Another response to Publius Tacitus concerning those meddlesome Russians – TTG


In the latest posting by Publius Tacitus concerning this subject, he made the following claim.

“In other words, if the Russians really were in a full court press beyond their normal propaganda activities, then the intelligence community should have been galvanized to collect more information and should have briefed the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees. That did not happen. Key Republican leaders DID NOT, I repeat NOT, receive such a briefing. For example, Devin Nunes, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, did not get briefed by Brennan or any of his minions on this subject.”

I took issue with this interpretation of events in a response to a question posed by Fred.

“Brennan started briefing the Gang of Eight individually beginning with Reid. He finished all individual briefings on 5 Sep 2016 commenting that it proved difficult to get appointments and talk with certain Republicans. Obama also sent Comey, Jeh Johnston and Lisa Monaco to brief the "Gang of Twelve" that included the chairmen and ranking minority members of Homeland Security and Intelligence to seek bipartisan support to respond forcefully to the Russians in early Sep 2016. McConnell reacted forcefully to stifle the intelligence and any forceful response saying “he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”” 

I got it mostly right, but upon further research I discovered I was wrong about the 5 September date. It was 6 September. Publius Tacitus still took issue with this insisting “Brennan did not brief all of the Republicans.” I offered further proof of my claim in two comments which Publius chose not to publish. That is his prerogative as a guest writer here. I’ve decided to continue the discussion in this post. That is my prerogative as a guest writer… subject to the final decision of Colonel Lang, of course. Both Publius and I must abide by those decisions.

I offer the testimony of John Brennan given before the HPSCI on 23 May 2017 to bolster my case that Brennan did brief the “Gang of Eight” on the intelligence community’s initial findings that Russia was interfering with the 2016 elections. 

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

“Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case [that means the FBI], involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.” 

This particular transcription of Brennan’s remarks was done by a darling of the deep state conspiracy crowd, sundance. Sundance was also kind enough to provide a video of Brennan’s remarks. Note that Brennan names those he briefed and that list included Nunes. Sundance accepts Brennan’s account of these meetings and, in fact, uses those remarks to beat Comey over the head over a related issue.

As long as I’m writing a post, I might as well address a couple of other points raised by Publius Tacitus. There was no “formal lack of response by the intelligence community.” Prior to the briefing of the “Gang of Eight,” Brennan established an intelligence task force of a couple dozen analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI to focus on the issue of Russian interference. This is probably the same team that wrote the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. The establishment of this task force was preceded by intelligence obtained by the CIA through some kind of SIGINT, HUMINT or bilateral (FVEY) operation that detailed Putin’s direct involvement in the cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US election. This intelligence also captured Putin’s instructions on the operation’s eventual objectives, to defeat or at least damage Clinton, and help elect Trump. Brennan sent this intelligence directly to Obama by courier prior to the “Gang of Eight” briefings. I remember the widespread outcry when the existence of this intelligence came out. It appeared to blow an apparent US penetration of Russian government secure communications. Maybe it did. But Brennan’s call to FSB director, Alexander Bortnikov, on 4 August 2016 warning him to knock it off probably tipped off the Russians long before the public outing of the intelligence as did Obama’s face to face warning to Putin at the G20 Summit that he knew what Putin was doing and warned him to knock it off.

In addition to this intelligence, the IC had at that time intelligence from Estonia (and maybe others) about Page’s June trip to Moscow, the Dutch observation of Cozy Bear activities and the report from Australia about Popadopoulis’ drunken ramblings in a London bar. None of that came from the Steele dossier. All of that is conveniently ignored by the deep state conspiracy theorists. All the information Reid referenced in his letter to Comey probably came from his briefing by Brennan, but we can reasonably disagree on the role or non-role of the Steele dossier. 

In my earlier response to Publius Tacitus, I noted the forcefulness of McConnell in preventing a public release of intelligence about Russian meddling or a public response to that meddling. At that point in time, the Republican desire to keep this issue quiet can be seen as a reasonable maneuver of political electioneering… or healthy skepticism. However, perhaps there’s more to it than that. There are dueling conspiracy theories swirling around this whole Russia thing. Nunes was close to Flynn and was on the Trump transition team. I think he’s too close to this to not recuse himself altogether, rather than this half-hearted recusal he currently claims. His continued efforts to derail the Mueller investigation smacks of conspiracy in my mind. 

We still need to wait for the Mueller investigation to run its course and hope that the results will be released to the public.  We need that and the results of the ongoing FBI IG investigation. Until then we’ll continue to gleefully argue our respective points in a vacuum. Unless your comments are unusually abrasive and contribute nothing to the conversation, I’ll publish them.


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89 Responses to Another response to Publius Tacitus concerning those meddlesome Russians – TTG

  1. plantman says:

    Well argued, but I respectfully disagree….
    and, regrettably, your argument sounds like a defense of the disgraced and untrustworthy John Brennan, who deserves a recap from author Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:
    “Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program……
    Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser…. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year….
    Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency…..” (“John Brennan’s extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination”, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)
    So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia???
    You fail to mention that deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe stated under oath that the dossier was used to “improperly obtain” FISA warrants to spy on a member of the Trump camp or that the investigation has yet to produce even one scintilla of hard evidence in 18 months or that the media deliberately circulated stories they knew were uncorroborated nonsense in order to damage the president they never wanted.
    I suggest you go back and reread the ODNI that Brennen put out with the help of his hand-picked team of analysts. I think you might be surprised in retrospect how weak the case against Trump really is…

  2. GeneO says:

    TTG –
    Well researched and well done. But please do not expect to cure paranoia with facts.

  3. m robert says:

    The “full spectrum information operation”by British operative Christopher Steele( working with MI6 ) and US “security and Intell services” ie : John Brennan points to an attempt at a unconstitutional coup against a duly elected President. Why? To maintain the British/US establishment policy of geopolitical confrontation with Russia & China and the policy of “regime change wars “; a policy candidate Trump voiced opposition to.
    Christopher Steele: The Real Foreign Influence in the 2016 Election?
    His dossier was more than opposition research, it was part of a full-spectrum information operation.
    By PETER VAN BUREN • February 15, 2018
    Russiagate or Intelgate?
    The publication of the Republican House Committee memo and reports of other documents increasingly suggest not only a “Russiagate” without Russia but also something darker: The “collusion” may not have been in the White House or the Kremlin.
    By Stephen F. Cohen FEBRUARY 7, 2018

  4. MasterSlacker says:

    Most enjoyable to witness a genius who employs verifiable facts to back up arguments. It’s too rare among the commentariat. Thank you.

  5. turcopolier says:

    Actually, the DoJ IG report is what I think you mean. pl

  6. Haralambos says:

    Is this what you intended: “Unless your comments are unusually abrasive and contribute nothing to the conversation, I’ll publish them.” Could you have intended and meant “If” rather than “Unless”?
    Sorry if I am being pedantic or just missing a beat.

  7. ked says:

    I’m going w/ your analysis.
    I’m no expert, but you do not display an ideological bias nor make pejorative personal comments to people in correspondance.
    I’m getting sick of that kinda shit.

  8. “some kind of SIGINT, HUMINT or bilateral (FVEY) operation that detailed Putin’s direct involvement in the cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US election. This intelligence also captured Putin’s instructions on the operation’s eventual objectives, to defeat or at least damage Clinton, and help elect Trump.”
    I call drivel.
    Absent the presentation of “some kind of” said intel, Brennan is lying and conducting a disinformation campaign.
    There is no chance that Putin is dumb enough to believe that his Russian intelligence services had the capability of swinging the election to anyone, let alone Trump whose victory, I remind those with – as Publius put it in his thread – “memory on the level of an Alzheimer patient” – was completely dismissed by everyone until it happened.
    So we’re supposed to believe the Russians knew better?
    When Brennan goes down for this disinformation campaign, I expect TTG to post a thread here with his mea culpa.

  9. JohnH says:

    The whole Trump/Putin narrative has lost steam. It has descended into an incomprehensible storm of “he said, she said.” Unless Democrats, Mueller or the intelligence services can finally produce some kind of smoking gun, I doubt that Americans will just tune out. Advantage Trump.
    The whole adventure reminds me of the campaign against Bill Clinton in the 1990s. They could only ‘get’ Clinton because he shot himself in the foot with Monica. Of course, Trump, being Trump, is perfectly capable of doing the same thing.

  10. JohnH says:

    Correction: I believe Americans will just tune out. Advantage Trump.

  11. plantman,
    If you expect me to argue that Brennan is not a typical scheming bureaucratic hack, you’d have to wait a long time. I dislike him as I dislike most of his contemporaries, but I bear him no personal grudge. The purpose of the ICA on Russian interference was not to make a case against Trump. It was to make a case against Russia. I don’t think it contained anything referring to any kind of collusion. You’re conflating two very different, albeit related, subjects.

  12. pl,
    Yes, I meant the DOJ IG report.

  13. Haralambos,
    If I said “if” I would have said I would not publish the comments. I’ll stick with “unless.” Pedantic or not, you made me think a little harder about it. Thanks.

  14. Richardstevenhack,
    Reread the ICA on “Russian activities and intentions.” It lays out the evolution of Russian thinking over the course of the election season. Russian actions were logical and in Russia’s interests. They were not dependent on Trump’s election victory.

  15. JohnH and J,
    You both may prove more correct than the rest of us in predicting Americans will just tune out. They’re far more interested in the full Stormi Daniels story than in the Russian interference story, no matter how it turns out.

  16. The Porkchop Express says:

    This is a point that is rarely addressed or gets lost amongst all the vitriol. The Russians absolutely could have been (and almost assuredly were) involved in instigating and generally fuckery with respect to our elections and Trump could be squeaky clean as far as collusion/obstruction/etc… One does not preclude the other.
    In any event, the longer this bullshit goes on with the innuendo, leaks, counter leaks, memos, and ridiculous histrionics the greater the level of transparency of the entire process and investigations will be necessary to assuage the “losing” side of this debate. And even granted that, it’s doubtful there is a happy ending at the end of this particular rainbow. But some clear and convincing cards need to be thrown on the table soon, regardless of what they show.
    On a lighter note, Karl Sharro wrote an entertaining piece last year about all this–more so to those on here with direct ME experience:

  17. Clueless Joe says:

    If there was some Russian meddling and hacking going on, I have to wonder if getting caught wasn’t part of the plan. The key goal not being to put Trump in the White House, but to make sure each party would be at each others’ throat and claims of foreign influence, possible treason and very dubious if not fake election results would poison the inner political life of the USA for the next 4 years. Basically, sowing seeds of mistrust towards the various authorities and the whole political process itself, to weaken the US system as a whole.
    I base this hypothesis on reasoning similar to Richardstevenhack. Putin knows he can’t win elections by internet and IT shenanigans; GOP or dems would use it already and would be far more effective than faraway Russia if it were the case. He’s also smart enough to expect to be caught if such a massive endeavour was underway. On the other hand, going in without taking enough care not to get spotted and making sure the US agencies notice would indeed mean the operation was designed to be uncovered, and that was its purpose.
    All in all, if there are solid clues, I’d wonder first if Russians aren’t framed, and barring that, if their key goal isn’t to cause paranoia inside the USA and make people doubt their whole political system.

  18. plantman says:

    I thought it might help to quote the first part of the “Key Judgements in the Intel Community Assessment:
    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.” (end quote)
    The report was supposed to provide proof-positive that Russia meddled, but facts or evidence are excluded in the 40 page document.
    So what are we the people supposed to do with this….beat the bushes for another 3 years to see if something pops up?
    How is that fair to the people who voted for Trump and think he should be left to rule according to the results of the balloting?
    At what point does the onus fall on the prosecution to produce hard-evidence or shut the hell up??
    Or are you okay with a president being put under the microscope for 4 years with no probable cause, and no proof of criminal wrongdoing?
    Tell me, how long should this investigation be allowed to continue without any proof?

  19. Fred says:

    “… cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US election.” Which other nations are doing the same thing? Which ones were doing so on behalf of the other candidate and why aren’t those campaigns under investigation?
    I learned from Mother Jones that a Democratic Senator met with lawyers that represent a Russian Oligarch close to Putin (he isn’t recusing himself either) and that Russian “bots” are active.
    Where did Mother Jones get that info on Russian bots? Why according to the article from the German Marshal Fund:
    So Germany working to influence Americans is OK. Russians no. Yep. No influencing US elections via activities camouflaged as NGOs doing their good deeds. Never happen here. It’s not like millions in donations to the Cxxxxxn Foundation, such as the $25 million donation of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) – surprise! protected by Canadian law from releasing thier donor identities (see the NYT linked below)- or the multi-million donations of the Kindom of Norway, Kindom of Saudi Arabia, the Commonwealth of Australia and a slew of others would provide that organization with fungable assets that could be used in the USA to influence government policy or influence those voting for representatives who determine US government policy.
    “Nunes was close to Flynn and was on the Trump transition team. I think he’s too close to this to not recuse himself altogether…”
    Guilt by association? How many other transition team members should be removed from doing thier jobs for being “close to Flynn”?
    “We still need to wait for the Mueller investigation to run its course and hope that the results will be released to the public. ”
    How many years will that be?
    Democracy dies in darkness. If this is actually worse than Watergate then declassify it all and hold public hearings – with no immunity for anybody.

  20. Farooq says:

    Sir i have been meaning to ask you about an article i read that was published prior to elections dealing with hacked elections in Nicaragua.
    There was a followup on same site (the author also wrote “Trump is new Andrew Jackson” article which was widely circulated)
    The methods that have been described in article, how aware was Cyber Intel community in US about these? It appears to me they were completely focused on undermining encryption standards and software that may have made their lives easier but laid bare everyone else, where as they seemed to have no answer for what happened.
    On another note, i think what Russians did was elegant bordering on art. All that color revolution stuff looks amateurish compared to what Russians did. I do not think US infowar capability can create divisions in Russian society along historical lines going back Bolshvieks vs White movement.
    On technology front i think what China is working on in the realm of AI (voice and image generation, chat bots etc)is going to pose a challenge to US in next decade that will make this Russian stuff look like a friendly pat on the back.

  21. Clueless Joe,
    In reference to your comment at #19
    That’s a pretty clueful comment for someone calling himself clueless joe. I think you summarized the plan fairly nicely. I think the best case Russian plan was that they would not be discovered until well after the election. The announcement of the DNC hack threw a monkey wrench into the initial plan and forced the rather shoddy Guccifer 2.0 improvisation. It was still just hacking and that has been going on among a lot of countries for many years. No big deal if discovered and attributed. The influence op using advances in AI, media technologies and techniques was bound to be discovered. However, so what? This was nothing more than what the very successful Trump digital operations was doing. It was all legal and very smart. There was little downside to being discovered.
    One devious idea I have is that it would be advantageous to the Russians if they planted just enough clues that there was some kind of collusion between the Trump team and Russia. It would just add to the American angst and divisiveness. Not saying this is the case, but I would consider it if I was running the operation.

  22. plantman and Fred,
    Watergate ran from 1972 to 1974. The Whitewater/Lewinski investigations ran from 1994 to 1998. The Benghazi hearings ran from 2012 to 2016. How long will the Mueller investigation run? History says a while longer. I agree with you both that a lot of secrets will have to be declassified and released to end this. Given what’s at stake, I think the loss of sources and methods is well worth the cost.

  23. J says:

    The American populace isn’t stupid. They KNOW that we the U.S.’meddle’in other nations elections.
    They just shrug their shoulders when D.C. politicians go stupid over possible outside meddling in ours.

  24. FB Ali says:

    I don’t know much about this controversy – and, frankly, care even less. However, the following lines in the post caught my eye:
    In addition to this intelligence, the IC had at that time intelligence from Estonia (and maybe others) about Page’s June trip to Moscow, the Dutch observation of Cozy Bear activities and the report from Australia about Popadopoulis’ drunken ramblings in a London bar.
    “This intelligence” refers to Brennan. I would not trust anything associated with Mr Brennan. He is involved up to his eyebrows in all these shenanigans, and his motives are clearly crooked. To advance him as a source is to taint the story irredeemably.
    As for the rest of the quote, Estonia as a “source” – for crying out loud! We have already read about those truly weird Dutch observations. And, to top it all, we have these drunken ramblings advanced as proof!
    If this is the kind of stuff the whole story is based on, then it’s obviously all poppycock! That it should be taken seriously enough to warrant posts on SST is beyond weird!

  25. likbez says:

    Your logic is suspect in this particular case.
    Firstof all the “Intelligence community” here means predetermined conclusions by specifically handpicked for this purpose by Brennan team,consisting of a dozen or so analysts. Which included Peter Strzok and, most probably, Andrew McCabe.
    The key operation launched after election nicely fits the scheme of a color revolution (which are CIA specialty in tandem with the State Department 😉 In this context, the role ICA was to launch the media frenzy (to use controlled MSM as attack dogs to de-legitimize the elected government accusing it of some mortal sin such as corruption, collision with Russia (or other chosen scapegoat country), plunging the standard of living and economics of the country, racism and suppression of ethnic minorities, etc) is a classic recipe from Gene Sharp book ).
    That goal which was successfully achieved — unprecedented neo-McCarthyism campaign, along with the allegation of “collision with Russia” by Trump and his team were both in full bloom by January 2017.
    David Stockman provided the names of the principal conspirators of the color revolution listing Brannan as the No. 1 (

    Here are the names and rank of the principal conspirators:
    John Brennan, CIA director;
    Susan Rice, National Security Advisor;
    Samantha Power, UN Ambassador;
    James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence;
    James Comey, FBI director;
    Andrew McCabe, Deputy FBI director;
    Sally Yates, deputy Attorney General,
    Bruce Ohr, associate deputy AG;
    Peter Strzok, deputy assistant director of FBI counterintelligence;
    Lisa Page, FBI lawyer;
    and countless other lessor and greater poobahs of Washington power, including President Obama himself.

    And this MSM witch hunt was n turn a step stone toward “Appointment of the Special Prosecutor” gambit (for which Rosenstein was used possibly with the help of intimidation), the most important goalpost so far achieved by plotters.
    Your interpretation of the visit of Brennan to Raid is probably wrong. Information about Steele dossier was of secondary importance. His goal to recruit an influential Congress ally who shared the agenda “Trump should go” and who can help with the forthcoming color revolution steps based on dossier and ICA. Raid subsequent steps of propagating Steele dossier is just a part of larger effort.
    Barack Obama biography and his very strange relations with Brennan raises a lot of interesting questions one of which is: To what extent Obama was dependent/controlled by CIA and to what extent he was the part of the color revolution plot. He definitely took unprecedented steps (and dangerous for him personally) to de-legitimize Trump and implicated Russians before leaving the office (“unmasking” campaign by Rice and Powell, exclusion of Russian diplomats and confiscation of Russian property made of the basis of Steele falsification and the burning desire to “get” Trump )
    The other question is to what extent Strzok and McCabe can be considered as Brennan allies, or maybe even Brennan agents of influence within FBI. It is not that plausible that those two guys ventured into “va bank” operation of spying on Trump by themselves. From recovered texts, it is clear that Strzok opinion about Hillary was pretty low.
    Now we know that Brennan single-handedly opened Russiagate investigation and even boasted about that. That means that he is the real godfather of Russiagate. According to the Washington Times:

    “It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer .Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians.”

    Links from Crowdstrike “analysis” (which most probably was a false flag operation to implicate Russians and cover the leak of email to USB drive) also might lead to Brennan.
    The same is true about Fusion GPS. And even Steele himself, who, as we now know, got some information collected by the duo of Shearer-Blumenthal via State Department. So it is plausible that none, or very little of the dirt on Trump published in the dossier belongs to Steele. He might simply be used for the legitimization purpose of already collected by somebody else dirt; I read somewhere that he produced the “initial” dossier memo used for FISA court in record short period; something like three days). The story with prostitutes urinating on the bed in a Moscow hotel really smells with Blumenthal. It’s his methods of dealing with Hillary political opponents. BTW he is the author of “birth certificate hypothesis” and “birther movement” (of which Trump became a part much later, after Obama victory) and due to this was rejected by Ralph Emmanuel when Hillary tried to get him into Obama WH ( )
    Mike Whitney asked several important in this content questions ( ):

    But now the plan has backfired and the investigations are gaining pace. Trump’s allies in the House smell the blood in the water and they want answers. Did the CIA surveil members of the Trump campaign on the basis of information they gathered in the dossier? Who saw the information? Was the information passed along to members of the press and other government agencies? Was the White House involved? What role did Obama play? What about the Intelligence Community Assessment? Was it based on the contents of the Steele report? Will the “hand-picked” analysts who worked on the report vouch for its conclusions in or were they coached about what to write? How did Brennan persuade the reluctant Comey into opening a counterintelligence investigation on members in the Trump campaign when he knew it would be perceived as a partisan attempt to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge?

    I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing.

  26. And IIRC Scott Ritter ripped that report a new one as being totally speculative and without an ounce of fact behind it.
    After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry
    Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
    Throwing a Curveball at ‘Intelligence Community Consensus’ on Russia
    Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case
    The idea that these “selected” analysts really understand “Russian thinking” and “Russian interests” is highly questionable. The bottom line remains that Russia had ZERO POSSIBILITY of actually influencing the election in favor of Trump at any point up the night of the election itself.
    And the Russians would know that. And they also know that despite the US’ more extensive efforts to influence Russian elections that the US has no chance of influencing the upcoming election. Which means they understand this fact better than you do.

  27. It’s an interesting theory, but it pales in probability to the likelihood that Russiagate is actually a disinformation operation run by the CIA.
    It also fails to take into account the inevitable hiking of US hostility to Russia which Putin has shown zero evidence of wanting to have happen and which would be the obvious result of such a plan. Which as I say is precisely why he wouldn’t do it because it is in no way in Russia’s interests, whether they got caught or not.
    This is far more logical than the ICA and TTG’s notions that Russia’s interests would be served by trying to do the impossible and actually mess with a US election.
    And of course, there have been NO “solid clues” to any of this – just innuendo and unsupported assertions by a pack of liars including Clapper, Brennan, and others.

  28. Dabbler says:

    One possible problem with the idea that the Russians proceeded in the hope that they would be discovered is that it would have no value if Hillary were to have won, which she almost did.

  29. likbez says:

    Typo: Raid should Reid. Spellchecker effect 😉

  30. Fred says:

    That was the Senate investigation of an actual crime where 5 men were arrested inside the DNC offices and the subsequent cover up. What were the initial arrests that started the investigation? What crime is “collusion” and what crime is “meeting with Russians”?

  31. kooshy says:

    That I agree, and that is the general intention.

  32. Just to better position the discussion.
    Exactly how large was Trump’s margin of winning?
    Some 60,000 total in 3 states?
    What was the dominant characteristic of Hillary’s loss?
    Lackluster turnout by Democrats that did vote for Obama but not for Hillary.

  33. Duck1 says:

    Sort of a Catiline conspiracy where Cicero was wrong footed in the modern Rome, eh?

  34. Ingolf Eide says:

    I’m only concerned here with the last four paragraphs, those attempting to buttress the contention that Russia interfered in the election.
    What strikes me is the circularity of the arguments. They all, to varying degrees, rely on the credibility of Brennan et al: “some kind of . . . operation that detailed Putin’s direct involvement”; “This intelligence also captured Putin’s instructions . . . “; alleged intelligence from Estonia; the Dutch “revelations”; and Papadopoulos’ “ramblings”. For the most part, these are either assertions by parties who have forfeited the right to any presumption of disinterested analysis, or apparently independent “sources” that might as easily be anything but. There still isn’t any there there.
    I accept that doesn’t of itself mean it’s all lies. Still, it seems a mighty shaky foundation on which to build an argument.

  35. Peter AU says:

    In looking at the ‘Russia done it syndrome. Looking at both PT and TTG’s arguments, I keep coming back to the thought that it is not Russia, or for that matter any other adversary that has done something out of the ordinary.
    It is the US that has done something out of the ordinary. But then again, McCarthyism may be an occurrence that happens every few decades for the US, and if so, then it is not out of the norm for the US.

  36. SR Wood says:

    I agree with TTG that we need to wait for the Mueller investigation to run its course and see what he comes up with. As for Publius Tacitus and other deep state conspiracy theorists on the appropriateness of Mueller’s investigations, I will paraphrase Shakespeare, “me thinks they doth protest too much”.

  37. Bsox327 says:

    Whether the Russians or any other Government tried to influence elections AND WHETHER the U.S intel community is trying to orchestrate a soft coup on U.S President Donald Trump are two very different things.
    THE INTEL COMMUNITY DID A GOOD JOB OF SETTING UP THE PRETEXT (cover story for their soft coup) that was to be used (mainly that RUSSIA HAD BEEN OBSERVED TRYING TO INFLUENCE A U.S ELECTION) as the reason to keep attacking President Trump to impede any attempt at rapprochement with Putin and the Russian gov’t.
    56% of “Russian-linked Facebook ads” appeared *after* the election. 25% were seen by no one.
    The Intel community then continued adding to that evidence with the now infamous white house evidence free assessment on Russian meddling.
    Virtually all skepticism about the evidence-free “assessment” was banned. For months, the Times and other newspapers of record repeated the lie that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had concurred in the conclusion about the Russian “hack.”
    The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.
    Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.
    #releasethememo also backfired when Twitter responded to congress.
    “Twitter, meanwhile, offered a more lengthy reply, stressing that its “initial inquiry, based on available data, has not identified any significant activity connected to Russia with respect to tweets posting original content to this hashtag.” It also pointed to the fact that #ReleaseTheMemo had been spread by “several prominent, verified U.S. accounts”

  38. Anna says:

    Naming a big fraction of SST’ readers paranoid only because you like TTG interpretation better? Some manners.

  39. blowback says:

    “In addition to this intelligence, the IC had at that time intelligence from Estonia (and maybe others) about Page’s June trip to Moscow,…”
    He visited Moscow in July 2016 and information about his visit was openly and publicly available at that time. This is why the Steele Dossier claim that he met with Igor Sechin according to someone described as “close” to Sechin damages the Steele dossier as Page denies meeting with Sechin on that visit and there is no other evidence that he did so which suggests that Steele made up the alleged meeting with Igor Sechin.
    Papadopoulos – if Trump was already Putin’s “bitch” there would be established secure links between Putin and Trump. Why tout the anti-Clinton information through a dodgy Maltese professor of international relations and a wannabe on the periphery of the Trump Campaign – why not e-mail it direct to some one on the campaign, after all I doubt the SVR is short of funds and expected to be paid for the information. If the Russians really had hacked the DNC and Podesta e-mails why not send them to Wikileaks to have them made public? Why go anywhere near the Trump campaign?
    Dutch intelligence – they’re still suffering the effects of the famine in 1944/5.

  40. Anna says:

    What would be your understanding of CrowdStrike instant discovery (in 10 sec) of Russian hacking? You do know that Dm. Alperovitch’ father is a CIA asset and that Dm. Aperovitch is an “expert” at the aggressively Russophobic Atlantic Council. Wouldn’t you prefer that the whole Russian hacking affair was re-investigated? Moreover, the Awan affair is an important tangential to the (alleged) Russian hacking affair.
    Your point is that Russians meddled in the US politics. What if the meddling had a miniscule effect that is easy to find, whereas the anti-constitutional activities of the US high-order officials constitute the real danger to the republic?

  41. TTG,
    Took my washing machine in to be repaired yesterday. Off course I’d had a go at it first. Stripped it down, looked with puzzlement at an inscrutable printed circuit board (What happened to those timer controls you could fiddle around with?), went on a few forums on the internet, cursed, put the whole lot together again and took it in to the local repair shop.
    I shan’t forget the benevolent contempt with which the owner listened to my analysis of the fault. He heard me out patiently, fetched the machine into his workshop, and came up with a quite different (and correct) analysis and cure.
    End of my career as a we never fail home repairman. I don’t intend to waste your time either by pretending I’ve got any insight into the workings of this imbroglio you’re examining. But with that washing machine there was at least one fact that was for both of us, for me and for the specialist, common ground. The damn thing wasn’t working.
    Your imbroglio is a little more complex. As far as I can see you’ve got the routine probing and interfering that one assumes all Intelligence agencies get up to against each other or against each other’s countries. You’ve got a suspicion that your President or his team were somehow influenced or compromised. You’ve got a smear campaign possibly set in motion by some Walter Mitty type that your lot have, to the chagrin of some of us in the UK, somehow borrowed from us. On that last you have, in previous articles and comments, expressed your contempt.
    There are all those elements mixed up together and in a more difficult context – little of the relevant information is released and what is is open to various interpretations. It’s as if my friendly neighbourhood appliance specialist were only permitted to see a few bits of the machine he was examining and that in a dim light. And whereas it was possible for me to cart the thing home, connect it up, and get a triumphal confirmation that the specialist was right, you and your fellow specialists on SST are never, I think, going to come up with such indisputable proof; even though the Americans have a better record of openness than we have, and seem to take public accountability more seriously, all the information you want in order to get proof past doubt is never going to be fully available.
    Which leaves one thing, and as far as I can see one thing only, that is agreed common ground between the specialist and the uninformed bystander. After Trump was elected the UK government publicly put its weight behind a smear campaign against the President.
    It didn’t have to. Whatever was going on in the background the salacious elements of that campaign could easily have been disavowed. As you say in your article the various elements are all entangled, but this element could have been disentangled. For the sake of diplomatic propriety, if nothing else, the UK government could have made it clear that those elements were unverified, that Steele’s work was not officially supported or approved of in the UK, and that it was nothing to do with the UK.
    If they’d been truly worried that Trump was compromised, or that there was some other intelligence problem, the UK authorities could have worked away at that just as well whether Steele was disavowed as not. There was no need to go up publicly against the new Administration. But they did.
    David Habakkuk has given us some incisive articles and comments showing the attitudes of at least some elements within the UK Intelligence community – Russophobic to the point of paranoia, solidly behind what we have learned to call the neo-con Weltanschauung. One can see how that might lead to a no holds barred enmity to the new President. One can even accept that there are many officials in the US who share those attitudes. Many in Europe and the States also share those attitudes and have an automatic contempt for Trump and his supporters. One can understand all that. It’s the context in which it’s all happening and has happened. But whatever the context there is as yet no explanation for why the UK authorities went all in for that smear campaign against Trump after the election.
    That’s the one fact that can’t be ignored, that cannot be interpreted this way or that, just as it was not possible to ignore that fact that my machine had failed. It’s just an undisputed fact. It leads to the obvious questions. Who in the UK gave approval? Would they have dared to give approval to a PR attack on the new American Administration without at least some approval or support from within the US itself?
    I hope you might be able to factor in those questions as you continue your painstaking examination. Seems to me – and I’m not trying to come into the workshop with you and pretend I can be of any help – that those are questions that should be being asked both sides of the Atlantic.

  42. Anna says:

    “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.”
    Thank you for addressing this laughable “assessment.” What was Clinton’s definition of Putin? – Hitler?
    Where to start… Putin is from a family of survivors of the Blockade of Leningrad (St Petersburg, Russia), where at least 1 million people died of starvation or were frozen to death during the WWII.
    Was not Mrs. Clinton in charge of certain Mrs. Nuland-Kagan that went into tight and profitable collaboration with Ukrainian neo-Nazis in Kiev, in 2014? How about insulting the memory of WWII soldiers and victims?
    Poor extra-sensitive bureaucrats at the CIA and FBI, who wrote this outstanding kindergarten-level assessment: “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.”
    So the US electorate was directed by the “thug” and “Hitler” Putin and not by “we came, we saw, he died…” coming from the supposedly virtuous Mrs. Clinton? What about the amazing story of Uranium One? The $145 millions in gesheft for the Clinton Foundation is not such a bad outcome for Clintons:

  43. Anna says:

    Was not Brennan coming incognito to Kiev on the eve of military actions against the civilian population of Easter Ukraine, by the US-installed regime (see Nuland-Kagan’s activities in Kiev) in 2014? Brennan is a war criminal who instigated the ongoing civil war in Ukraine.

  44. kooshy says:

    I wonder, those who continue to spread that Russians, or a foreign power successfully hacked and determined the outcome of 2016 election ever think how confident real American voters will be when it comes to next election? And if their votes count anymore?
    If anybody anymore cares if campaign/exercise can or will causes a breakdown in the voter’s confidence, (IMO already has) and a less desire by voters to participate (already low) in an election that believe is cooked or hacked. Could this be what the outcome the establishment and both dominant party wants? IMO it is, they really would rather us the independent undecided to stay home and don’t participate, that makes a much easier and less “EXPENSIVE” campaigns. After all most of the party’s money is spend on swing voters.

  45. Tyler says:

    Your TDS really has affected your ability to reason.

  46. GeneO says:

    Sorry Anna! A bad turn of phrase. I was not speaking of you or the big fraction you mention.
    I do like TTG’s analysis. It is neither pro-Clinton nor anti-Trump, it is apolitical. It is not based on an ideology, like some of the comments of his detractors. He does not claim collusion, which many seem to read between his lines and claim to see.

  47. Richardstevenhack,
    Reference your comments at #29 and #30
    You, the writers you cite and many others are making a mistake in assuming that the IC and the Mueller investigation are releasing all the information they have on this issue, that there cannot be classified intelligence being held back. There were two ICAs as was explained in the publicly released ICA. I suspect that anyone who has read the classified ICA is not commenting on SST or any other site if they value keeping their clearances. Do you believe there was an OPM hack? No proof has been released that it occurred. I have never detailed exactly what I know the Russians are capable of in this field or have done prior to this election interference campaign. But that knowledge shapes my thinking on this issue.
    Your idea that electorates are immune to influence is silly. That is the whole purpose of political campaigns, to influence voters, to energize ones own voters and suppress the opposition’s voters. Electorates are very much susceptible to influence. The argument that the Russians would never attempt to influence our electorate because electorates cannot be influenced is both laughable and desperate.

  48. Anna says:

    Cohen: “the political epicenter of the new Cold War is in Ukraine, on Russia’s borders, not in faraway Berlin; today’s Kremlin leader has been demonized in ways that Soviet Communist leaders were not; and, also unlike during the long Cold War, there are virtually no anti–Cold War political forces in the bipartisan establishment … the Russiagate allegations … hinder Trump’s every attempt to diminish existential dangers of the new Cold War by negotiating with Putin, and indeed denounce those initiatives as seditious.”
    Whereas TTG depicts a mighty and complicated Russian handiwork directed towards destroying American democracy, a simpler explanation is the war for resources, both internal (money for MIC) and external (corporations’ striving for mineral resources of other countries plus Israel’s aspirations). The US cooperation with ISIS in the Middle East and with neo-Nazi in Ukraine does not leave much space for moral posturing.
    A link to ponder the Russiagate:

  49. Fred,
    Reference your comment at #33 about “what crime is collusion and what crime is meeting with Russians?”
    While collusion is not a crime, the criminal equivalent is conspiracy. Possible charges include:
    conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
    conspiracy against the United States
    conspiracy to launder money and failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts
    conspiracy to defraud the United States by coordinating with Russia
    Then there is the old bugaboo of obstruction of justice. This could also become a RICO case. And if the Trump campaign really did accept Russian assistance, there’s possible violations of election laws. You know how Federal prosecutors like to pile on the charges. Of course Trump and associates could still come out of this totally clean.
    Meeting with Russians is certainly not a crime. Nor is doing business with Russians. I never understood why Trump and those around him kept denying they had any dealings with Russians or simple meetings when they obviously did. That just looked like they were trying to hide something and opened them up to being caught lying to law enforcement. For someone who claimed he could shoot someone dead in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose his supporters, I can’t see why Trump would deny his legitimate, albeit possibly shady at times, Russian dealings.

  50. Sid Finster says:

    Why would Putin choose a sockpuppet with as much obvious, public baggage as Trump? The man has so many public scandals as to be unblackmailable.
    Instead, you’d choose a candidate who looks too good to be true.
    Moreover, a Russian puppetmaster with even minimal intelligence would not let his puppet call for peace and better relations with Russia while on the campaign trail.
    Why give ammunition to the conspiracy theorists? Instead, he’d offer standard-issue neocon tough guy chickenhawk talk.

  51. iowa steve says:

    And rather than ponder the real reasons Hillary lost the votes of lifelong democrats in the upper Midwest, Russiagate has handed the dem establishment the lifeline of being able to blame the election results on the Russians.
    The value of that lifeline is short-term. In the long-run, as the public loses interest in Russiagate and little evidence of “collusion” is produced, and failing to offer any policy proposals other than more Clintonism, the dems will continue to lose elections.
    On a related note, some dems are now claiming that Russiabots have infested social media with tweets and posts about the Florida school shooting “in order to sow division”. I’m breathless.

  52. Terry says:

    Cui Bono?
    Hostility towards Russia has been a propaganda push for a long time. I recall how disgusting the British press was with Olympic coverage at Sochi. (The British press pushed anti-german hate for 20 years prior to WW1) Or a chance meeting with a “think tank” guy tied to the New American Century stuff. No reasoning, no honor, no facts. Just hate and power worship.
    We have a number of politically active, elected descendants from former Soviet controlled states now serving as front pieces for the pro-war, and winnable nuclear war crowd playing out old grudges and hatreds imported from Eastern Europe.
    The facts are that the entire Russia did it theme soared across all propaganda channels at once and reached near hysteria levels , that we have a group since the 90’s pushing winnable nuclear war and American domination of the world, that we have been moving anti-missile batteries and military units to Russia’s borders as a part of moving Nato ever eastward.
    It makes it far more likely this was all planned to promote support for a new cold war agenda and as a prelude to a war.

  53. Anna,
    Reference your several comments about Nuland’s five billion dollars over ten years subversion campaign in the Ukraine. I share your outrage over that whole thing. It’s disgusting. We organized and trained right wing nut jobs and outright nazis in the art of street fighting and how to overthrow a government. And Nuland worked directly for Clinton. Putin would have been negligent in not trying to at least weaken a possible Clinton Presidency. Compared to what we did in Ukraine, Putin’s influence operation is as pure as the driven snow. And yet you and many others insist Putin is just that negligent.

  54. F.B.Ali,
    In response to #26.
    As so often, I completely agree with you. A few points may be worth adding in to the debate.
    With regard to the January 2017 ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’, I would recommend to anyone seriously interested in evaluating the evidence a post entitled ‘Fact and Comment’ put up the time by Professor Paul Robinson of Ottawa.
    (See .)
    Its author was a contemporary, at Eton and Oxford, of our embarrassment of a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. But while Johnson went into a London media ‘bubble’, Robinson joined the Army, and spent five years in Army Intelligence. So, having explained how the document looks to a competent intelligence professional, he concludes by remarking that none of what he says proves the claims are false, simply that ‘the assessments are not supported by the information which the report provides.’
    There are however larger issues here, to which remarks made by Ambassador Chas Freeman in his recent speech ‘The United States and China: Game of Superpowers’ are relevant:
    ‘China seeks affirmation by foreigners of its self-image as a virtuous society, but, for the most part, Chinese are indifferent to how we non-Chinese govern ourselves. By contrast, Americans are convinced that only constitutional democracy on the U.S. model can confer legitimacy, that other systems of government are inherently unjust, and that it is therefore appropriate to insist on their reform or overthrow. This difference manifests itself in US-China interaction both internationally and bilaterally.’
    (See .)
    When Paul Robinson returned to academic life, he chose a thesis subject apparently totally irrelevant to the present day – what had become of the defeated White Army in exile. One of the consequences was that acquired a very good understanding of the complexities of the politics of anti-communist Russians.
    As he brought out in a 2004 article which was headlined ‘Putin’s Might is White’ in ‘The Spectator’ – it was then edited by Boris Johnson – some of the leading thinkers of the emigration, such as Ivan Ilyin and Petr Struve, had no principled hostility to ‘constitutional democracy.’
    (See .)
    What they thought was that so many of their educated compatriots, convinced that the Tsarist system was ‘inherently unjust’ had insisted on its ‘reform or overthrow’, without thinking through what were the actual possibilities of the situation, given the legacies of Russian history. And in so doing, they had unleashed a measureless catastrophe:
    ‘Both men [Robinson wrote] understood that the intelligentsia’s obsession with liberating the people was unleashing forces which would eventually destroy all liberty in Russia. Only an authoritarian government, they decided, could protect individual freedoms in the absence of a political culture that accepted basic ideas such as property rights. A society whose people understood legal rights and duties could successfully govern itself. One that did not must be ruled by a powerful individual, who would educate the people in its legal consciousness until such time as it was fit for self-rule.’
    So, ironically, the irrelevant subject that Robinson had chosen turned out very relevant. In the 2004 article, he described Putin as a ‘typical Soviet radish – red on the outside and white at the core.’ As he was pointing out, in the arguments that had been going on beneath the surface as the bankruptcy of Marxist-Leninist ideology became clearly apparent, it was not at all unnatural that, as it were, a ‘grandchild of the Revolution’ could come to see some of its opponents as vindicated, and look to them for guidance.
    Likewise, Putin had come to agree with figures like Struve and Ilyin, and also the religious philosophers Nikolai Struve and Vladimir Solovyov, that the characteristic hostility of the ‘intelligentsia’ to religion, and determination to uproot the traditional beliefs of Russian society, had been a disaster.
    Just as Russians have abandoned a messianic universalism, the West has decided to embrace it: we have become ‘neo-Bolshevik.’ As no lessons whatsoever were learnt from the failure of the ‘liberal’ project in Russia after 1989, the United States and Britain have gone on spreading chaos: witness Irag, Libya, Syria.
    As ‘plantman’ noted, the first of the ‘key judgements’ in the ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ is that:
    ‘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.’
    This is a projection onto Putin of a hostility to the ‘liberal-democratic order’ which is based on a total inability to understand the ideological tradition from which he comes. He is no more hostile to liberalism as such than Struve or Ilyin. His hostility, which has been consistent, is to any kind of messianic universalism which refuses to examine the concrete possibilities of actual situations. And he is right.
    Over the years, I have found it a useful ‘rule of thumb’ that if people involved with ‘covert intelligence’ make claims about other societies whose politics, culture and history they have made no serious attempt to understand, and clearly hold absurd ideological convictions, then it is very unwise to take what they say they know from secret sources on trust.
    A further point about the kind of universalistic projects embraced by the contemporary West is that often – as with the projects once embraced by Marxist-Leninists – one has reason to suspect that the ostensible idealistic agendas veil less savoury ones.
    Moreover, those involved not uncommonly come to believe that, because their virtue is self-evident, they cannot be expected to be bound by any kind of moral scruples. As with the Bolsheviks, the end of the road, by no means always but quite commonly, is rascality pure and simple.
    Among the many people involved in ‘Russiagate’, two seem to merit comment in this regard. As you say, to advance John Brennan as a credible source is ‘to taint the story irredeemably.’ It may be worth supplying some supporting evidence, in particularly because it bears upon another key figure, the former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan.
    Over the past few years, I have spent a good deal of time following up leads which originally arose out of a memorandum sent to Obama on 6 September 2013 by the ‘Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity Group’ entitled ‘Is Syria a Trap?’
    (See .)
    It opened:
    ‘We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this.’
    According to CIA officers working on the issue, the group reported, ‘CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public and perhaps even you.’
    (See .)
    As to Hannigan, he was appointed in 2007 to the newly created post of Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. In March 2010, he moved to the FCO as Director General, Defence and Intelligence, before being appointed to head GCHQ in April 2014. As was made clear on his appointment, he had been a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee ‘for many years.’
    (See .)
    It seemed overwhelming probable that, if the claims in the VIPS memorandum were correct, and British intelligence officials knew that Assad was not to blame, when on 29 August 2013 the JIC provided David Cameron with a document to take to Parliament alleging that his responsibility for Ghouta was a ‘slam dunk’ – although they did not use the phrase – they must have been lying.
    It turned out, as I explained on SST back in April last year, that there was a very strong ‘prima facie case’ that they were in fact lying – in so doing, committing ‘contempt of Parliament’, a very serious offence in the British system. If so, Hannigan must have been involved up to the hilt.
    (See .)
    From the testimony of Glenn Simpson to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, it has also been clear that Semyon Mogilevich and the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’ have been central to the ‘information operations’ against Trump.
    As I have made clear in two posts on SST, and a large number of comments, these were earlier employed in ‘information operations’ which were central to the projects of ‘régime change’ in Ukraine and Russia. These involved, among other things, the use of a mixture of accurate information and pure fabrication to implicate the FSB and Putin in attempting to supply a ‘suitcase nuke’ to Al Qaeda.
    (See ; .)
    When the ‘covert operations’ contests ran out of control, Steele clearly played a major role in orchestrating a cover-up of what was happened by making total bogus accusations against two Russians, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, and also the FSB and Putin, of responsibility for the deliberate murder of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium. Again, it would seem Hannigan must have been involved up to the hilt.
    For reasons I have given in the posts, I think it extremely likely that elements in American intelligence were intimately involved with Steele both in the original ‘régime change’ projects and the cover-up.
    Accordingly, I fully agree that nobody can take claims by Brennan as credible and expect to be regarded as credible himself. And when I discover that a ‘twerp’, formerly employed at GCHQ, whose consultancy turns out never to have traded, has proclaimed that the name and patronymic of Dzerzinky in the metadata of a document implicate the GRU, I do not think the most plausible explanation is that this was a ‘rather shoddy Guccifer 2.0’ improvisation on the part of that organisation.
    It seems to me rather more likely that we are dealing with people who have been impelled to subvert the constitutional order, in part because they have a lot to lose by having an outsider coming in, who might conceivably expose what they have done.

  55. Eric Newhill says:

    Clueless Joe #19
    Just one problem with your theory is that it isn’t the Russians sowing chaos. It’s our own politicians and bureaucrats. Now, you could say that our own politicians and bureaucrats have stupidly played into the Russian plot. However, I think that if that is your response then you’d have to show that “Russiagate” is an anomaly in US politics. However, it isn’t an anomaly. TTG himself has listed out (elsewhere on this thread) a wide range of homegrown multi-year investigations that have achieved chaos and distrust in our polity (e.g. Benghazi, Whitewater, birtherism). Russiagate seem to me to be a continuation of a domestically evolved phenomenon.
    Then there are all the “resistance” and protest groups funded by Soros and internal leftist organizations, all the leftist blogs masquerading as “news” and far right blogs doing the same. Perhaps worse are the mainstream media outlets busy with propagating division, fear and loathing. It was Clinton that paid for the Steele dossier.
    Russian influence, if it exists, seems to me to be a mere drop in an ocean of political polarization.

  56. Murali Penumarth says:

    With all due respect your insights I still find it difficult I could believe Brennan who lied to the Congress about surveyliance programs to spy on Americans which the dutifully elected members of the congress bought it whole heartedly only to be negated by the revelations of Snowden. By the way our great patriotic Congress never called Brennan on the carpet on this issue, not even a slap on the wrist.
    Now the ICA was not an interdepartmental memo but a memo produced by hand picked intelligence operatives who might have an axe to grind regarding Russia/Trump, is not a reliable document in my opinion.
    When you have weaponized intelligence, FBI, DOJ we have serious problems in this republic. I hope we can get to the bottom of this to cleanse this body politic be it Obama or Trump.

  57. Mark Logan says:

    TTG, Clueless Joe,
    Re: Russian motivation
    Not trying to be argumentative with this, merely proposing and alternate theory. I hold the one presented as quite plausible.
    My own theory is the Russians had two agendas, the base running op of presenting themselves as a liberal bastion, following the old Soviet pattern of cultivating “useful idiots”, only now they mostly sought to gain industrial secrets and Eric Snowdens.
    The more recent agenda was, in my own WAG: “Anybody but Hillary”. Her behavior during the Ukraine civil war, fostering revolution, Newland, McFarland, et al? Putin had good reasons to not want eight years of that idiocy. He also appeared to support Bernie early on.
    These two running agendas, a sense of being able to influence US public opinion and a very strong desire to have Hillary as anything other than POTUS, resulted in a rash actions which I strongly suspect Putin regrets. He sought better relations with the West, not worse, and having his nose caught in the monkey house that is US politics seems to be panning out as highly counterproductive. Russophobia now prevails, and the few voices of reason are being drowned.
    On the other hand, Putin may not regret it due to the tactical necessity of keeping the US from doing something stupid in Syria. Perhaps this is a “speculation too far” , so I am done.

  58. Anna says:

    “And yet you and many others insist Putin is just that negligent.” — I do not understand what this phrase means. Mine point is (following the informed reports of the well-known experts like the honorable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) that Russiagate is Intelgate. Whatever the scope of Russian influences (is it greater than Israel’s, the UK’s, and Ukrainian influences?) it fades next to is the effect of incompetence and, most important, the brazen anti-constitutional activities of the CIA, DOJ, and the FBI, which bosses have decided to take sides and to meddle very pro-actively into political process in the US.
    Like many others, I cannot wait to see the result of a reinvestigation of the DNC server scandal, as well as the results of investigation of Awan affair.
    As for a collusion with foreign powers, who can rival Bushes and Clintons, whether in their dealings with Saudis or with Russians? Don’t’ remember any fuss about Clinton’s collusion with Russians when Bill was grabbing $500.000 from for a single speech in Moscow and Clinton Foundations was accepting $145.000.000 in donations after the Uranium One deal. In my humble opinion, the deal was directly related to the national security.

  59. In response to ~57.
    Apologies for bad proofreading. I wrote ‘Nikolai Struve’, when I meant ‘Nikolai Berdyaev.’ The work that Putin recommended to regional governors in 2014, which is – misleadingly – entitled ‘The Philosophy of Inequality’, represents Berdyaev’s most grief-stricken, and unequivocally hostile, response to the Revolution. (When it was published in Berlin in 1923, Berdyaev made it clear he thought the work unbalanced.)
    Likewise, I wrote ‘Dzerzinsky’, rather than ‘Dzherzinsky.’

  60. Dr. Puck says:

    Of all the posts on SST dealing with the election, Russians, Trump and HRC, this one captures the spirit–as I read it–of 9/11 trutherism. How so? It sketches a narrative of a perfect crime.
    As any worthy conspiracy narrative should have it: ‘all the essential details and cast of characters are well-known by a small cognitively adept group of ‘independent researchers’ and truth-tellers. The only thing left is for one of the ‘boring’ alternative narratives to rule the day. This result itself demonstrates the depth of and dastardly nature of the conspiracy. The perfection inheres to the built in infinitesimal odds that this ends with Brennan et al on the hook.
    Still, Ockham’s razor; plus, the mention of Blumenthal provides a nice dash!

  61. Dr. Puck says:

    13 Russians charged by Robert Mueller over US 2016 election tampering
    No connection to Trump’s campaign in indictment. No reason this is necessarily the last such indictment.

  62. Fred says:

    You left out a key part of the article:
    “They are accused of spreading derogatory information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, denigrating Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — and supporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders ….”
    A disgruntled Bernie supporter attempted to assasinate Steve Scalise and many other members of Congress. I hope they can connect those dots.
    Reading the indictment really helps determine just what “derogatory information” is actually illegal.
    “in order to avoid detection Defendants and their co-conspirators deleted and destroyed data, including emails….”
    That sure sounds familiar. How’s Huma Abedin doing now-a-days, haven’t heard much from her. Wonder if she has a sore throat from singing like a canary yet. Can’t wait for the other foreign agencies to be investigated. See my last commen to TTG above.

  63. FB Ali says:

    David, I am glad you agree with my position (Comment #56). Especially pertinent is your comment: “… we are dealing with people who have been impelled to subvert the constitutional order…”.
    It is obvious to any objective and unbiased observer that both the US and British intelligence organizations have, for some time, been operating outside their charters (in the vernacular, it could be said they’d ‘gone rogue’).
    Instead of working against hostile foreign countries, they have been targetting their own government agencies and individuals. (Because some persons in their top echelons became convinced that hostile foreigners had penetrated these ruling structures).
    Nothing can weaken a country as much as such beliefs and actions. Opponents of the West must be amazed at their good fortune, while its friends can only look on in amazement and chagrin as the West’s intelligence apparatus tears itself apart.
    Good soldier that he is, TTG can’t imagine that this debacle is self-inflicted, and wasn’t deliberately caused by hostile quarters.

  64. Eric Newhill says:

    Dr Puck,
    Great news! So now we can indict all those Mexican nationals (illegals, DACAs) for saying bad stuff about Trump and trying to influence US politics and elections. Can’t wait….or is it that Mueller is getting desperate. Something about grand juries and ham sandwiches seems relevant here.

  65. shepherd says:

    Charges by Mueller. Well, well, well. The charges describe an organization similar in size and function to one I concluded must exist according to an analysis of meme generation I did for a client about two years ago. This was before the election and related to immigration issues in Europe. I’ve described the techniques outlined by the indictment several times here, including the whole fake personas thing, so I won’t rehash them.
    So what’s next. The Russians have planned for this a long time. Within 24 hours, I’d guess you will see unprecedented bot activity (these are automatically placed comments in threads on stories). I just noticed that within minutes of the appearance of a stub on Yahoo, there were 60K comments. My guess is that there is already a body of well developed arguments and memes designed to discredit Mueller, defend Trump, and point to a conspiracy against Russia. Within 24 hours, these arguments will be fed to unwitting people across the Internet. They will fill news stories and opinion pieces on outlets ranging from Southfront to Breitbart and eventually make their way to the evening portion of Fox News. The goal will be to undermine faith in Mueller and continue to divide American civil society. The entire campaign was planned long ago and will move swiftly to counter today’s headlines. At least for some people.

  66. Murali Penumarth says:

    Eric Newhill, you must be one of those deplorables to dishonour the dreamers and other undocumented workers without whose contributions our economy will come to a halt according to the MSM , Dems and Rino’s. Too bad you are still stuck in that backward thinking mode, I truly feel sorry for you and at times for myself for entertaining such thoughts.

  67. Your entire comment depends on “trust us, we know things you don’t.”
    Never mind that those things defy reason or that they are coming from people with zero intellectual integrity and a history of lying to the US public.
    The “trust us” ship has sailed and it ain’t coming back to port.
    Your hand waving about electorates being susceptible to influence is what is completely laughable and desperate. Of course they are – by forces within their own nations. But national electorates the size of the US are not susceptible to influence by much smaller nations or by tactics like hacking voting registration offices or spreading Pokemon.
    The Russian electorate knows that the US can’t influence its elections except by spending massive amounts of money to NGOs or sending CIA agents in to post to Facebook accounts which are then blamed on the Russians. As I said, they understand this better than you do.
    At the end of the day, there has been ZERO non-circumstantial, non-spoofable evidence provided that Russia either hacked the DNC or that it engaged in any significant “propaganda” efforts which had any effect on the US election or had any actual intention of doing so. ZERO.

  68. Anna says:

    “.. it is apolitical.”
    It is not.
    “He does not claim collusion”
    — He claims a decisive Russian “meddling” into the US elections, while whitewashing (intentionally or not) the anti-Constitutional malfeasances of the CIA, FBI, and DOJ “deciders.”

  69. Thanks for the link to “Fact and Comment” by Professor Paul Robinson. That was a good read, similar to Scott Ritter’s take down.
    This is the difference between TTG and me. He reads “we assess” as stating truth. I read it as “we guess”. Based on the Iraq war intelligence, my reading is probably more correct.
    The only exception to this is the 2007 NIE on Iran which seems to have avoided at least some partisanship as a result of having royally screwed the pooch on Iraq (although the alleged DIA assessment, that Iran never had more than a “feasibility study” on nukes and that only because Iran was afraid Saddam had a program, never made it into the NIE.)

  70. Anna says:

    “The goal will be to undermine faith in Mueller and continue to divide American civil society.”
    Please tell us more about Mueller’s impeccable credentials:
    Are you sure that the politicized DOJ, CIA, and FBI have nothing to do with the ongoing scandal? How about the national debt ($20 trillions), the scandalous state of national healthcare system, the ruinous illegal wars and interventions abroad, the irritation with the Wall Street malfeasances? Add to that the special influence of Israel-firsters. Still believing that if not the “undermining” Russians, the US would be a harmonious, prosperous society?

  71. Valissa says:

    “My guess is that there is already a body of well developed arguments and memes designed to discredit Mueller, defend Trump, and point to a conspiracy against Russia. ”
    Shepherd… yes, that’s what “the political opposition” to Russiagate does and has been doing for some time. That is what the various conservative blogs and news sites are already doing and will continue to do. Conservative Tree House, for example, as they are often referenced here, has been saying just those sorts of things for some time. How will anything the Russians might add on this theme even be noticed in particular.
    If Russians are buying ads that promote one party in the US over another, or one policy point over another, how would any person distinguish those from the gazillions of political ads for one thing or another they already see. Or if they are sending paid commenters, that’s also means nothing. I first noticed paid commenters in the numerous political blogs I followed during the 2008 election. I would see identical comments sprinkled over numerous blogs in a short period of time clearly attempting to influence readers. Both parties were doing it and I think individual election campaigns as well.
    That’s one of several reasons I think this whole “Russia influenced the election” meme is full of shit. OK, so Russia did it’s normal spying and hacking as all major powers do, and attempted to fuck with the US political system as multiple other countries and orgs have no doubt tried to do. So what that they were buying political ads and also sending paid commenters to try and influence thinking. That’s the name of the game and it’s already being done to a much greater extant by existing US factions.
    Please note, I’m not saying that Russia did not try to influence the US election in any way. What I’m saying is, there’s already plenty of polarization and incivility and power games going on regardless of other country’s attempts to influence the US. As it is, US political campaigns and their propaganda/public relations companies have a hard enough time figuring out how to influence voters when they scatter their wares around the internet.
    The most profound influence the Russians seem to have had is turning the Democratic party into the bigger pro-intelligence/spying and pro-war party. They have very cleverly made the US political system look like it’s falling apart and run by the Keystone Cops… oops, it already was doing that. Maybe their goal is to get the US to overspend on our military budget to in the long run weaken US financial power? I can see China liking that plan.

  72. Anna says:

    Russians will “…continue to divide American civil society.”
    In case you missed this: ” During the last 17 years, real average weekly earnings of the core work force — men 25 years and over—have not increased by a single dime (they’re actually down from $407 to $406 per week in constant 1982 dollars). Even as the Fed’s balance sheet has soared by 10X and the value of household financial assets has nearly tripled since the year 1997, therefore, worker paychecks have been dead in the water.”

  73. 1) It’s Edward Snowden, not “Eric.” – Precision Nazi
    2) Putin undoubtedly didn’t like Clinton. But that’s a far cry from suggesting that he “had to” run some sort of completely hopeless operation to get Trump elected, when absolutely no one except a few rebels in the media had any idea that Trump could actually win.
    While Trump announced his candidacy back in 2015, absolutely no one took it seriously. We are to assume that Putin immediately ordered the GRU to hack the DNC – to do what, exactly? Find emails that incriminate the DNC in backing Clinton over Sanders? Before that actually happened?
    Which puts the theory into the improbable category.
    Not to mention that even if you buy all this, there are three problems:
    1) Wikileaks and Assange and Craig Murray, who have no reason to lie about it, have directly refuted the notion that Russia gave Wikileaks the DNC emails. Wikileaks does not care who gives them data as long as its valid data. They have zero reason to not admit they got it from Russia if they did. The only people who care about “Wikileaks colluding with Russia” are Wikileaks’ critics.
    2) There is ZERO evidence that the DNC emails were exfiltrated from the DNC and given to Russians of any stripe (unless you count “Guccifer 2.0” which has problems of its own.) CrowdStrike never established any exfiltration of emails.
    3) Sy Hersh has explicitly fingered murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich as the leaker (or one of them).
    Am I supposed to believe Clapper, Brennan, Morell, et all – a cabal of liars – over the three gentlemen just cited who are not known to be liars?
    Also just found two articles (one of which I didn’t know I already had) which make for interesting reading on the alleged DNC hack:
    Email Dates in the Wikileaks DNC Archive
    Dumbstruck – How CrowdStrike Conned America on the Hack of the DNC
    by Scott Ritter

  74. Anna says:

    How would you asses the cognitive level of the authors of the latest indicment? What about the mental state of Mr. Rosenstein? — “US indicts 13 Russians for 2016 election meddling, but ‘no allegations’ they influenced outcome.”
    “Moscow has repeatedly refuted the claims of alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin also ridiculed such claims, suggesting that the US was “not a banana republic” to be treated that way.” — Sigh.

  75. Mueller has indicted the Internet Research Agency.
    These are the guys the Russians arrested as…wait for it…CIA spies!
    A Brief History of the “Kremlin Trolls”
    Everything what we know now about the so-called “Kremlin trolls from the Internet Research Agency paid by Putin’s favorite chef,” came from one source, a group of CIA spies that used the mascot of Shaltay-Boltay, or Humpty-Dumpty, for their collective online persona.
    They were arrested in November 2016 and revealed as the FSB and former FSB officers
    End Quote
    Read Scott Humor’s piece – he goes into some detail about who these people really were: anti-Russian Russians who created fake accounts and posted troll comments.

  76. sheperd,
    Reference your comment at #70
    You work in the field of media influence and understand what is going on. I appreciate that understanding. It is clearly a hard thing to explain concisely. As you know, I was thinking about writing a post on that a while back. Trying to summarize it clearly is beyond me. I’m having enough trouble trying to understand the whole process myself. I’ve found the work of Jonathan Albright to be helpful. He’s a professor and researcher of journalism and news who has published a lot of his research at There is no one article that summarizes the entire phenomenon, but reading the full body of his work lays it out pretty well. Here’s a blurb from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism where he’s based.
    “Jonathan Albright is the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Previously an assistant professor of media analytics in the school of communication at Elon University, Dr. Albright’s work focuses on the analysis of socially-mediated news events, misinformation/propaganda, and trending topics, applying a mixed-methods, investigative data-driven storytelling approach.”
    When Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders” came out, there was a mighty popular uproar against the idea that peoples behavior could be unwittingly modified through the techniques of advertising. I feel the present use of modern media technology and techniques is just a logical development of Packard’s ideas. Most people are clueless about this.

  77. shepherd says:

    Anna, (your comment at 77)
    The real number of years the average wage of the core work force has not risen is 40, not 17. It’s more than a generation. I’m deeply concerned about this. A more troubling statistic to my mind is that while the median household income in the US is around 60K, if you take the bottom 60%, the median household income is only 33K. The latest tax cut will only reinforce this. I think this makes us much more vulnerable to Russian influence rather than otherwise.

  78. Eric Newhill says:

    Whatever marker they set on my final resting place must read, “He was a “Here lies a die hard primitive.Proudly deplorable unto his last breath”

  79. Anna says:

    Judging from the most recent indictment of the alleged 13 Russian trolls, the Mueller’s investigations are only able to produce legalistic diarrhea:

  80. GeneO says:

    Anna –
    It is!
    TTG never claimed any such thing. Please reread his post.

  81. Dr.puck says:

    And this escaped Mueller?
    Luckily it is so first order that it will no doubt lead to a revision of the indictment. Maybe Mueller should interview Mr. Humor.

  82. NancyK says:

    Who are we to believe Mueller or Hannity on Fox news or Breitbart. I fear many Americans believe the latter. A sad day when some Americans feel Putin has more credibility than the FBI.

  83. turcopolier says:

    government should be trusted? The framers of the constitution did not think so. pl

  84. Barbara Ann says:

    Come on TTG, shooting someone dead in the middle of Fifth Avenue is one thing, dealing with Russians – in the New McCarthy Era – is quite another.

  85. Barbara Ann says:

    David Habakkuk
    Re the ‘twerp’ formerly of GCHQ (Matt Tait): I did a little digging and found his BEng final year project from Imperial College, if you are interested. His was the only one listed among the ‘Distinguished Projects’ not to have a link (GCHQ protocol to scrub it perhaps?) but fortunately the URL pattern is initial.surname and it is still on the server. Whatever else he is, he isn’t stupid. With ‘low-level’ coding knowledge like this I can see why GCHQ was interested. A guy with these talents contributing to Lawfare and running a course at Texas Law seem less than obvious career moves, to say the least.

  86. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Very solid work, amazing that is the work of a single person.

  87. Anna says:

    “…while the median household income in the US is around 60K, if you take the bottom 60%, the median household income is only 33K. The latest tax cut will only reinforce this. I think this makes us much more vulnerable to Russian influence rather than otherwise.”
    Do you seriously believe that the electorate in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania has been mighty influenced by “Russian meddling” on Facebook and by BlackLivesMatter marches in NYC and not by the unfairness of the wealth distribution in the US? Or you think that Mrs. Clinton’s many charms would have certainly prevailed over the (supposedly) anti-war Trump if not the “Russian meddling?” It is not hard to imagine that the US healthcare system scandal, the triumph of Wall Street, and the disfigured soldiers coming back home to their “deplorable” parents from the never-heard places thousands miles away could be the reason for the votes against Clinton. There are two major problems that the US faces today: The lack of mechanisms for influencing the government (see and the related problem of politicized national security apparatus, which is unconstitutional (by the way, James Comey and Robert Mueller have ran the FBI for the past 16 years). Moreover, what has been a level of trust in the US Congress BEFORE the last elections that were supposedly screwed by “Russian meddling?” Here are the data:

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