‘Clinton quite effective at discrediting herself, doesn’t need Putin’s help’ – ex CIA analyst
RT.com, Jan 7 2017
The main goal of the whole “Russian hacking” Pindosi election narrative is a propaganda stunt aimed at discrediting Trump by claiming that Putin personally intervened to discredit Hillary Clinton, said retired CIA analyst Larry Johnson. He told RT:
It’s designed to smear Trump. Because even the language that developed the notion that Vladimir Putin took it upon himself and instructed the intelligence organs in Russia to go out and discredit Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton didn’t need any help being discredited, she was quite effective at it herself. It was not Vladimir Putin that put the email server in her bathroom (actually in a broom closet in a small local ISP, IIRC – RB). It was not Vladimir Putin who told Hillary Clinton to use a private email account and conduct Pindosi government business over that account and to share classified information. And her repeated lying about it. The fact that you would just focus a story on it somehow makes you an agent of Vladimir Putin. This thing is so ridiculous. It’s amusing we have talk about, but it’s so serious because it shows just the level that the intelligence community in Pindostan has fallen to. They are playing and interfering in domestic policies. I don’t think they’re hiding anything because they don’t have anything. These are ‘or and how’ intelligence estimates as opposed to an intelligence analysis based on fact. There’s no fact underlying this. There are analytical assumptions. You can tell that because whenever they use the language like ‘we assess that’ or ‘we believe that’ or ‘it’s likely that.’ That means they don’t know, because if you knew, you could say … in public ‘according to multiple sources we know that.’ You state facts. This thing it’s a joke. If I’m a Russian intelligence analyst, with one of your intelligence services, I would be suspicious and think ‘What are the Americans up to? They really can’t be this stupid.’ And let me just reassure the folks on your side of the ledger: yeah, they actually are.
When the intelligence community raises such assumptions, it should be really confident and unanimous about them. It was, however, only somewhat coordinated within three of the agencies, namely FBI, CIA and NSA, according to Johnson. He told RT:
It was only CIA and FBI that ‘strongly agree’ but the NSA, who’s the only one in that group that would actually have the physical evidence of the hacking, if that existed… took a middle of the road position.
The whole situation around the “hacking” report gives an impression of a well-staged spectacle, Johnson believes. He told RT:
Yesterday, the Arms Services Committee in the Senate holds a hearing alleging Russian hacking, about when hacks took place domestically in the United States and that Arms Services has no jurisdiction over intel side. That was entirely a propaganda ploy, and not a single journalist in the major outlets over here raised questions about that, it was an observed performance.
The attack on Russian media and RT specifically, undertaken in the report despite its theme supposedly being the “hacking,” is quite understandable, according to Johnson, and emanates from hostility toward actually objective news coverage and jealousy towards RT being capable of such journalism.
Because you’re actually a more objective news channel than Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the main stream media here in this country. I say that sincerely. I was a Fox News analyst, I’ve been on ABC, CBS, NBC, all of the cable channels … and I discovered that the kind of bias and propaganda they’ re accusing RT of engaging in is in fact what they themselves are doing.
The Big Lie on Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Pindosi Elections
Larry Johnson, No Quarter (blog), Jan 6 2017
The much ballyhooed unclassified report, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Pindostani Elections, was published today and it turns out to be an elaborate farce and charade. This product is shameful. It is poorly written and totally lacking in actual evidence. This document stands as a prime exhibit of the politicization of the intelligence community. Let’s start with this fun fact. In early October, DNI Clapper claimed there was consensus in the intelligence community. On Oct 7, the DHS and ODNI issued a joint statement on behalf of the Pindostani Intelligence Community, which is made up of 16 agencies coordinated by the ODNI. It said:
The Pindostani Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from Pindo persons and institutions, including from Pindo 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 Pindo election process.
But today’s report only reflects the consensus of the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. That’s according to the “Scope and Sourcing” portion of the report:
This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among the CIA, the FBI and the NSA, which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.
What happened to the other 13 members of the so-called Intelligence Community? For example, what about the State Dept’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)? They are a key part of the analytical portion of the Intelligence Community, and they have real, actual Russian experts! And why was the DIA excluded? One of the supposed bad Russian actors in this hacking fiasco is the GRU, the Russian military version of the CIA! That is a prime target that DIA analysts follow! They are the experts! But they apparently were not given the chance to concur. Or maybe they declined to do so, out of embarrassment over the amateur quality of the work). I would encourage you to go back and read the unclassified (censored) version of the 2002 NIE on Iraq’s WMD Programs. Then take a look at the recently declassified (uncensored) version of the NIE. To obtain a judgement representing the Intelligence Community, one agency is designated to write the “Estimate” or “Assessment” and then circulate that document to the other agencies for their comments and concurrence. But there is no obligation to agree. In fact, the other agencies can disagree. The following is an example of a disputed “Judgment” from the 2002 NIE on Iraq:
We judge that Iraq has continued its WMD programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has CBW as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade. (See INR alternative view at the end of these Key Judgments.)
Now take a look at one of the “Judgments” from today’s disgraceful report:
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help Pres-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Sec Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
Ignore the terrible writing for a moment, and focus instead on the curious last sentence. Why did the CIA and FBI have “HIGH” confidence, while NSA is only at “MODERATE”? The answer is simple. There is no concrete evidence backing this up. It is nothing more than subjective judgment. When I was an analyst, I had to be very clear in ensuring my reader, the President, would know what was a fact based on sources, and what was a judgment or opinion. If you read through the entirety of this DNI Assessment you will not find one shred of actual evidence showing that Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the Pindosi presidential election.” There is no evidence. That is why the entire report repeats the phrase, “WE ASSESS.” That is intel speak for opinion. Go back and look at the 2002 unclassified (censored) paper on Iraq’s WMD programs. At least that paper, though subsequently proven wrong, had a lot of facts. It just goes to show that, even with supposedly hard evidence, the Intel Community can and did get it wrong. Most of the assessments are laughable. Consider the following claim regarding Russia’s intent:
Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the Pindo democratic process, denigrate Sec Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess (that) Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for Pres-elect Trump.
And how was Russia going to undermine “Public Faith” in our democratic process? By stealing emails that exposed the true behind-the-scenes political scheming and machinations by the DNC and Hillary’s campaign. Nothing destroys one’s faith in our “democratic” process more quickly than learning that Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to rig the primaries against Bernie Sanders. In other words, those crafty Rooskies were going to flood Pindostan with truth. Oh yeah, they also wanted to “denigrate Sec Clinton.” I am still trying to figure out how Vladimir Putin and his intel goons managed to get Hillary to install a private server and pass top secret information over her private email system. I would really like to know how Putin got CNN to put up the following story about Hillary’s emails:
News broke in March that Clinton used personal email addresses connected to a privately-owned server, rather than a government email, during her four years as Pres Obama’s first-term Sec State. Some previous Secs State, including Colin Powell, have also used private email accounts, but Clinton’s approach was particularly controversial because it’s out of step with typical government practice now and gave Clinton a major measure of control over what remains private and what’s public. Clinton’s lawyers turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Dept, and the Dept has since processed those, releasing some at the end of each month under a judge’s orders. But she didn’t hand in the server itself until last month, after five months of intense scrutiny over whether she flouted transparency laws or put government secrets at risk.
Let me suggest an alternative hypothesis: Hillary did not need any outsider to lead the charge in denigrating her. She was doing enough damage to herself on her own. Just when you think this ODNI product had probed the depths of the ridiculous, it takes us into a new dimension of the absurd: an English-language Russian TV channel helped swing the election for Trump:
The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks. RT’s editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in Aug 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become “the only Russian media company” to partner with WikiLeaks and had received access to “new leaks of secret information.” RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to denounce Pindostan. Russia’s state-run propaganda machine, comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls, contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.
This is ROFL territory, folks. Please explain to me how a TV station that 99% of Pindosis know nothing about, which hardly appears on anyone’s cable, unless you have Direct TV, became such a powerful platform that public opinion was turned against Hillary? Full disclosure: I appear from time to time on RT, where I am asked for my opinion on things like Syria and Pindosi policy. RT producers have never told me what to say or ruled any topic out of bounds, unlike the time I was a Fox News analyst. The actual truth with respect to the media coverage of Hillary is that she was given a pass, compared to the verbal lashings meted out on Trump by the various media outlets. The Media Research Center has actual data comparing the treatment of Hillary with that of Trump:
The results show neither candidate was celebrated by the media as Obama was in 2008, but network reporters went out of their way to hammer Trump day after day, while Clinton was largely out of their line of fire. Our analysts found 184 opinionated statements about Hillary Clinton, split between 21% positive vs 79% negative. Those same broadcasts included 684 opinionated statements about Donald Trump, more than three times as many, 91% of which were negative vs just 9% positive. Even when they were critical of Hillary Clinton, for concealing her pneumonia or mischaracterizing the FBI investigation of her e-mail server network, for example, reporters always maintained a respectful tone in their coverage. As for those “horse-race” assessments that we excluded from our “good press/bad press” measure, those were decidedly anti-Trump as well. Out of 569 such statements about the health or prospects of Trump’s campaign, 85% (486) were negative, vs 15% (83) that were positive. For Clinton, the spin was reversed: out of 432 assessments of her status in the race, 62% (268) were positive, vs just 38% (164) that were negative. Thus, judging by their own coverage, network reporters have consistently painted Clinton as the most likely to win, but they have inexplicably spent most of their time trying to dismantle the underdog in the race, while giving the frontrunner much lighter scrutiny. Overall, the networks spent about 40% more airtime covering Trump (785 minutes) than they did on Clinton (478 minutes). Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received just over 9 minutes of coverage, while Green candidate Jill Stein and independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin each received less than 1 minute of airtime.
As noted above, more than half of Trump’s coverage (440 minutes, or 56%) focused on the various controversies surrounding his candidacy, while only about 38 percent of Clinton’s airtime was spent on her controversies (185 minutes). It was not anything that Russia allegedly did or did not do that beat Hillary. It was Hillary that beat Hillary. The sudden obsession of Democrats and most pundits with blaming a Russian information operation for Trump’s victory and Hillary’s demise is not rooted in actual facts. The DNI report, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Pindostani Elections, is nothing more than a travesty. A poorly-designed and executed attempt by DNI Clapper and DCI Brennan to try to delegitimize the Presidency of Donald Trump. I would call it an attempted Intel Community Coup. Cleaning up this nonsense must be a first priority for Trump after taking the oath of office.