that wapo story

WaPo Spy Fiction: Obama Admin ‘Choked’ as Russia Committed ‘Crime of the Century’
Ezra Dulis, Breitbart, Jun 23 2017

wapo

The WaPo awed the news world Friday morning with a monster “exclusive” story promising to reveal “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.” Instead, what it delivers is a magnum “Rusher” opus. For the uninitiated, “Rushers” are left-wing “Birthers,” ie partisans so devastated by an election loss that they have cooked up a conspiracy that if proven would force the winner out of office and undo all of his executive actions. Birthers believed that Barack Obama would be proven constitutionally ineligible to serve as president if they could prove he was born in Kenya. Rushers believe that Donald Trump will be impeached and prosecuted for treason because he is a secret operative for Pres Putin. Whereas mainstream conservatism disavowed Birthers, the institutional left has embraced the Rusher conspiracy. Senior Congress critturs and journalists remain true believers. The Rusher narrative has dominated the WaPo‘s reporting since Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Along with laughable fake stories such as that “Russian hackers penetrated Vermont electricity grid” or Adam Entous, an author on Friday’s piece, interpreting a joke by Rep Kevin McCarthy as a real scoop, the WaPo has advanced the story with breathless innuendo about Trump and his associates, printed allegations from sources that they have no means to confirm, and often caveated tantalizing headlines with reminders that there is no evidence of any crime (or that the current scandal is not illegal).

The new WaPo piece, with the triple byline of Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Entous, plus contributions from Karen DeYoung and Julie Tate, bears all the marks of the Rusher genre. It reaffirms that Russia did not alter any votes in the 2016 election (almost 100 paragraphs in!), misleads about the FBI’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and fixates the bureaucratic process behind the Obama White House’s public statements and sanctions. While casting several top Obama officials as heroic and aggressive (eliminating much doubt as to who the cited “officials” are), the report laments that the previous administration’s efforts against Russia were too little, too late. Naturally, many purportedly objective reporters celebrated the article as important and “powerful”:

The primary takeaways from the article, based on progressive responses:

  1. Obama was too moderate and cautious, just like he always was as president, and Russia won’t suffer proportional consequences for its heinous crime.
  2. Obama “approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated.” Liberal journalists are impressed, but they worry Trump will back off from using Obama’s “cyber weapon.”
  3. Sen Mitch McConnell did not buy the intelligence suggesting that Russia was trying to undermine the election and dragged his feet on making a public statement as the campaign got into gear last September. The rabid left has been calling McConnell a “traitor” because of this, yet the piece elsewhere admits that “some of the most critical technical intelligence on Russia came from another country,” making the NSA “reluctant to view it with high confidence.”

In the Rusher mind, the 8,000 words padding out these inconsequential revelations are evidence of the story’s consequence and, if you dare to slog through the whole thing, the paper throws in a slew of eyeroll-worthy outbursts revealing how many arguable conclusions these “objective” reporters have accepted as gospel. “Crime Of The Century” is the phrase that Blue Check Mark Twitter has picked up widely, treating it as an established fact, as though putting a hot take inside a long-form news piece makes it not a hot take:

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on Pindosi democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

The piece oozes with innuendo that Russian hackers may have manipulated votes on Election Day. The authors quote Michael Daniel, cyber-security coordinator at the White House, saying:

We feared scenarios such as disrupting the voter rolls, deleting every 10th voter, or flipping two digits in everybody’s address.

They then state that:

Jeh Johnson tried to shore up the security of the nation’s archaic patchwork of voting systems (but) some state officials (began) calling it a federal takeover.

Later on, the piece reverses the meaning of its loaded language, citing the “patchwork nature” of voting systems as a defense against interference:

The patchwork nature of Pindostan’s 3,000 or so voting jurisdictions would make it hard for Russia to swing the outcome, but Moscow could still sow chaos.

Ultimately, the reporters admit that not a single vote was altered, but that information is buried in the 96th paragraph:

Despite the dire warnings, there were no meltdowns in the United States’ voting infrastructure on Nov.8, no evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or ma­nipu­la­tion of vote counts.

The possible sources for the story become quite obvious, as the authors give glowing depictions of key characters again and again. The authors open the story with the claim that former DCI Brennan first informed Obama that Putin personally ordered operations to hurt Clinton and help Trump, and that Brennan went to great lengths (“an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions”) to prevent leaks and demonstrate the severity of the situation. He later “moved swiftly” to meet with Congress critturs about this grave threat. and was the first White House official to give a “blunt” warning to Russia’s FSB. Jackass Kerry gets several moments in the spotlight, too. This one sentence says it all:

Often perceived as reluctant to confront Russia, in part to preserve his attempts to negotiate a Syria peace deal, Kerry was at critical moments one of the leading hawks.

And, worst of all, Susan Rice comes across as a powerful heroine, cutting through the BS and pushing Obama toward the right decisions. One anonymous source quotes her as “cutting off” the objections of other administration officials:

We’re not talking anymore! We’re acting!

Rice, the WaPo writes in transparent awe, “moved swiftly” through proposals on the response to Russia. Rice also pushed other Obama officials to be bold, the story says. We are told:

Rice challenged (the men) to go to the ‘max of their comfort zones.’

Apparently, she was the one who convinced McCabe to go along with plans to seize two Russian compounds in Pindostan. She reportedly told him:

You guys have been begging to do this for years. Now is your chance.

Unsurprisingly, the authors interviewed Rice’s deputy Ben Rhodes on the record for this piece. Also unsurprisingly, it completely omits the investigation into her “unmasking” of Pindo citizens in surveillance recordings, an act that Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake condemned as “what police states do.” The authors say Pres Trump “has denied any collusion” with Russia during the campaign, omitting the multiple Obama Cabinet members who have publicly statedor testified under oath that there is no evidence of collusion or, for the sake of hair-splitting, conceding that the FBI probe is investigating potential “coordination,” not collusion. And, of course, in the same breath, the authors mention the unconfirmed claim put out by anonymous sources through the WaPo that Pres Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Nothing quite illustrates Rusher fantasies than the WaPo‘s breathless reporting on special counsel Robert Mueller. There is no evidence of Trump’s campaign colluding with Russia, but the investigation goes on because Russia Must Pay. Also, Trump could be taken down by conversations with law enforcement officials that could be interpreted as putting pressure on the investigation (but not really), even though the parties in those conversations have testified under oath that those conversations did not hinder or affecttheir investigations. The good news is: Now that this massive long read is out of the way, it will only get harder for the Rushers to up the ante and keep even die-hard Resisters interested in the story.

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