I'm closing in on 65. Years, not miles. And I do not recall a time where so many people willingly have accepted lies and falsehoods about the threat from Russia and Russians. The combination of delusion and lies about Russia and Putin have attached themselves to our body politic and our public discourse like the monster in the movie Alien. We are infested by a malevolent collection of beliefs. Left uncorrected or unchallenged, these delusions could set off a series of events that could ultimately cause the destruction of our country.
I realize that sounds over the top, but bear with me. Let's review the new obsession with Russia as the main threat we must defeat through the lens of Russian meddling in our election. Everyone knows, or so we are told on a daily basis, that Russia deliberately tried to subvert our democracy in last year's Presidential election and that Putin is a modern day Stalin intent of taking over the world. Here's an example from just the other day courtesy of CNN:
CIA Director Mike Pompeo stands by US intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, the agency said Saturday, despite President Donald Trump saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says his country didn't interfere.
I can understand the media getting this wrong. But the so-called intelligence community also is participating in this charade. What is Mike Pompeo's excuse?
Let's start with the specious claim that the “U.S. Intelligence Community concluded” that Russia directed a campaign to influence the election. There never has been a "Community Conclusion." You only have a “Community Conclusion” when you have a coordinated, written document. That means something akin to a National Intelligence Estimate, which has been thoroughly coordinated among the relevant agencies.
What does “coordination” mean? Any analyst worth their salt at the CIA or the DIA are taught from their first day on the job that everything they write, especially if it uses material from the NSA and the State Department, must be reviewed and approved by their at State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research NSA. The purpose of such a review is to ensure that the source intelligence cited in the analysis is represented accurately.
It is different with the FBI. The FBI is not an intelligence organization per se. They don't gather "intelligence" that is shared with CIA and DIA. They collect evidence. Such evidence cannot be routinely shared with intelligence organizations.
If a CIA analyst is writing a piece on Russian computer hacking, and is using original intelligence generated by NSA, then the analyst would coordinate with his or her NSA counterpart. In addition, the analyst also would share the document with State INR and DIA. Only in the rarest circumstances would the analyst seek clearance from the FBI (this would mean the FBI produced and realized to the intelligence community a document that was not part of a criminal investigation).
Are you keeping count? We are talking about a maximum of four agencies. So why does the media insist that the number is 17? That claim originated with Hillary Clinton.
“We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing,” Clinton said during Wednesday's presidential debate in Las Vegas.
The ironically named "Politifact" added to the misinformation by insisting that Hillary was right and they cited the joint statement from DNI's Jim Clapper and Jeh Johnson at DHS (Homeland Security) issued on 7 October 2016:
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
What a joke!! Clapper and Johnson insisted that the USIC was "confident." That's just a weasel word for "belief." But belief is not the same as having actual evidence. More telling was the fact that their written statement was not accompanied by a Community Assessment or Intelligence Memorandum. Just take their word for it.