“No Smoking Gun on Russia Hack” Giraldi

James Clapper Clown

"The eagerly awaited report on the alleged Russian influence operation and hack linked to the recent American presidential election finally appeared on Friday. It is quite possible that President Obama, the intelligence community, and Congress now hope that the case has been definitively made to tighten the screws on Russia. If that is so, they are delusional. Moscow and Vladimir Putin may or may not be guilty as charged, but the paucity of the evidence being presented by the White House and the Director of National Intelligence suggests that the American people are being very poorly served by those who have been entrusted with protecting the nation.

The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was entitled “Background to ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections’: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution.” It followed the short “Joint Analysis Report” that appeared on December 29, produced by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI. The earlier paper was entitled “Grizzly Steppe—Russian Malicious Cyber Activity” but, apart from assertions of suspected Russian activity connected to an unnamed political party, it provided absolutely no evidence that the alleged intrusions into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers and John Podesta emails were anything beyond probing for vulnerabilities to collect information, and carried out by unknown parties. In fact, it didn’t even provide the evidence for that and was instead largely a primer on how to avoid being hacked."  Giraldi


There is a refreshing amount of skepticism concerning the unclassified Clapper Report.  Good.  pl 


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52 Responses to “No Smoking Gun on Russia Hack” Giraldi

  1. Vic says:

    Americans by far and large do not choose to review the arguments behind mathematical proofs, nor do many review the results of physics experiments to see if they refute or validate various theories, nor do they ponder the different arguments between schools of philosophical thought. Most other realms of logic and argumentation are also not of public interest.
    There is however one area where that is the case; law and criminal investigation. Citizens get to sit on juries and daily they are bombarded by cable TV with police procedurals and news and drama over criminal cases argued in court.
    This sets the expectations for the John Q public when it comes to using intelligence in the court of public opinion. These expectations are unrealistic and can seldom be met.
    First, intelligence can seldom “prove” something beyond a reasonable doubt. At best, intelligence conclusions are based on weight or preponderance of evidence, at worse it is a subjective best guess from multiple possible explanations.
    Intelligence evidence is almost always very incomplete and a portion of it will be incorrect or out right deception. If you want to cherry pick evidence, you can often manipulate it to say anything you want. It may be biased by the collector. If a collection agency was tasked to “look for X” it is very likely that they will report evidence of “X” (you need to also ask for evidence of “not X”).
    Second, remember that the evidence can never be made public for fear of compromising sources and methods. Would anyone watch a CSI TV show that cut to the end with “who did it” without telling you how they know that? The American public is accustomed to seeing the evidence from TV shows and they expect it in this case.
    This should have been anticipated early on by the administration. Their PR management of this issue has been horrible

  2. hans says:

    There’s something comic opera about this whole kerfuffle. I’ve seen little discussion, only some speculation, about what security measures were actually employed by the DNC.
    I installed networks and servers for law offices years ago, was computer editor for a small legal magazine for a few years, and, now retired, set up the occasional systems for old friends. So I know a little something about this.
    I see no mentions of firewalls, or firewall logs – a basic tool that allows you to at least know who’s been accessing your system. No mention of encryption, not of hard drives or of email traffic. If not even this level of security was applied, then anyone along the routes your traffic flowed could read it straightaway. Without encryption you’re transmitting in the open, and it’s not rocket surgery to get at it. Were there firewalls on your routers? Antivirus and antimalware apps running and logging events? Was your operating system running inside a virtual machine? No mentions.
    The IC outfits say they traced traffic through various IP addresses. But those IP addresses all seem to deadend at Tor nodes, which means it could be anyone.
    Revealing these details won’t expose sources or methods.
    Nothing disclosed so far to support the contentions of Clapper & Co. makes the grade. I could be wrong. I’m probably out of date on some of this, but I’m not on the basics.

  3. Eliot says:

    “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”
    Another “dodgy dossier.”
    – Eliot

  4. Stumpy says:

    A cursory review of youtube videos on the topic of hacking, such as DEFCON presentations, shows an established industry devoted to finding and squashing vulnerabilities. The exploits themselves are frequently illustrated, with caveats, with enough detail that a malicious actor could do damage even if caught or killed. (See https://youtu.be/oHf1vD5_b5I) The state of the art is not reflected in anything put out by the US government or DNC cybersec contractors. In fact, the goal seems to be limited to developing a narrative in the press regardless of how illogical or unsubstantiated.
    If one wants to call a routine theft of email an act of war, maybe they should reset their perspective. If you have time and bandwidth, a nice story set to film of the Poles fending off the Soviets in 1920, https://youtu.be/J4I61EkSdgg — in which SIGINT plays a major part:
    “Since the Polish code-breakers did not want the Russians to find out that their codes had been broken, the remaining Soviet radio station was neutralized by having the radio station in Warsaw recite the Book of Genesis in Polish and Latin on the frequency used by the 4th Army.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Warsaw_(1920)
    It would be nice if someone with a big enough voice were to compare and contrast the alleged effects of Russian interference against the effect of large sums contributed from foreign actors such as Saudi Arabia as well as certain industrial groups to the party of the jackass.

  5. Stumpy says:

    Agree in full. Hopefully the IC has been professional enough to keep the true human sources concealed, if any exist. Too many Anna Chapmans in the mix waiting to take advantage of sloppy security.

  6. All,
    Discussions by two very different people on the claims about Russian hacking are I think relevant.
    A report on the ultimate ‘fake news’ site, RT, opens:
    ‘The sloppiness of the alleged DNC hack by itself proves it was not organized by a nation state, and the “utter nonsense” presented as proof of Moscow’s involvement is rather evidence of intelligence agencies being “ignorant and naïve,” John McAfee told RT.’
    From the body of the report:
    ‘To make it simple for the American audience, McAfee metaphorically explained the situation:
    ‘“Seriously, if Russia declared war on us because we hacked Russia and the head of the CIA and the intelligence committee came to the Congress and they ask him ‘What happened?’ – ‘Oh, well you know we didn’t have time to remove English language, we didn’t have time to move the date stamp, the guy could not use a Chinese keyboard, so we gave him our regular keyboard. And also there was my wife’s birthday so I could not remove the IP address.’”’
    ‘“Please, that person would be scheduled for a suicide,” McAfee concluded.’
    Another relevant discussion comes from one of the best British writers on Russian history and politics, Paul Robinson – now, to my regret, teaching at Ottawa.
    An old Etonian who went to Oxford – he was, I think, a contemporary of our laughing-stock of a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, at both places – Robinson, on leaving university, did not go, like John, David Cameron, George Osborne, etc etc, into a London media-political ‘bubble’, but joined the Army.
    Unsurprisingly, he ended up in intelligence. And when he decided to go back into academic life, he chose to write a thesis on the apparently most utterly irrelevant subject: the history of the White Army in exile.
    And then, a few years later, a former KGB officer, whose grandfather cooked for Lenin and Stalin, is negotiating with the daughter of General Denikin to bring his remains home to Russia.
    All the people who did ‘relevant’ subjects haven’t a clue what is happening. But Paul Robinson understands quite precisely what is at stake, when Putin brings back to Russia the remains of Denikin, and Ivan Il’in – the ‘sword’ and the ‘pen’ of the Whites.
    An extract from an article of his published by the ‘Spectator’ in October 2005 – I do not know whether Johnson was still editor:
    ‘When Denikin’s daughter, Marina Grey, refused to give permission to exhume her father, the President won her over by granting her Russian citizenship. When the Russian army refused to provide a military honour guard for Il’in because he had never served in the military, Putin overruled the generals. The honouring of the Whites, and the implied repudiation of the Reds, came from the top.’
    (See http://www.spectator.co.uk/2005/10/the-return-of-white-russia/ .)
    But Robinson is also a trained intelligence analyst, and his attempt to separate Clapper’s report into ‘fact’ and ‘comment’, and look at both in the context of some kind of realistic understanding of the complexities of contemporary Russian politics, is I think both illuminating and entertaining.
    (See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/fact-and-comment/ .)

  7. Valissa says:

    One thing I don’t quite understand yet is how this anti-Russia game supports “American Exceptionalism.” This is supposed to be a key part of US foreign policy, and yet this whole ‘Russia hacked the elections’ meme is terrible for US credibility abroad.
    Here is an article by retired India diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar. While MKB has often been critical of US foreign policies he has (like many Indians) maintained a obvious soft spot for our country. Relatively speaking, he is pretty scathing here.
    So what if Russia tried to influence the US election? http://www.atimes.com/russia-tried-influence-us-election/
    It only underscored that what is unfolding is quintessentially an unprecedented partisan war in American politics. What comes to mind is Edward Gibbon’s classic work on the fall of the Roman Empire where he describes the Roman era’s declension as a place where “bizarreness masqueraded as creativity.”
    The title of the US intelligence report has been carefully worded – Assessing Russian Activities And Intentions in Recent US Elections. The title may convey the impression that Russia interfered in the November elections and successfully stage-managed Trump’s victory. Far from it.
    On the contrary, however, the report does not even weigh in on that issue. If anything, buried deep within the report is a curt admission that Russia was “not involved in vote tallying.”
    … Aren’t there instances where the US tried to bring about desired outcomes in democratic elections in foreign countries? Hasn’t the US overthrown foreign governments that didn’t serve American interests? Doesn’t the US government fund media organs to propagate views abroad? Doesn’t the US intelligence bribe journalists, think tankers and academics in America and abroad to plant ideas and create opinions?
    At the end of the day, therefore, to a foreign observer, all this looks most curious. America’s political class is fighting among themselves with tooth and claw over an issue that is commonplace in the contemporary world, and in that process, their country, the ‘lone superpower’, becomes the laughing stock of the world community.
    Yes, the US is now “the laughing stock of the world community”! Are the establishment Dems and neocons so afraid of Trump upsetting their established order (and forcing some relatively minor changes to their money and power games) that they don’t care how stupid and impotent the US is looking to most of the rest of the world*?
    *except for the EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

  8. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel and SST,
    Clearly the administration calculated on the extreme laziness of mainstream reporting where likely none of the reporters will bother to read beyond the headline – simply calling their favorite source for a juicy quote and taking the spin from the whitehouse press office. In a telling case, I noted how during the deepwater horizon spill, the CDC produced a report the bulk of which said the oil posed a breathing health risk. However, a coast guard apparatchik slapped a cover page that said the report showed there was no health risk and the media dutifully reported this.
    What Trump gets and the democrats and many republicans do not is that the alternative media actually reads the report content and that most americans do not trust the mainstream media or the politico spin – hence the urgency of tarring the alternative media as fake news even though the cows are out of the barn.
    The world is changing.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think that Putin is repudiating the Reds, I think he is trying to close the chapter on the Russian Revolution, the ensuing Civil War.
    He has kept the legacy of the Great Patriotic War, Lenin’s Tomb is still in Red Square, and the general outlines of the state created by Lenin and Stalin persists.
    30 years ago, when the Socialist won the elections in Greece, that marked the end of the Greek Civil War.
    The Civil War has not yet ended in Spain.

  10. Dorsey Gardner says:

    Does anyone recall that a substantial number of US Congressmen/women have Israeli passports and unfailingly vote for bills or expenditures that benefit Israel and cost the American taxpayer billions, e.g.. $38B, with no payoff for US citizens? Are we allowed to acknowledge that a majority of the MSM — Main Street Media — is Jewish-owned and spins the news to make Israel’s apartheid and violent policies invisible or excusable? Given that the Nulands and Neocons appear to be back in business stirring up another new war — this time with a nuclear-armed Russia no less — how can anyone fault Russia for having a little input — after all they have the most to lose from the endless warmongering. lies, and propaganda.
    Maybe Russians were more likely to bring accuracy to a presidential campaign without real content. If they are responsible for revealing that Carlos Danger had access to classified information, I personally thank them for revealing what our media and government kept secret.

  11. What we see in both IC reports are nothing more than assessment statements without the evidence those assessments are based on. I see no reason they would convince anyone, especially all those who find it inconceivable that Russia could or would do anything like this. Trump himself seems convinced of the basics of the case according to his official statement and what Priebus said yesterday. “I think he accepts the findings,” Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign.” Too bad the rest of us will never see the evidence in the classified report. I never thought we would.

  12. turcopolier says:

    I don’t doubt that the Russians could or would do that. But what would they have done in this case, reveal the truth? And this is subverting American democracy? pl

  13. David,
    John McAfee’s reasoning is absurd and he should have the technical knowledge to know that. He claims that since the tools used to conduct the hack were not state of the art, Russia could not be involved. I’ve worked this field for years. When conducting a penetration, one uses the least advanced tool needed to get the job done. It’s similar to not using an elephant gun to kill a fly. This is also one of main reasons the Russians use independent hacking groups with their own tools and methods to do much of their work.
    Robinson’s article is very good and points out the inadequacies of the released reports thoroughly and convincingly. He also points out this inadequacy does nothing to disprove the premise that Russia conducted a deliberate influence operation against the US.

  14. pl,
    That’s something that has become lost in the hue and cry to deny this even happened. All the Russians did with the release of emails was to shine a light on the ugly side of the Democratic Party and the Clinton people. It was whistleblowing, not war. I do believe Russia’s goal was to create conditions in the US more favorable to Russia’s interests. A US not rushing headlong into war with Russia is more favorable for most of the world, including us Americans. It was far classier than anything we’ve done to influence elections or regime changes. I hope we continue to see more such whistleblowing and leaking targeting the rich and powerful, even by the dastardly hackers, in the future.

  15. Kooshy says:

    Vallisa, IMO in my understanding, outside of US the “American Exceptionalism” is not much promoted or pushed about, by the American goverment or the related media. IMO is mostly used for domestic consumption, for unity building measures inside re US. One wouldn’t hear much about it outside of US, and if it was officially promoted by USG, it will be immediately ridiculed and laughed and dismissed, specially in allied Europe. French, and Brits think they are more exceptional than anybody else. Most of the street people in old world civilizations, likes of Indian, chines, Iranian, Greeks would give you a lip service for that considering they get paid for it in advance.

  16. ked says:

    “… one uses the least advanced tool needed to get the job done.”
    your statement may well be memorialized as “Occam’s Hack” or “Occam’s IT Management Algorithm”.

  17. b says:

    There is no evidence that there was any “Russian hacking” at all. Just assertions by people who have interests in making such claims.
    There is evidence that a large Trump de-legitamization campaign is run on the thesis that “Trump loves Putin” and “Putin is bad”. Clinton started this mid 2016. Since she lost an attempt is made to pin the loss on Russia. Why blame yourself for your mistakes when you can blame others …
    There are ways to show that there was a hack (if one happened) and that Russia was involved that would not endanger “sources and methods”. It is well known (since Snowden) that the NSA records ever data packet that crosses U.S. borders. Any suspicious connection could be found. A description on how the supposed attack on the DNC was carried out, what programs were used in what versions, would also not endanger anything. But the DNC denied the FBI access to the crime scene. Instead we get a “report” from a private company with deep relations to NATO and assorted war mongers.
    The language in the various reports is all very vague. No firm claims are made. No actual evidence is presented. This is all as thin as it possibly can be.
    Obama and the people behind him do not want Trump to change the confrontational course against Russia. Clapper and Brennan have the job to take care of that as long as they can.

  18. Kooshy says:

    IMO, this hacking business, more than being a forign policy/ foreign interference business/issue, is a domestic issue, for the Borg who feels after recent election (which realistically and evedently and as usual, was interfred by the Borg and its media hands, more than anybody else including puts ) is loosing control of opinion making of voters and electorates. With thier claim, on Russian’ hacking our election and interfering in our domestic affairs they are trying to appeal to our national concisions, and hope to regain the control they one had on our collective public opinion. IMO the trust the public once had on this media and the US goverment/ administration will not be restored anytime soon.

  19. Kooshy says:

    “reveal the truth? And this is subverting American democracy?”
    It takes a lot of balls, to say it easily perfect.

  20. Jack says:

    This is exactly what is befuddling me. Is the Russian influence operation the exposure of the truth? I don’t believe anyone is arguing that the Russians planted false information that confused the voting public. I don’t get it. So what if the Russians or even Martians phished Podesta’s emails. The truth of the actual communications between Podesta and John Harwood and others is what got exposed. The voting public should be pleased they actually got the truth.
    What the media, the Democrats, McCain and his office wife don’t get is that many citizens are pleased that the truth of the actual behavior and thinking of these duplicitous political actors got exposed. They are not concerned who did it.

  21. Jack says:

    Not only a laughing stock of the world community but a laughing stock to many Americans too, as can be seen in the response to John Harwood’s twitter poll. So, the Russians send out a phishing email and the dumb Podesta hands over his email password and the American voter gets the truth. This is considered so bad that the media and the establishment are foaming at the mouth. Beyond ridiculous! Trump has got inside their psyche that they’ve lost their marbles.

  22. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    “But what would they have done in this case, reveal the truth? And this is subverting American democracy?”
    Let’s have the actual specifics/undeniable hard copy of what ‘they’ discovered/disclosed…1,2 ,3 – 10. No inferences, just hard non-fake copy.
    Hopefully none here are holding their breath for signed paymaster hard copy. Keep all the e-nonsense.
    Bottom line (for me anyway): just more MSM/NPR cheap news: no TA DA. Punt.

  23. aleksandar says:

    1 ) Compromising sources and method in such a case ” hacking ” is a dubious argument.
    2) Sorry but intelligence can be proved without any doubt, it is often the case in military intelligence.
    3 ) All ISs use methods to quote each intel and sources. There is nothing as ” a subjective best guess from multiple possible explanations ” as long as these IS services are professionals.

  24. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    “I hope we continue to see more such whistleblowing and leaking targeting the rich and powerful, even by the dastardly hackers, in the future.”
    My sentiment exactly. I’m not at all concerned about who is doing the whistle blowing. I hope we get more of it. I’d love it if we can get the conversations between the Chairman of Anbang and Jared Kushner and his Dad, and what if any the quid pro quo were. And the conversations between Steve Mnuchin and Kamala Harris. I consider Snowden a hero for providing the American people the truth and proving that Clapper and Alexander were lying POS who needed to be court-martialled and sent to the hoosegow.
    There’s a reason that many Americans like me are not falling for the hysteria of the Russian “hacking” because we welcome such truth disclosures and want more of it.

  25. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Not on the issue of mooted Russian intervention in American politics
    (talk about “What goes around comes around!”, or “chickens coming home to roost”)
    but the Giraldi article had a link to another very worthwhile article on an even more important topic:
    “After the ‘End of History’ ”
    by Andrew John Bacevich
    Definitely worth reading.
    A brief quotation:

    With something close to unanimity,
    politicians and policy-oriented intellectuals interpreted the unification of Berlin and the ensuing collapse of communism
    as an all-American victory of cosmic proportions.

    Those who are familiar with Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History
    will surely recognize this as an instance of the hubris he warned about

  26. Bobo says:

    As a citizen you expect that your government takes proper steps to combat the intrusions of foreign governments and retaliate in kind in a measured manner that is beneficial to your government. Thus we have the varied agencies of our IC and their agendas which are to seve the government and its people.
    I read a recent article thats premise was that the America People lost their virginity with their govenment during the Vietnam War and have since been very skeptical of its government and their political representatives. I understand why the author picked that point in history but we have seen so many examples since that time to enhance that skepticism.
    Is the Russian hacking another of those examples, sure is, just look at Nurse Ratched’s picture at the top of this post. Yup, the idiot who said our government does not listen in on its citizens to be proven a liar in public. They used to hang people for that.
    The American people are fed up with their government and have elected Donald Trump to change it and if does not they will find another agent of change to do it. Trump has a year and he knows it .

  27. steve says:

    Still hope they release stuff they got from the RNC, if they indeed got anything. Let it all come out.

  28. Peter AU says:

    MH17. From solid inteligence to social media?
    Weapons of mass destruction?
    Russian hackers to…
    RT subverts US election?
    The US establishment/borg has a track record.
    It must present solid evidence or be considered guilty.

  29. james,
    Yes, the US has a long and rich history of influencing elections. The Italian elections of 1948 was one of the first. Both we and the USSR mounted “influence ops” in that one. Among the highlights of our interventions were Iran, Chile, Guatemala and Ukraine where we spent over five billion dollars and several bags of cookies over many years to install a monumentally corrupt Nazi regime. Keith Harbaugh said it best: (talk about “What goes around comes around!”, or “chickens coming home to roost”).
    Compared to what we did in Kiev, Moscow’s actions were light and discreet. Their actions may have moved the goalposts only slightly if at all. It was an “elegant hack.”

  30. Ingolf says:

    “That’s something that has become lost in the hue and cry to deny this even happened.”
    Absolutely right, and the broader point you and the Col are making could be critically important. The more effort invested in denying Russian involvement, the greater the blowback if it were ever “proven”. Whatever one’s views, prudence and common sense, it seems to me, should dictate leaving the door at least slightly ajar on that question and then getting stuck into the more serious background issues.

  31. Fred says:

    “Trump has a year and he knows it .”
    So do Senators McCain and Graham, the Borg and Obama. Who amongst them is going to fade quickly into irrelevancy and powerlessness is an open question but the answer is hinted at with the panic of the elites.

  32. divadab says:

    @Babak – “The Civil War has not yet ended in Spain.”
    Nor has it ended in the US of A.

  33. “The American people are fed up with their government and have elected Donald Trump to change it and if he does not they will find another agent of change to do it. Trump has a year and he knows it.” Inspiriting to find that. It’s exactly how it is.
    I’m placing more hope than is perhaps reasonable on Trump. If he pushes through reforms, and more importantly manages to get more realism accepted than is the norm now, then that’s bound to have a knock on effect in Europe as well. Just having a grown-up in the room might quieten our imitation neo-cons down.
    But that’s assuming he can get somewhere in the Washington morass. No harm in hoping.
    It must depend on the continuing support Trump gets directly from the people. He doesn’t seem to be getting it from elsewhere. I give up on the opinion formers in America, even the ones who don’t do progressive. They seem to be looking a gift horse in the mouth and aren’t sufficiently grateful for not-Hillary.
    English Outsider
    ,. .

  34. SAC Brat says:

    It’s about time for Putin to say “Tell me about hacking an election. I hacked you with a cup of coffee.”

  35. SAC Brat says:

    Wasn’t it the opinion formers who were all for Obama’s red line in Syria until the Deplorables woke up and contacted their congresscritters? If Trump can harness that energy he may have some power.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In the North, you mean?

  37. Edward Amame says:

    Except that only half the story was told. Why no RNC leaks to help shine a light for American voters? Because the intent was to influence.

  38. Edward Amame says:

    Are Ryan and McConnell part of the Borg?

  39. Edward Amame says:

    Once again, congress refuses to do its job.
    There will be no bipartisan independent commission looking into: if there was hacking, who was responsible; if the hacking was done on behalf of a preferred candidate; and was there coordination between hacker and a candidate’s campaign.

  40. Edward Amame says:

    English Outsider
    Trump supporters better start speaking up. Apparently, lobbyists didn’t get the same message you and Bobo got: “The election of Donald Trump has sparked one of the most pitched lobbying efforts in Washington in years as the prospect of business-friendly policy changes has companies from the airline industry to Wall Street launching new blitzes…”

  41. robt willmann says:

    Philip Giraldi does an excellent job in picking through the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, in describing the format and layout of the paper, and in observing the disclaimer at the end. The only thing that may be said is that the tap dancing in the “Annex B” is even funnier than Mr. Giraldi suggests.
    That page is entitled “Estimative Language”, and it contains a graph that compares percentage numbers and applicable terms that can appear in statistics with other terms about the likelihood that something exists. But none of the terms on the top or bottom of the graph are used as descriptors in the paper!
    Instead, we get “Judgments of Likelihood” above the graph, and “Confidence in the Sources Supporting Judgment” below it. And the punchline is in the “meaning” of “high confidence”–
    “High confidence generally indicates that judgments are based on high-quality information from multiple sources. High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”
    There you have it. Not only does the report not contain any evidence, it does not even contain any “facts”, since “high confidence … does not imply that the assessment is a fact….”
    If that is not funny enough, the Annex B says, as Mr. Giraldi pointed out: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact”.
    So, the report contains no evidence. You are not to imply that it contains any facts. And, in fact, the report admits and concedes that the existence of the “key judgments” might not be supported by any proof at all.
    Well, I am being a little too judgmental. There is one thing in the Intelligence Community Assessment that is a fact and is supported by evidence, and is found on pages 5 and 24 of the pdf file–
    “This page intentionally left blank”.

  42. Sam Peralta says:

    To add fuel to the fire on the speculations on the supposed “hacking”. There’s this post by Mike Shedlock who provides the perspective that it could be the Izzies. If this sail catches some wind, what will the Israeli Firsters in the media who are now pushing the meme of “Putin has declared war” have to say?
    A short excerpt:
    “Trump Family Supported Israeli Settlements
    Please note the family of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump and is a trusted confidant of the president-elect, donated tens of thousands of dollars in recent years to projects in the settlements, including a small amount to one particularly radical yeshiva.
    Is it so hard to believe that Netanyahu, other high up officials in Israel, or even private Israelis might have wanted Trump rather than Clinton?”

  43. Fred says:

    SAC Brat,
    I think that was CJCS Dempsey providing different facts about the red line ‘violations’ (and the need for Congressional authorization for military action) to Obama more than Trump supporters actions.

  44. Linda Lau says:

    How about the ugly side of the Republican Party? Why dont we get those released as well? Perhaps theirs are out there for all the world to see. I don’t think we are looking silly for all the world to see is because of a good or bad case for Putin to have ordered it but because of the absurdity of this whole election.

  45. Willybilly says:

    FBI is saying tonight that there was NO RUSSIAN HACK. Zilch. 😂

  46. Treading carefully here, because I’m looking on from a long way away, but I think what one can hope for from a Trump presidency is rather more limited than your comment implies. I believe he merely wants to return to an state of affairs in which “what’s good for General Motors is good for America”. So when an American company does well that would mean that properly paid jobs go to American workers.
    At present, for an American company to do well they as often as not have to resort to outsourced labour or to immigrant labour. Outsourced labour has to be cheaper because of currency and cost of living differences. Immigrant labour has to be cheaper because it’s easier to exploit. That means that an American company, or at least its CEO and senior executives, can do well without American workers seeing much or any benefit.
    Add the regulatory and tax differences between America and the cheap labour countries, and add to that the fact that automation increasingly cuts down the number of jobs needed anyway, and the American worker under “globalisation” gets very much the thin end of the wedge.
    What Trump wants to do is to keep more work in house, so that for a company to do well it has to employ American labour. This will have three results. 1, because the America worker is also the American consumer it will return genuine rather than credit fuelled demand to the economy. 2, the goal of full employment and a living wage will be easier to attain and 3, all hell will be let loose in the labour market because the American worker will find he’s got bargaining power again.
    It’s partly because of fears of (3) that our politicians have gone for globalisation. Globalisation, or so-called free trade, not only gives immense returns to the cronies, it keeps the workers under; as Mrs Thatcher in this country found, the unions can’t get difficult if the industries their members work in are destroyed.
    President Trump, if successful, will get (1) and (2). He won’t have to worry overmuch about (3) because that won’t need attention until later.
    This means we’re going to be seeing a different type of crony. At present it’s easier for the cronies who outsource to make money. Under Trump it’s the cronies who employ local labour who will do so. It’s in those circumstances that the American worker will again be able to say that what’s good for American companies is good for him.
    It won’t be ideal – the cronies will still be with us and so will the pork barrel, as your comment implies – but it’ll be better than the situation at present.
    Any competent economist will tell you that what I have written above is nonsense, but when we look at the mess the competent economists have made of our respective economies I don’t think we have to worry about that. I rather think Trump doesn’t worry about it either. He’s not about pleasing doctrinaire economists. Nor is he about a new heaven and a new earth. He’s about getting a functioning economy again.
    It may be he’ll also be able to go for a more rational foreign policy. One under which not so many foreigners get killed. One can only hope he succeeds in both enterprises.

  47. Sam Peralta says:

    Is a war brewing between DJT and the intel agencies?
    Looks like Drudge is joining the fight from the right.

  48. Chris Chuba says:

    Off the top of my head … Vietnam, Iraq WMD, and more recently the cooked books on ISIS military progress. The common theme is the politicization of the Intelligence Community doing the bidding of the Executive Branch.
    Quite frankly, I don’t think that we are skeptical enough. I am beside myself that our MSM imbeciles are showing recycled, stock footage of civilians being pulled out of rubble in Syria and completely ignoring the presence of Al Qaeda in N. Syria. They are doing this because they are repeating word for word what they hear from our State Dept, John Kirby, etc.

  49. Chris Chuba says:

    inflammatory, unprofessional, wording:
    When I read it, I couldn’t believe how little of it actually addressed hacking. I didn’t count the paragraphs but I’d say that 90% of it was on Russian mind control techniques. Its only purpose was to get its audience to hate Russia. So RT, Russia Today, is a Russian Media company, wow, that explains all of the stories on Russia and NATO. Thanks CIA, I have been duped for years, you really got my back. Pathetic.
    A Congressional investigation based on this report will be totally useless. It will be a litany of ‘Russia is bad’. Yes, I do want to know what happened and HOW it happened. I don’t buy their explanation that they cannot divulge any of their methods lest they tip off the Russians. What, are the Russians going to find out that we can monitor NW traffic? Oooh … patents pending. Sure, I understand that they cannot tell us about Greg the spy in Moscow but no details whatsoever?
    This was a political hit piece and totally useless.
    Yes, I acknowledge that the Russians and others hack us (and we them) but just getting angry at the Russians doesn’t help us.

  50. Edward Amame says:

    English Outsider
    Foreign companies invest billions in the US economy every year. From about $1.5 trillion in 2000 up to around $3.5 billion in 2015. The US is second only to China when it comes to manufacturing and it’s currently the biggest asset in our economy. US factories make twice as much stuff as they did in the mid 1980s, but with about 1/3 fewer workers, thanks to automation. I’ve yet to hear any real solution to the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs that’s devastated our rust-belt working class.

  51. Edward Amame says:

    If there was no Russian hack, then it came from someone inside the NSA, which is what William Binney is claiming. NSA would have access to RNC emails too. Again, why leak only half the story? Because whatever entity/entities responsible for releasing the emails was/were trying to influence the election.

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