The “17 Intelligence Community Agencies” Canard on Russian Interference by Publius Tacitus


CANARD–a false or unfounded report or story; especially :  a fabricated report. That's how Merriam Dictionary defines the term and it certainly seems to be a dandy word to describe the claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election and that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agree.

May I nominate Hillary Clinton as The Queen of the Canard? Last month, during an interview by Walt Mossberg at the CODE conference, Hillary was eager to feed the lie that Russia ensured Donald Trump's victory and  cited "17" U.S. intelligence agencies as her evidence:

Hillary: Now, the question is, where and how did the Russians get into this? And I think it’s a very important question. So, I assume that a lot of people here may have — and if you haven’t, I hope you will — read the declassified report by the Intelligence community that came out in early January.

Mossberg: This is 17 agencies

Hillary: Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through paid advertising we think, they did it through false news sites, they did it through these thousand agents, they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed. So that was the conclusion. And I think it’s fair to ask, how did that actually influence the campaign? And how did they know what messages to deliver?

We can forgive Hillary for her confusion about this supposed fact given her apparent reliance on the joint statement issued 7 October 2016 by the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security:

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 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.

But this was not a legitimate judgement of the U.S. intelligence community and did not reflect the views of 17 separate U.S. intelligence agencies. Why?

Very simple–there was no written document expressing such a judgement. In fact, the only document ultimately produced on subject of Russian interference did not appear until January 2017 and it only reflected the views of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.

When the President, the Congress and the American people are told that "THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IS CONFIDENT, then it is not surprising that the American people would believe that they are receiving the collective views of subject matter experts. In other words, they believe they are being given the truth by experts instead of being subjected to an off-the-cuff water cooler chat up by some fat guy with an opinion.  Common sense would tell you that a community judgement on Russian hacking is not going to be signed off on by a U.S. Customs analyst who tracks the movement of cartel mules or a U.S. Coast Guard analyst who knows how to spot and track illegal fishing trawlers. Instead, we expect to be hearing from analysts and investigators with expertise in areas such as forensic computer investigations or Russian intelligence organizations.  

When Jim Clapper and Jeh Johnson released their statement last October they both knew that there had been no document written and then circulated among the U.S. Intelligence Community for review and approval (aka clearance). In other words, a draft report on Russian hacking by a CIA analyst (under a normal coordination process) and coordinated by the National Intelligence Council aka the NIC did not happen. We had to wait six months for Jim Clapper to tell us the truth. During testimony before the U.S. Senate, Clapper informed Senator Franken that there was no such conclusion by "17 Intelligence agencies."

FRANKEN: And I want to thank General Clapper and – and Attorney General Yates for – for appearing today. We have – the intelligence communities have concluded all 17 of them that Russia interfered with this election. And we all know how that’s right.

CLAPPER: Senator, as I pointed out in my statement Senator Franken, it was there were only three agencies that directly involved in this assessment plus my office…

FRANKEN: But all 17 signed on to that?

CLAPPER: Well, we didn’t go through that – that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my – what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgement to restrict it to those three. I’m not aware of anyone who dissented or – or disagreed when it came out.

This takes us back to the report I referenced in my previous piece (Fake News and the Russian Interference Lie), which only had clearance from the CIA, NSA and the FBI. Why were State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Defense Intelligence Agency excluded? They have legitimate expertise and the same access to the intelligence that the other three agencies have. Frankly, it is that can of maneuver that reveals the political purpose behind the ginned up campaign to portray Russia and the ultimate puppet master of elections.

One final observation. Just because the United States Intelligence Community (aka USIC) claims something to be true there is no guarantee they are right. In fact, we have the historical record surrounding the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (aka NIE) on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was community consensus on that document and it was wrong. There were no weapons. And the United States Intelligence Community is not infallible.

It is now more than six months since Donald Trump won the Presidential election and we still do not have a well-sourced, thoroughly coordinated document from the USIC that actually describes what the Russians did and how those actions did (or did not) turn the election in the favor of one candidate. This is either a case of gross incompetence and negligence or it is evidence that there is no real intelligence behind these claims. Or, maybe it is both.



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48 Responses to The “17 Intelligence Community Agencies” Canard on Russian Interference by Publius Tacitus

  1. Jeff says:

    The not-so-aptly named Reality Winner is now in federal prison for having leaked the latest and bested NSA report on the Russian involvement. And that document shows there is no evidence for Russian involvement, only hearsay and ‘context’.

  2. turcopolier says:

    As a troll you should be prepared to deal with simple matters of logic and fact such as the very definition of what an ANALYTIC document is. You get one more chance. pl

  3. WildWilly says:

    To add to what Jeff said, and someone please correct me if I’m wrong, there is no clear cut evidence the hack produced any results for whoever was responsible, although in the leaked document Jeff referred to it was alleged to have been the Russians who were responsible. To the best of my knowledge there was an apparent effort to steal credentials and gain access to a private company, but what more ever came of that is not clear either.
    With respect to Publius’ thoughts, I would go further and given your past thoughts, I think you would share my sentiments. This is a case of unelected groups interfering with the elected government, to hamstring the President from hammering through any agenda in contravention to their entrenched interests. It’s also politics to distract from their own failings and possible criminality.
    It is not difficult to understand that 62 million Americans finally got tired of all the absurdity pushed forth on TV and print media. The absurdity of when Clinton collapsed and we were instructed she had pneumonia, that there was nothing to see here, wasn’t lost to much of the public. Or the absuridy of watching Megyn Kelly deem candidate Trump a sexual predator, but refusing to assert the same claim when she was pressed by Newt Gingrich to repeat the claim of Bill Clinton, who has long been accused of rape and sexual misconduct.
    I think it is now plainly evident that people no longer believe the narratives spun in Washington and corporate boardrooms. Like Bill Ivey told John Podesta in leaked emails leading up to the November 8th election, “The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly.”

  4. FND says:

    Another one of the 17 intelligence agencies is the Department of Energy intelligence agency, which is supposed to ensure nuclear weapons secrets and materials are not stolen. Why would they be analyzing who hacked the DNC emails? Its absurd. Could be the Obama administration got all the intelligence agency heads together to be given a presentation by the NSA, CIA, and FBI, and then all the political appointee heads “agreed” that yeah, the Russians did it. That way the dems could have the “17 intelligence agencies agree” BS talking point.

  5. Lars says:

    Hopefully Bob Mueller and his team will find out who did what and with whom. No doubt there will be plenty of speculation in the meantime and when he eventually issues his report, there will be those who will not accept it.
    In the meantime, it appears that Mother Nature is reclaiming the swamp that once was Washington, DC, with latter replacements of the usual creepy critters to be found in a swamp. As I have claimed for some time now: We have the best government money can buy and a lot of money has.
    The Republic has always rested on those who would do the right and honorable things and hopefully they will again. Even if they are kind of hard to find right now.

  6. Old Microbiologist says:

    It will never happen. The game is to keep the unproven allegations alive until the 2018 elections. However, it may all fall apart once WWIII starts over Syria, unless the US decides to back off but they won’t do that either. This is a clear case of the Abilene Paradox.

  7. Lars,
    You write:
    ‘Hopefully Bob Mueller and his team will find out who did what and with whom. No doubt there will be plenty of speculation in the meantime and when he eventually issues his report, there will be those who will not accept it.’
    From an article by Carl M. Cannon in the ‘Orange County Register’ last month, entitled ‘Comey and Mueller bungled big anthrax case together’:
    ‘The third and most important factor tempering my enthusiasm for the new special prosecutor is that Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled. They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington’s mail system, solidified the Bush administration’s antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure.
    ‘This, too, was an enormously complex case. But here are some facts: Despite the jihadist slogans accompanying the mailed anthrax, it had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein or any foreign element; the FBI ignored a 2002 tip from a scientific colleague of the actual anthrax killer, who turned out to be a Fort Detrick scientist named Bruce Edwards Ivins; the reason is that they had quickly obsessed on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill; the bureau was bullied into focusing on the government scientist by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (whose office, along with that of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, was targeted by an anthrax-laced letter) and was duped into focusing on Hatfill by two sources – a conspiracy-minded college professor with a political agenda who’d never met Hatfill and by Nicholas Kristof, who put her conspiracy theories in the paper while mocking the FBI for not arresting Hatfill.’
    (See .)
    Is this is accurate?

  8. BraveNewWorld says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but weren’t the intelligence agencies at least sceptical about WMD Iraq and it was Dick that told them to change their reports to remove the ambiguity if not out right lie?
    I would also point out that no one here knows what has been said in closed session.

  9. Virginia Slim says:

    The “17 intelligence agencies” nonsense is much like any ad verecundiam device in propaganda, intended to dissuade the audience from any attempt at counter-argument (cf. the “scientific consensus” and “peer-reviewed research” devices in the AGW debate).
    There are a whole host of questions knotted up in the “Russian Interference” net and, much like the global warming issue, they are often conflated into a false “Yes/No” dilemma. Just a few:
    1. Did RIS conduct espionage and associated influence operations during the 2016 presidential campaign?
    2. If 1. true, were RIS alone, or were the intelligence services of other nation-states involved?
    3. If the intelligence services of other nation-states were involved, what was the nature and scope of their efforts?
    4. Were the influence operations solely for the benefit of a single candidate, merely to sow discord, or were there competitive forces at play?
    5. Did any domestic political entities collaborate, either wittingly or unwittingly, with foreign actors?
    6. Have these sorts of things happened before (e.g. in 2012 or 2008, when a Democrat candidate might well have been the beneficiary)?

  10. Fred says:

    “This is a case of unelected groups interfering with the elected government,…”
    Maybe you missed this piece of news but here are almost 70 elected members of congress opposing the elected government.

  11. Jack says:

    I doubt Mueller is gonna do any such thing as determine if & how the Russians hacked and how much it influenced voters to change their mind from voting for Hillary.
    Mueller is running a pure fishing expedition. Looking at the lawyers he’s hired it seems to be mostly about those associated with the Trump campaign and how much “consulting fees” they received from the Russians. Of course they’ll not investigate how much money Podesta and the Clinton Foundation received from the Russians and the Saudis among others.

  12. What? You are seeing conspiracy where there is none.

  13. Lars says:

    I did start my post with “hopefully” and I suspect that Bob Mueller is very aware that his personal and professional reputation is on the line here. The main aspect of my opinion is that patience is a virtue here and speculations are not.

  14. Lars says:

    Neither Podesta nor Hillary Clinton are part of the government, but Donald Trump and many of his supporters are. How they got there is a valid inquiry.

  15. Publius Tacitus,
    On your last point of not yet having a definitive report on what the Russians did and if/how it affected the election, I think you’re being far too impatient. The Clinton email server criminal investigation took a full year before Comey presented his findings to the public. Hell, Starr’s investigation went on for four plus years. I have yet to see a published report of that investigation. I have also not seen “a well-sourced, thoroughly coordinated document from the USIC” on any of the major cyber breaches attributed to foreign actors such as the 2014 to 2015 OPM hack or many others at the White House, Pentagon and State Department. I am aware of many more that have not and probably will not see the light of day. This election hack, however, has serious implications for the future of our electoral system. I sincerely hope we a published and well publicized report of what did and didn’t occur during the 2016 election cycle.

  16. Swami Bhut Jolokia says:

    So what explains your use of her first name, and none of the males? Are you on first name terms with her?

  17. Yeah, Right says:

    Based on Clapper’s duplicitous testimony there doesn’t appear to be anyone in the Senate capable of seeing an obvious act of omission.
    Clapper: “Well, we didn’t go through that – that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my – what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgement to restrict it to those three.”
    OK, dubious, but at least that is an arguable point i.e. in October 2016 there was an urgency that made it necessary to short-circuit the normal coordination process.
    But…. but…. but…. that was in October 2016, and once that joint statement was released then the “urgency” had passed.
    From that point on nothing stopped that analysis from being fed back into the National Intelligence Council and undergoing the normal process of being circulated amongst the US Intelligence Community for review and approval.
    Retrospectively, to be sure, but I see no reason why Clapper’s analysis couldn’t subsequently be reviewed and approved.
    So, did that happen?
    Clapper: “I’m not aware of anyone who dissented or – or disagreed when it came out.”
    I think you can bank that as a definite “no”.

  18. Old Microbiologist says:

    David, In this I am somewhat an expert as I was one of the top 10 suspects for the anthrax letters and I shared a lab with Bruce Ivins. IMHO, Ivins was also a setup as I knew him very well. He was perhaps weirder than most of us and that is not saying much as all of us working in this field are a bit out on the edge. I met with the FBI investigators numerous times and I can categorically state as an expert in this field they were hopelessly incompetent. The only verifiable evidence against Bruce was that his (also mine but luckily for me I hadn’t worked in that particular lab for over 6 months) centrifuge contained identical DNA as the strains used. Not mentioned anywhere is that Bruce was tasked with expanding the exact isolates from the forensic samples so duh! there was of course the same DNA present. There are a number of things that have gone unmentioned from the anthrax investigation. The first is that Hatfill’s only job was to decontaminate equipment out of the BSL-3 labs using paraformaldehyde vapor. He never worked with or had access to any agents. Paraformaldehyde is a particularly unpleasant and highly penetrating chemical and anyone working in the field who does decontamination work regardless of PPE is going to have trace amounts of paraformaldehyde on them. You handle the equipment afterwards and it is still permeated with the formaldehyde. The reason Hatfill was a suspect in the first place (other than his working in Rhodesia and his highly suspicious resume, was they lined up the entire staff of USMRIID and had dogs sniff the envelope (decontaminated using paraformaldehyde) then go down the line to see who the dogs alerted on. So duh! they alerted on Hatfill because of the paraformaldehyde.
    The second thing and this has been very tightly controlled and to my knowledge never reported on although anyone interested should do a FOIA for laboratory accident reports and the minutes of the monthly biosafety committee meetings) is that the Directors of the CIA and FBI as well as several Generals and Colonels were all exposed to anthrax when they opened the one intact letter to obtain spores for analysis. It was done outside the Biosafety cabinet out on the counter in the lab. These idiots failed to know that weaponized anthrax spores are treated (usually with bentonite) to make them lose their ionic charge so they disperse easily otherwise the powder will clump together and not be very useful as an aerosolized weapon. So, this particular anthrax was weaponized (meaning it was highly purified and treated with bentonite clay) so when they opened the envelope woosh it all dispersed out into the room (there is high airflow in these labs for exhaust filtration) leaving only a very minute amount of sample to test and the rest inhaled by those present in the room at the time. It was a pretty large crowd in there and no one was wearing PPE at all. That leads up to another problem.
    The anthrax spores we use in the lab are actually in a liquid slurry which permits metered dosing using a nebulizer for inhalation exposures of animals. We never dry them out and have no equipment to actually do that. We have desiccators but that leaves a very clumpy material which must be crushed or pulverized then sieved and we didn’t have that stuff at all. When you do that it mostly kills all the spores. The real weapons systems back in the day used a liquid nitrogen spray system. We also don’t do anything to improve dispersion (other than using a sugar based solution which more or less does the same thing) as it goes straight from the nebulizer (aerosol impinger) to the airstream used for the exposures. It is diluted using humidified air and measured using a laser scatter nephelometer to estimate particle counts and samples collected into a liquid broth for subsequent culture.
    My point is there was no way to weaponize these samples using the equipment located at USAMRIID at least not to the level actually present in the samples. All that highly specialized equipment was destroyed back in 1928 after we signed the bioweapons treaty. This brings us to asking just exactly where could weaponized anthrax have come from? Well, it happens that the CIA back in the Clinton administration built an anthrax production facility for nefarious reasons (in violation of the treaty) look up Operation Clear Vision or Project Jefferson all of which are in the open literature as are all the techniques I mentioned.
    Then we have a problem concerning Ivin’s allegedly committed suicide by overdosing on Tylenol and died 18 hours after taking the pills. The problem is that acetaminophen kills by destroying the liver which takes roughly 72 hours. So, IMHO he was assassinated and the case subsequently closed.
    My personal opinion is that this was a CIA operation which went awry (unintended consequences). There had been a very nice paper published in Canada in 1999 (since classified and removed from the internet – sorry but I went looking for it a ways back and it had disappeared along with some of my stuff as well) discussing the potential use of anthrax powder in envelopes. The conclusion was that it wouldn’t work well and might at best only expose the person who opened the letter. So, I believe whoever did it was trying to send a message or create a “threat” so as to move some political agenda. I believe they never intended to actually kill anyone and had assumed the paper’s conclusions were correct. No one anticipated the mail sorting machine getting jammed with a bulky powder filled envelope nor would anyone know that the way you clean the sorting machine is with a blast of high pressure air. If you look at the victims it would be what you might expect for a low dosage exposure with only babies and old people or immunologically impaired individuals which would be what happened after blasting the jammed letter and spreading spores all over the mail sorting facility. Lucky for everyone the minimum absorbed dose for a healthy adult for anthrax spores is in the 1,000’s (or 1 or 2 logs more) which for a point release requires kilograms and not milligrams of material. Dispersal is a square of the distance in 3 dimensions and anthrax spores are actually heavy and fall out of suspension fairly quickly depending on temperature and humidity. In a room like that it might be a little bit effective but in general it is a poor weapon as it disperses quickly down to non-infective levels. But, small doses will infect impaired individuals. Remember these are intended for combat use as a denial of terrain weapon or for rear communications disruptions. Really, it is a crappy weapon to actually use but is the easiest to store so for logistical reasons it is the biological weapon of choice. It is also one of the 2 biological agents which have a vaccine which works. Smallpox being the other.
    So, my conclusion to all of this is the real culprits were never found nor was any real investigation ever conducted. In many ways it was run like a Keystone Cops episode and was tragically flawed from the outset, maybe deliberately. Poor Hatfill and Ivins and of course the people who were infected, were the real victims of this charade. After Ivin’s death it was a case closed as they had a patsy to take the fall and even better with him dead. Personally, as much as I liked Bruce at least it ended the witch hunt. Sadly, the Army ends up taking the blame for the incident and all the subsequent billions of dollars for emergency biodefense research then went mostly outside the military. I might add that despite all the money we are no better off than before 9/11. It was much like the F-35 fighter a mission to spend money but to not actually ever develop anything that might work. I would love to see an in depth investigation as to where and how the money was used. But, we will never see that.

  19. Holy crap! I guess I ought to spend some time proofreading my comments before sending them in. I know about the Starr Report. It’s a report concerning the Clinton email server investigation that I haven’t seen along with ones about the other cyber intrusions. A public report on the election IO is more important than any of those.

  20. Lefty says:

    Thank you very much. Your first hand narration is better than anything I have seen. It seems the FBI generally settles on a culprit first then does all in its power to gin up a case.
    Hatfill turned out to be surprisingly resilient and successfully resisted. They then settled on Ivins, a more vulnerable target. They got him. Dead suspects do not defend themselves, and give the FBI propaganda machine free reign.
    FBI’s ballyhooed revolutionary “science” was more charade than investigative tool. Years ago some folks who were in a position to know were of the opinion that most in the FBI were not very bright. They would hurt you if you pissed them off, but could not find the bathroom without a paid informant. Nothing much has changed, as Ivins and Comey’s self righteousness and secret leaks demonstrate.

  21. Old Microbiologist says:

    Should read 1969 for the treaty and cessation of offensive bioweapons. I am not sure what my spell checker was thinking.
    I might add the brand new bioweapon production facility at Fort Detrick was immediately turned over to the National Cancer Institute after the treaty was enacted (never ratified by the way). I have read quite a few published papers coming out of the NCI indicating the development of viruses (which are also human infections and can be delivered by aerosol) to cause cancer following inhalation. Of course they aren’t written that way but if you look for articles over-expressing the cDNA for c_FOS and c-JUN in adenovirus that they cause sarcomas in mice and monkeys. Then if you examine just how many foreign leaders who are semi- or overtly- hostile to the US hegemonic goals, especially in Central and South America died from sarcomas then one might think it is again highly coincidental. I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist nutcase but I was thinking after Chavez’s death could it be done and loe and behold there were the articles backing up my hypothesis. I also must add that I was involved in a wound infection project to enhance wound healing by the over-expression of heat shock protein 70 using an adenovirus vector (which had a 50% enhancement in wound healing by the way). So, I do know that it is relatively simple to do this kind of work. Delivery is always the problem and many people have had low grade adenovirus infections and are naturally immune. But, it could be done for pretty much any virus.
    I might add my personal belief that the timing of the anthrax letters is also another highly suspicious issue and would indicate a knowledge of the 9/11 attacks to be imminent and was timed to be coincidental. Being a cynical person after 40 years working for the Army, I never believe in coincidence. I also believe the CIA has been out of control for a very long time.

  22. Jack says:

    By your logic, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort shouldn’t be investigated.
    Hillary was in government when there apparently was some kind of quid pro quo with a Russian uranium transaction. There has been some ink spilled on this topic and it would be nice to know if millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation greased the wheels to such a transaction.
    What about Bill’s tarmac tryst with AG Lynch? Comey suggested in testimony that Lynch influenced him to mischaracterize the investigation. Doesn’t that require a special counsel too?
    How about Jimmy Clapper? There is reason to believe he committed espionage by leaking the most sensitive secret that we were intercepting and decrypting secure Russian communications.
    The Mueller fishing expedition smacks of vendetta that the voters in Michigan and Wisconsin cast their ballot for Trump. And the Democrats can’t accept responsibility for their poor candidate selection and campaign. Did the Russians also hack the Georgia congressional race too, considering the Democrat spent seven times more than the GOP candidate?

  23. Jack says:

    Thank you for this excellent explanation based on first hand knowledge and your deep experience of the subject.
    This is exactly the problem. How to trust any government investigation? When there have been numerous cases of manipulation and insider dealing.

  24. Fred says:

    Both John Podesta was President Clinton’s chief of staff and Hilary Clinton was a Senator from New York as well as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Trump got “there” by winning an election.

  25. mauisurfer says:

    Ron Paul interviews Snowden:
    Paul asserted that the Deep State has usurped some of the powers of the legislative and executive branches of government.
    “It’s becoming more commonplace now for people to realize that the average congressman doesn’t call the shots, but there’s a force out there called the deep state and they’re the ones calling the shots.”
    Fundamentally, the growing power of the deep state cuts against the US democratic system.
    “It raises the question: Who really has the most power in our society? Is it the voter, or at least in theory the politicians who are supposed to be carrying out their will, or is it this larger group, this constellation of influential actors who are able to subvert and shape the decisions of these Congressmen or even Presidents.”

  26. TimmyB says:

    The whole Russian interferance thing is bullshit. The DNC never allowed any government agency to examine their computers to investigate the hack. Read this to learn more.

  27. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thankyou, OMB, for this close up and personal views on the history of the anthrax murders.

  28. TimmyB says:

    The DNC never allowed any US government agency to look at its computers to determine the source of the hack. The few agencies that have opined, certainly not 17 as Clinton falsely claims, are merely echoing Crowdstrike’s discredited report. Crowdstrike is the computer security firm hired by the DNC and is run by an antiRussian Ukrainian. Read more here:

  29. Anna says:

    “Neither Podesta nor Hillary Clinton are part of the government…”
    But the alleged “influence ” had happened BEFORE Donald Trump became a president. Whereas the well known cases of Russian bribing – like the $500.000 for Bill’s speech and the criminal tempering with emails (and getting $$millions from Saudis, the main sponsors of ISIS in the Middle East) — had happened when Mrs. Clinton was Sec of State, that is, when she and Podesta were part of the government.

  30. Dr.Puck says:

    Perhaps it is provisionally the case that between unelected actors and representatives there exists a kind of co-dependency?
    Another area of analysis would move from “shot calling” into linking concrete policy aspirations of representatives and parties with the specific goals various “deep state” players tend to seek.
    The standout goal could look like an outlier–as in the only one who could desire such a goal is a ‘deep stater.’

  31. mauisurfer says:

    Thanks OM
    learned a lot from you today

  32. Lars says:

    Yes, Donald Trump was elected, but the questions arise about he did so. The reality is that he was elected by a minority of the voters and his margins in the electoral college were razor thin. Since then, he seems to have trouble figuring out what it takes to be POTUS. There are serious allegations about how he got elected and that is now being investigated. I would suggest waiting on the results of that before making definite statements about it.

  33. Lars says:

    I would suggest, Anna, that your concerns are by now rather redundant.

  34. mauisurfer says:

    Ron Paul talks to RT:
    RT: Australia halted its cooperation. How significant is this development? Why did they do it?
    Ron Paul: I think that is good. Maybe wise enough, I wish we could do the same thing – just come home. It just makes no sense; there’s a mess over there. So many people are involved, the neighborhood ought to take care of it, and we have gone too far away from our home. It has been going on for too long, and it all started when Obama in 2011 said: “Assad has to go.” And now as the conditions deteriorate …it looks like Assad and his allies are winning, and the US don’t want them to take Raqqa. This just goes on and on. I think it is really still the same thing that Obama set up – “Get rid of Assad” and there is a lot of frustration because Assad is still around and now it is getting very dangerous, it is dangerous on both sides. One thing that I am concerned about – because I’ve seen it happen so often over the years are false flags. Some accidents happen. Even if it is an honest accident or it is deliberate by one side or the other to blame somebody. And before they stop and think about it, then there is more escalation. When our planes are flying over there and into airspace where we shouldn’t be, and we are setting up boundaries and say “don’t cross these lines or you will be crossing our territory.” We have no right to do this. We should mind our own business; we shouldn’t be over there, when we go over there and decide that we are going to take over, it is an act of aggression, and I am positively opposed to that. And I think most Americans are too if they get all the information they need.

  35. Anna says:

    “Had the FBI been ALLOWED to forensically investigate the DNC hack instead of relying on a compromised third party…”
    This is actually the most stunning fact about Clinton’s server. The state secrets have been compromised…. and nothing, just a “little help” from the second-rate and politically-compromised “third party” chaired by a rabid Russophobe of jewish ethnicity. How come that the FBI was not allowed to conduct a crucially important step of investigation that is related to state security? Looks and sounds like treason.

  36. Yeah, Right says:

    It is a fair point to suggest that we are being impatient for a “definitive report”, but this raises the question of how long we should patiently wait for a train that may not come.
    The October 2016 statement started with an expression of “confidence” that the Russian govt was responsible, which suggests that even then Clapper believed that his analysis would withstand scrutiny by sceptics.
    The longer it takes to release a definitive report then the more I am inclined to disbelieve that original avowal, and especially so when the January 2017 “backgrounder” landed with such a dull thud.
    So, sure, Clapper may know more now than he did then.
    Does that make him now “Super-Duper Confident”? Or does it make his “Confidence” of October 2016 little more than an act of hopeful bravado? Or even – gulp! – now utterly unfounded?
    I don’t know, but there has to come a point where we must conclude that the definitive report “probably will not see the light of day”. And that should be the moment when “Bullshit!” is called on the original allegation of Russian govt involvement.

  37. Old Microbiologist says:

    TimmyB, All true and yesterday they cancelled the testimony from several Trump campaign staff because they don’t want the truth to be revealed maybe ever. It is all part of a much larger game which I have never really understood.
    One central theme is any government or government leader who defies American hegemony (multi-polar verses unipolar world) or globalist verses nationalists is attacked on multiple fronts. The same is true if they decide to move away from using the US dollar as their reserve currency. This is what led to the removal of Saddam and Gaddafi among others. The amount of effort we put into removing these guys for something inevitable is amazing to me.
    Putin is among the more successful in that after the downfall of the Soviet Union the US globalists and US oligarchs went into Russia and basically raped the country as hard as they could for years. Putin has put an end to that effort although there are still 5th columnists among the sheep who still cause trouble. In this effort I think he made a decision early to defy the US attempts to completely own Russia (as they now own Ukraine). One can speculate how things would be there now if he hadn’t intervened.
    However, that is what he did and is now perpetually vilified and Russia is being attacked on all fronts. If one pays very close attention the jihadists are all funded by either the US directly or indirectly with US allies. I get suspicious when I see Saudi Arabia and Israel teaming up along with the US and completely defy all sovereign rights of nations. If you look back to the beginnings of the unrest in Syria you can sniff out the early and blatant efforts by the US to foment another color revolution is a secular and democratic nation. Russia intervened when it was obvious that the jihadists were about to win because once that is completed they move north to Russia and spread east to Iran. So, for Russia is was an imminent threat that all these jihadists would be used as tools by the US to attack Russia from the south. There are anti-Russian efforts now in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia plus the usual culprits of Canada, Germany, UK, etc. The continuous escalation of anti-R+6 efforts in Syria are an indication of where this is headed.
    I am amazed often how much control Putin has. If he were the dictator and thug that McCain claims him to be then McCain would have been assassinated a long time ago and we would have already entered WWIII. The man has an iron will to resist doing nasty things in a tit for tat basis.
    I do not know how good the Russian ABM systems are but I would guess they are superior to the US ones. If I were Putin I would already be very close to a preemptive strike just to eliminate the imminent threat of first strike by the US. However, it would have to be done carefully and would require the support of China which I suspect is the reason it hasn’t happened already. But, if the US keeps poking China as well as Russia and all the rest we are attacking ad libitum, then all bets are off.

  38. Tel says:

    That big blue “H” with the red arrow through the middle was a pretty well known Presidential campaign slogan.
    Given that none of us are on first name terms, I would say the “H” was probably intended to be a shorthand for “House Select Committee on Benghazi”.

  39. That was a mighty quick trial.

  40. Fred says:

    Yes, 304 electoral votes is thin. Right. That was bigger than JFK and Jimmy Carter’s margins but JFK only got in because of votes out of Chicago obtained in the same way as Hilary’s DNC votes in the 2016 primary. But lets keep investigating – only Trump of course. Wouldn’t wan’t to look at the obstruction of justice done by Hilary or her staff or AG Lynch and others in the prior administration. It’s only been 7 months and there’s nothing yet, better keep on investigating otherwise Trump might get some legislation passed. Can’t have that if you are the party that lost the election, had 60 members of the legislature boycott the inauguration and has had numerous other partisans stage both a “resistance” and agitate enough to influence an assassination attempt on members of the House whose party won the election.

  41. OM,
    It will take me some time to digest your fascinating account of the anthrax letters affair. (And incidentally, thanks also for the reference to the Abilene Paradox, of which I had not heard and which looks a very useful intellectual tool.)
    A couple of observations relating to the uses to which the anthrax letters affair was put.
    Among those who were chiefly responsible for exploiting it to contribute to the hysteria about Iraq were Brian Ross, who is apparently Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News, and Tom Mangold, who was a star producer on the BBC’s flagship ‘Panorama’ current affairs programme.
    (See ; .)
    I came across both later on, in another context.
    On 26 January 2007, Ross co-authored a report entitled ‘Murder in a Teapot’. It opened:
    ‘British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a “hot” teapot at London’s Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.
    ‘A senior official tells ABC News the “hot” teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko’s death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.’
    (See .)
    Actually, as the killing is supposed to have been on 1 November, it was more than six weeks.
    By trade, I was myself a generalist television and radio current affairs producer, although I have been out of the business a very long time.
    Had anyone spun me the story they spun Ross, I would have pointed out that the prompt interviewing of victims and others and identification of evidence is absolutely basic to any police inquiry. And I would have wanted an explanation of what would appear to be a complete absence of professionalism in Counter Terrorism Command.
    Meanwhile, in the evidence admitted into Sir Robert Owen’s Inquiry into Litvinenko’s death, one finds the transcript of a 16 December 2006 programme on BBC Radio presented by Mangold.
    In this, the former KGB operative Major Yuri Shvets, with assistance from the former FBI operative ‘Bobby’ Levinson, tells a pathetic story of how Litvinenko, forced into ‘due diligence’ work by poverty, uncovered terrible truths about the links between a figure close to Putin and organised crime, and in response had polonium put into his tea.
    (See .)
    What was – clearly deliberately – obscured was that at the time of the events, Litvinenko had been a agent, as distinct from informant, of MI6.
    Likewise, it was not revealed – although a simple Google search would have produced the information – that Shvets, then based at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Alexandria, Virginia had been a pivotal figure in transcribing and disseminating the ‘Melnichenko tapes’ which played a key role in the original ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine.
    As to Levinson, the following March, he would disappear on the Iranian island of Kish, on what was later revealed to be an undercover CIA operation. An earlier collaboration with Mangold had been in a ‘Panorama’ programme on the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich – with whom figures close to Trump are now portrayed as being associated.
    One interesting recent development is that it appears that we can now identify a key figure in creating the ineptly organised series of ‘information operations’ designed to obscure the true facts about how Litvinenko lived and died, which were continued in Owen’s farce of an Inquiry as Christopher Steele, who apparently headed MI6’s Russia Desk from 2004 to 2009.
    And he, of course, is credited as the author of the famous dossier published by ‘BuzzFeed’ in January, which is at the heart of the claims and counter-claims about supposed Russian interference in the Presidential election.
    Claims that Steele was Litvinenko’s ‘case officer’ have been repudiated, but he apparently ran the investigation into his death. So, it would appear likely, he must have been one of those responsible for the tissue of lies disseminated in the Mangold programme. Likewise, the delay in testing the ‘hot’ teapot should be shared between him and the police.
    It seems that, having done his best – although without success – to produce ‘régime change’ in Russia, has now been trying his hand in the United States. And, apparently, there are people who are as credulous about the garbage he is disseminating about Trump as Ross and Mangold were about that he was disseminating about Putin.
    I found it grimly humorous to discover that Steele is a former President of the Cambridge Union.
    A very wide variety of people come out of Cambridge, and Oxford, ranging from the admirable to the appalling. In general – and speaking from experience – people who have been involved in student politics and journalism should be regarded with caution. A rather good article dealing with Steele’s student career by Claudia Joseph in the ‘Mail’ in February illustrates rather well why he is a case in point. The man is clearly what we call in England a ‘twerp’.
    (See .)
    The fact that a figure so perfectly qualified by nature and experience to be a dirty little disinformation peddler was recruited, and promoted, by MI6 tells you a lot of what one needs to know about that organisation.
    Your account of the anthrax letters episode reinforces my suspicion that there have been a great many episodes in which ‘information operations’ of the kind in which it appears MI6 and the CIA have frequently collaborated have generated unintended consequences, so that there may be cupboards full of skeletons which need to be prevented from bursting out of the closet.

  42. Sam Peralta says:

    Old Microbiologist
    I am amazed often how much control Putin has. … The man has an iron will to resist doing nasty things in a tit for tat basis.
    I saw the interview with Putin by Oliver Stone that Col. Lang suggested. Very impressed with his restraint, control and discipline. Not to mention his knowledge of the issues and data. He is a serious leader. He took over the presidency when Russia was in chaos and look where it is now. The challenge for Russia will be to find an equally competent replacement.
    Compare him to the leaders our political process throws up. Who among the candidates for presidency from both parties in the last election holds a candle to Putin? We have been a classic bull in a china shop since the end of the Cold War. IMO, our destablization around the world will not end until we face a catastrophe. Hopefully for our grand-children it will not be like what Russia faced when the Soviet Union collapsed.

  43. Sam Peralta says:

    There’s a reason why some of us are big Ron Paul fans!

  44. Anna says:

    Please check the time of my posted”concern.” Moreover, before criticizing others for allegedly being late for the party, why don’t you think over your statements before posting them. Clinton was a Sec of State when collecting bribes from Russians and Saudis. By the way, does it bother you that the FBI was not allowed to look at Clinton’s email? What if there are evidences of “Russian influence” in these emails?

  45. ToivoS says:

    Thanks for that. I too worked with bacteria for many years. I had serious reasonable doubt about Iven’s guilt based on the FBI report. My reason was different from your much better ones. Indeed my serious doubt has now advanced into belief in innocence.
    Mine was based on the claim that Ivens used a microfuge to prepare the spores. If my understanding is correct that the suspect prepared gram quantities of the spores it is difficult to believe that anyone could have done that without attracting some attention. It would require, at a minimum, 100 runs and the extraction of sample from 1200 microfuge tubes. From the FBI report I saw no mention that his own lab was equipped to grow the 10 litres or more of the antrax culture. He would have had to use other lab space. It is difficult to hide that from co-workers even if he did work alone at night

  46. Keith Harbaugh says:

    WaPo has published an article:
    “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault”
    By Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, 2017-06-23

    Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House.
    Sent by courier from the CIA,
    it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people:
    President Barack Obama and three senior aides.
    Inside was an intelligence bombshell,
    a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government
    that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement
    in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.
    But it went further.
    The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions
    on the operation’s audacious objectives —
    defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton,
    and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

    Talk about codeword information!!!

    The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad.
    The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read.
    To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.

    So how did the information reach WaPo?

    Some of the most critical technical intelligence on Russia came from another country, officials said.
    Because of the source of the material, the NSA was reluctant to view it with high confidence.

  47. Chris Chuba says:

    “Some of the most critical technical intelligence on Russia [regarding the claim that Putin directed the 2016 election meddling]came from another country, officials said.
    Because of the source of the material, the NSA was reluctant to view it with high confidence.” [text added to provide context]

    Thank you for selecting this excerpt to the WaPo story. The heart and soul of this story is the addition that Putin himself directed the 2016 election interference and this Intelligence was derived from another country. I’d put my dollar on Ukraine. Notice how the NSA was the one agency that expressed skepticism, the NSA is a more recent bureaucracy and not yet infected by institutional Russophobia.
    The tone of the article as well as the reporting on it by CNN was quite irritating. For CNN’s own good, they should put in a 6mo moratorium on the use of the word ‘bombshell’. I was irritated because of the breathless recitation by the hosts and their lack of trying to reduce the story to its essential claims. They got caught up in the drama and fluff, especially BHO’s impersonation of Hamlet’s, ‘To be or not to be’ moment.

  48. Chris Chuba says:

    “Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow.”

    Here is another big ticket item from the article. So the Russians steal information and our response is to plant a cluster of stuxnets.
    1. Did Obama already tell this to the Russians or is this one of those leaks that harms us for political reasons?
    2. Outside of the U.S. doesn’t this make us look bad to the semi-neutral observer?
    This is a rather vague statement but leaves open the possibility that our response to the equivalent of stealing a few suitcases of private mails is to plant bombs in electrical plants, dams, train systems, … I don’t mean to be melodramatic but it’s not clear what this statement means.
    Okay, the Russians probably did hack into the voting machines but it has not been revealed if that was for active measures or just intelligence gathering. Perhaps they just wanted to embarrass us at a later date to claim that our elections are fraudulent as we routinely claim about theirs, don’t know.

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