. “He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

As quickly pointed out by Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University, raising the specter of treason “is simply wrong” – and “its wrongness matters, not just because hyperbole always weakens argument, but because the carefully restricted definition of the crime of treason is essential to protecting free speech and the freedom of association.”

Is Shattuck’s piece a mere outlier? Sadly, no. Although full of gaping holes, it reflects a substantial portion of the current liberal zeitgeist. And so the argument that Shattuck made was carried forward into the new year by Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, who approvingly quoted Shattuck’s article in a Jan. 1 piece that flatly declared: “In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason.”

The momentum of fully justified loathing for Trump has drawn some normally level-headed people into untenable – and dangerous – positions. (The “treason” approach that Shattuck and Kuttner have embraced is particularly ironic and misplaced, given that Trump’s current course will soon make him legally deserving of impeachment due to extreme conflicts of interest that are set to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.)

Among the admirable progressives who supported Bernie’s presidential campaign but have succumbed to Russia-baiting of Trump are former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Congressman Keith Ellison, who is a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Last week, in a widely circulated post on his Facebook page, Reich wrote: “Evidence continues to mount that Trump is on Putin’s side.” But Reich’s list of “evidence” hardly made the case that Trump “is on Putin’s side,” whatever that means.

A day later, when Trump tweeted a favorable comment about Putin, Rep. Ellison quickly echoed Democratic Party orthodoxy with a tweet: “Praising a foreign leader for undermining our democracy is a slap in the face to all who have served our country.”

Some of Putin’s policies are abhorrent, and criticizing his regime should be fair game as much as criticizing any other. At the same time, “do as we say, not as we do” isn’t apt to put the United States on high moral ground. The U.S. government has used a wide repertoire of regime change tactics including direct meddling in elections, and Uncle Sam has led the world in cyberattacks.

Intervention in the election of another country is categorically wrong. It’s also true that – contrary to conventional U.S. wisdom at this point – we don’t know much about a Russian role in last year’s election. We should not forget the long history of claims from agencies such as the CIA that turned out to be misleading or downright false.

Late last week, when the Obama administration released a drum-rolled report on the alleged Russian hacking, Democratic partisans and mainline journalists took it as something akin to gospel. But the editor of ConsortiumNews.com, former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry, wrote an assessment concluding that the latest report “again failed to demonstrate that there is any proof behind U.S. allegations that Russia both hacked into Democratic emails and distributed them via WikiLeaks to the American people.”

Even if the Russian government did intervene in the U.S. election by hacking emails and publicizing them, key questions remain. Such as:

Do we really want to escalate a new cold war with a country that has thousands of nuclear weapons?

Do we really want a witch-hunting environment here at home, targeting people with views that have some overlap with Kremlin positions?

Can the president of Russia truly “undermine our democracy” – or aren’t the deficits of democracy in the United States overwhelmingly self-inflicted from within the U.S. borders?

It’s so much easier to fixate on Putin as a villainous plotter against our democracy instead of directly taking on our country’s racist and class biases, its structural mechanisms that relentlessly favor white and affluent voters, its subservience to obscene wealth and corporate power.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about refusing to normalize the Trump presidency. And that’s crucial. Yet we should also push back against normalizing the deflection of outrage at the U.S. political system’s chronic injustices and horrendous results – deflection that situates the crux of the problem in a foreign capital instead of our own.

We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard, while heightening the risks of brinkmanship that could end with the two biggest nuclear powers blowing up the world.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:09 am

Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not To Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion
By Glenn Greenwald
March 16, 2017

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FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

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Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.


For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

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A formal, credible investigation into all these questions, where the evidence is publicly disclosed, is still urgently needed. That’s true primarily so that conspiracies no longer linger and these questions are resolved by facts rather than agenda-driven anonymous leaks from the CIA and cable news hosts required to feed a partisan mob.

It’s certainly possible to envision an indictment of a low-level operative like Carter Page, or the prosecution of someone like Paul Manafort on matters unrelated to hacking, but the silver bullet that Democrats have been led to expect will sink Trump appears further away than ever.

But given the way these Russia conspiracies have drowned out other critical issues being virtually ignored under the Trump presidency, it’s vital that everything be done now to make clear what is based in evidence and what is based in partisan delusions. And most of what the Democratic base has been fed for the last six months by their unhinged stable of media, online, and party leaders has decisively fallen into the latter category, as even their own officials are now desperately trying to warn.
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