Streetwise Professor

January 6, 2017

Send in the Clowns: The “Intelligence Community’s” Wikipedia Page on Russian Attempts to Influence the 2016 Election

Filed under: History,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:30 pm

The “intelligence community’s” serial effort to beclown and degrade itself reached a new low today with the release of the much touted report that we were breathlessly told would prove that Russia (a) hacked the DNC and Podesta, (b) provided this information to Wikileaks, and (c) did so with the specific intent of securing a Trump victory (or, a Hillary defeat). It did none of these things. If anything, this report was less substantive than the one that was previously released.

As an indication that even the IC is hardly proud of this effort, the report was released exactly at the time you would do so with the intent of burying it: late in the afternoon of a Friday. Apparently even the FBI, CIA, DNI, etc., are ashamed for prostituting themselves to Hillary, the DNC, and the lame duck administration.

One thing that had been promised–by leaks, of course–that the report did not deliver was the identity of the party who delivered the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks:

US intelligence has identified the go-betweens the Russians used to provide stolen emails to WikiLeaks, according to US officials familiar with the classified intelligence report that was presented to President Barack Obama on Thursday.

So why didn’t the public report name names? And don’t tell me that the IC is loath to disclose such information for fear that it would compromise precious methods and sources. In the past, the government has determined that a hacking offense was so egregious that naming and shaming–and indeed indicting–was necessary. In 2014, the government indicted Chinese military personnel that it alleged had hacked private US corporations. It took this measure precisely because it believed that this was necessary to deter future such acts:

“This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represents the first ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.  “The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response.  Success in the global market place should be based solely on a company’s ability to innovate and compete, not on a sponsor government’s ability to spy and steal business secrets.  This Administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market.”

“For too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries,” said FBI Director James B. Comey.  “The indictment announced today is an important step.  But there are many more victims, and there is much more to be done.  With our unique criminal and national security authorities, we will continue to use all legal tools at our disposal to counter cyber espionage from all sources.”

“State actors engaged in cyber espionage for economic advantage are not immune from the law just because they hack under the shadow of their country’s flag,” said John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.  “Cyber theft is real theft and we will hold state sponsored cyber thieves accountable as we would any other transnational criminal organization that steals our goods and breaks our laws.”

“This 21st century burglary has to stop,” said David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  “This prosecution vindicates hard working men and women in Western Pennsylvania and around the world who play by the rules and deserve a fair shot and a level playing field.”

The administration has represented that what transpired in 2016 was far worse than what the Chinese did. So why no indictment? Why no names? The double standard here is flagrant.

It gets better. Earlier this year the US indicted two Russians, and the FBI admitted it had reverse hacked into Russian computers. Or better yet, it indicted seven Iranians allegedly members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in March. At the time, Reuters characterized this as part of an administration policy to confront publicly foreign state hackers. And check out what our soon-to-be-erstwhile Attorney General said at the time:

“An important part of our cyber security practice is to identify the actors and to attribute them publicly when we can,” Lynch said Thursday. “We do this so that they know they cannot hide.”

“An important part of your cyber security practice is to identify the actors and to attribute them publicly when we can.” That was then, this is now, apparently.

As for what is in the report, well, there is nothing, really. There are five pages of ex cathedra assertions of “assessments” that Russia intervened in the election with the intent of aiding Trump/hurting Hillary. These are mere appeals to authority, with zero–literally no–supporting factual evidence. (And even these appeals to authority are hedged with caveats that intelligence judgments can be wrong. Believe us. We know.)

At times the report descends to farce. It cites the fact that Russian information/propaganda outlets attacked Hillary and appealed to the Trump constituency as evidence of Russian intent to sway the election. But it also states that Russian reticence in explicitly supporting Trump is also evidence of the very same intent:

  • Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States.

When diametrically opposed facts are used to support the same conclusion, you know you are not dealing with an intellectually serious, and intellectually honest, attempt to find the truth. You are dealing a hack job intended to reach a pre-determined conclusion.

Astoundingly, the report’s discussion of the events of 2016 consumes an entire five pages (and even that is padded), but its analysis of RT runs for seven. Apparently Captain Obvious obtained his commission in the intelligence services, and was seconded to write this report, because reading it you’ll learn that RT is a Russian propaganda outlet that has taken an anti-US line for years. Who knew? Did you know that? I surely didn’t!

I did, actually. In fact, I should sue the IC for plagiarism, because to support its case of Russian attempts to influence US politics it notes that RT was an early mouthpiece for the Occupy movement, precisely because of a desire to sow dissension in the US. Which I pointed out in November, 2011.

For this the CIA needs a black budget of tens of billions of dollars?

And citing Zhirinovsky as some representative of official Russian policy? Are you kidding me.?The man is a buffoon who provides Putin with a useful foil, and as an outlet for the whackier nationalist fringe.

There is no secret that Putin views the US as an adversary, and arguably an enemy. He likely does so because he actually believes it. He also likely does so because it is useful for domestic political reasons. Regardless, this is not news.

And it provides only the sketchiest circumstantial case in support of the allegation of a hack of emails, released via Wikileaks, undertaken at Putin’s direct order to interfere with the 2016 election.

I have an open mind. I am perfectly willing to evaluate fairly a serious case, backed by evidence. This is what I do for a living. I obviously have no illusions about Putin, or RT, or Zhirinovsky, so I am clearly not predisposed to take their side. But this report provides no evidence to support its sweeping “assessments.” It is little more than a Wikipedia page. It is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

Furthermore, it is being used to call into question the results of the election, and thereby undermine the legitimacy of the incoming president. This is a very serious–even grave–action that should only be undertaken with great caution. It is imperative to provide real evidence. Indeed, given the serious implications of these assertions, it would be defensible, and even necessary, to disclose some of the classified information supporting the “assessments” laid out in the report.

The failure even to pretend to present a serious case is an affront to the American people which actually trivializes the very serious allegations that have been made. It is quite befitting a low, dishonest administration unable to depart with grace, dignity, and honor, and respect for the electorate.

 

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37 Comments »

  1. “Apparently even the FBI, CIA, DNI, etc., are ashamed for prostituting themselves to Hillary, the DNC, and the lame duck administration.”

    Yeah, but why? Why are they doing this? What’s in it for them in pretending to support the Dems’ hysterical delusion that ‘Dem damn Russkies done it’ ?

    Comment by Ex-Regulator on Lunch Break — January 7, 2017 @ 4:13 am

  2. As an intelligence report it would seem to be pathetic. As part of an attempt at a long, slow coup d’état, however, it might yet succeed. Though I suppose they’ll tire of all this stuff in the end and just shoot the fellow. No wonder he intends to keep some security men on his own payroll.

    Comment by dearieme — January 7, 2017 @ 5:56 am

  3. No worries the internet cavalry has arrived. McCain is consulting with Soros to get to the bottom of Russian hacking efforts to install an imposter in place of Hillary. Soros also surely has information about Russian success in installing Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, City Councilman, School Boards, Sheriffs, State Senators, State Representatives, Judges, Justices, County Attorneys, Tax Assessors, County Commissioners, Constables, etc that are too stupid to embrace the Progressive vision. Damn Russian hackers have infiltrated every aspect of our lives and taken control of our minds and only Soros and McCain and the CIA are in a position to save us now.

    My view is that it is not a matter of psychology but an ideological commitment to the Progressive vision of remaking the world in accordance with their higher principles. It looks more like a fight to the death at this time then a political debate.

    Comment by pahoben — January 7, 2017 @ 8:03 am

  4. Assange is a Russian stooge and Wikileaks is a GRU front. I’m sure you would have agreed with this only a year ago!

    Comment by aaa — January 7, 2017 @ 9:07 am

  5. “And don’t tell me that the IC is loath to disclose such information for fear that it would compromise precious methods and sources. In the past, the government has determined that a hacking offense was so egregious that naming and shaming–and indeed indicting–was necessary. In 2014, the government indicted Chinese military personnel that it alleged had hacked private US corporations.”

    Huh. Considering that this is a much wider-scale operation directly targeting the most fundamental parts of the US democratic “infrastructure,” and that it’s an ongoing operation and investigation and countermeasures are being applied (according to Obama), is it not even remotely possible that a) this is being considered a military and not a civilian operation, and therefore indictments may not be the natural consequence, and/or b) the indictments may be coming later?

    considering how open minded you say you are and appear to be, the contemptuous attitude you display here toward the IC is worrying. Do you really think the only alternative story–that all 17 intelligence agencies have knowingly and willingly developed and publicly released a false story for an end goal that is nearly impossible to define (what? “delegitimize” Trump? “force” Trump to start a war that neither Trump nor the GOP-controlled Congress will endorse?) is a more plausible story than the official one? That’s what gets me. I find it far more credible that the IC is deliberately releasing what it can while performing an ongoing investigation and countermeasures, than that the entire IC would engage in some massive, partisan conspiracy whose benefits to anybody are vague beyond belief. And yes, the Iraq war run-up is a good comparison, because the differences between the way that happened and what’s going on now far outweigh the similarities. Among other things, there were persistent leaks from inside the IC that there were no WMDs in Iraq–where are the internal leaks now saying that the IC has concocted this story whole cloth?

    And how do those explain the many, weird alliances between Trump and members of his team with Russia, and so on?

    So far, Occam’s razor points very strongly toward the IC believing its story is true and having more evidence than it can publicly share, than to any alternative.

    Comment by not assange — January 7, 2017 @ 9:51 am

  6. Interesting primer on “Zombification” — which is what malign forces are doing to us via media.
    http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/930486

    Comment by Mudak — January 7, 2017 @ 10:13 am

  7. I had not heard of Edward Hunter before. He sounds fascinating … though probably easily dismissed by leftists who paint HUAC as nutters.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Hunter_(U.S._journalist)

    Comment by Mudak — January 7, 2017 @ 10:15 am

  8. Professor,
    I realize ZH isn’t un-biased, but they point out 2 intermediaries who gave info to WL. Did you not have this info?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-06/here-us-intelligence-report-accusing-putin-ordering-campaign-influence-us-election

    Comment by Mudak — January 7, 2017 @ 10:46 am

  9. Excuse me but is this the same Clapper who testified before Congress that the NSA was not collecting data on US citizens. The guy that oversaw satellite intelligence during Gulf War and who stated unquestionably that Iraq hid ther WMD inventory in Syria. The Clapper that testified that the Muslim Brotherhood was a beneficent organization in the ME.

    He is a political hack. He was a tool for Rumsfeld and is a tool for Obama and has the job in fact because he is master of concocting fake news on demand.

    Comment by pahoben — January 7, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

  10. Can you imagine a serial liar before Congress now being hailed as the Oracle protecting us from Kremlin mind control.

    I read somewhere a few days ago if the election was swayed by Russian hackers then they deserve the Medal of Freedom.

    In fact Trump won the election because a sizable percentage of the population are sick of Globalization and Progressive and Neocon bullshit. They realize the future for the average US citizen is bleak if the clowns in DC are allowed to continue their routine with dogs and ponies.

    To trivialize this widespread concern of the average citizen for the future of themselves and their children by claiming the election results were due to a Putin con is an outrage that can have no positive outcome.

    Comment by pahoben — January 7, 2017 @ 1:54 pm

  11. Clapper could testify that Brexit and the vote in Italy were also due to Russian Hackers and then depend on him to explain future anti Globalization votes as Kremlin cons.

    Comment by pahoben — January 7, 2017 @ 2:08 pm

  12. Shrug. @not assange, “Considering that this is a much wider-scale operation directly targeting the most fundamental parts of the US democratic “infrastructure,””… you mean third tier phishing for naughty emails that a teenager could have pulled off? Or do you have super secret evidence of hacked voting machines?

    Yet again, this remains a non-story story. It’s trivially obvious that Putin and by extension RT etc supported Trump. Furthermore, it was obvious then and it remains obvious now that any hacking done by Russians didn’t explicitly contravene Putin’s views and was likely done with at least tacit support. Is it surprising that Trump would generally support Russia and that he would choose individuals with a good relationship with the country? No, that’s why Putin supported him in the first place and it doesn’t appear to be a newfound position.

    What’s bizarre is how these trivialities have been spun as a large scale conspiracy to install a Russian puppet in the White House and have dominated the media cycle. Again, nothing from what the intelligence community has released is information that a thoughtful person couldn’t have figured out in September merely from reading the newspaper. So why exactly is everyone wasting time on this?

    Comment by FTR — January 7, 2017 @ 3:13 pm

  13. “why exactly is everyone wasting time on this?” So that when ‘they’ shoot Trump they can blame it on Putin who will have allegedly been disappointed with Trump’s spirited independence of thought.

    Comment by dearieme — January 7, 2017 @ 4:06 pm

  14. Looking at Clapper’s resume, typical AF crunchie–basic midsole badge, basic officer aircrew badge (didn’t know we had those), moves every couple of years. Definitely made his 3-buttons by leaving no tracks in snow.

    Comment by The Pilot — January 7, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

  15. KGB information war expert blames Peter the Great for creating an internationalist/globalist elite which led to ….. the Bank of England?!
    Is this the Russian Lyndon LaRouche? Would love to hear your comments, Professor!
    http://rurik-l.livejournal.com/1939014.html

    Also on this:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/07/inside-the-kgb-playbook-to-recruit-americans.html?via=desktop&source=twitter

    Comment by Mudak — January 7, 2017 @ 11:08 pm

  16. @Pilot
    Funny career summary.

    After Dan Quayle and John Roberts and James Clapper I hope Indiana produced better with Mike Pence.

    Comment by pahoben — January 8, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

  17. @Mudak-That Panarin interview was enormously entertaining. I really liked the part about Turks from the Khazar Khanate converting to Judaism, going to Venice and Genoa, and funding the Crusaders who sacked Constantinople. That is a theory usually associated with anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, and I will note that Panarin gets it wrong: he claims that the Khazars were the origin of Sephardic Jews, whereas the allegation is usually that they formed the core of Ashkenazi Jews.

    The obsession with Britain is also strange, at this time. I guess you could argue that London is the center of world finance, but other than that Britain is a geopolitical pipsqueak. Planarian’s obsession is an atavism.

    The Carthage-Rome/UK (or US)-Russia analogy is a staple of the Eurasianist loons. (Another is the Athens-Sparta/UK(US)-Russia comparison.) The evil thalossocracy vs. the virtuous tellurocracy.

    The Peter the Great (or Not!) part was also amusing. Damn those English for financing the war that allowed Peter to beat the Swedes! Like other Eurasianists, Panarin objects to Peter’s westernizing orientation, and would prefer that Russia would have remained pure and untainted by evil western ideals if it had been confined to the steppes, rather than opened a window to the West.

    In other words, Panarin is a typical Slavophile, Eurasianist, anti-westernizer who recycles the conspiracy theories that these types have been expounding for years. He is definitely not original. The only real question is how much influence his type has, and how much Putin and other people that matter believe these ravings. I doubt that they do, though they might give lip service.

    As for Michael Weiss. . . I much prefer Panarin. At least he is entertaining. Weiss just regurgitates every Soviet spy story. Is it news that the USSR, and subsequently the Russian Federation, have engaged in extensive espionage, with considerable success?

    This raises a point that I’ve meant to address, which is that nothing that transpired in 2016 represents a major change in Russian behavior. Indeed, nothing that has alleged to have happened in 2016 (but which has not been proved) represents a major change. So why, after being ignored or minimized forever, has it become such a huge issue? For two reasons only: defeated Democrats are desperate for an explanation of their own failure, and a means to undermine Trump.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 8, 2017 @ 7:25 pm

  18. “the allegation is usually that they formed the core of Ashkenazi Jews”: indeed, and DNA studies apparently prove the proposition wrong. But the same studies do purportedly show that Khazar males form a large part of the ancestry of Ashkenazi Levites. I don’t know much about Jewry: does that claim make much sense?

    Comment by dearieme — January 9, 2017 @ 5:44 am

  19. Спасибо, Профессор!

    Comment by Mudak — January 9, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

  20. >> For two reasons only: defeated Democrats are desperate for an explanation of their own failure, and a means to undermine Trump.

    But isn’t “too little too late and for the wrong reasons” actually the best performance one can realistically hope for from [contemporary] politicians? Will Trumpinterventionism be less insane than Obamacare? What will post-Trump “repeal and replace” for trade wars look like? Not so obvious.

    Comment by Ivan — January 10, 2017 @ 1:29 am

  21. Zhirinovsky proposals-

    Send the Russian Army to the south and shoot all birds that could migrate North carrying bird flu. Eliminate all of the dirty tweeters.

    Take Alaska by force and use it store the Ukrainians

    Change gravity to make the US sink and be rid of all the non heterosexuals

    Women to accept the fact that all the world’s problems are because of them and so he ignores his wife and his wife therefore hates him

    Comment by pahoben — January 11, 2017 @ 4:09 am

  22. This is getting curiouser and curiouser. Can you imagine all the money that goes to intelligence and the product is a 4Chan hoax.

    Comment by pahoben — January 11, 2017 @ 2:30 pm

  23. It’s a cunning plan, pahoben, to make the CIA, FBI, and NSA look like utter chumps. A fox, is Mr Putin.

    Comment by dearieme — January 11, 2017 @ 3:54 pm

  24. The FBI, CIA, NSA are to look foolish, like Bertie Wooster; Putin is to look sagacious, like Jeeves.

    Comment by dearieme — January 12, 2017 @ 8:13 am

  25. @dearieme & @pahoben Maybe this is part of a devious CIA plot to *look* incompetent, thereby lulling Putin into a false sense of security, or to mess with his head (“they can’t be that incompetent: what are they up to????”) 😛

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 12, 2017 @ 10:31 am

  26. ah – this is like Spy v Spy, like in Mad Magazine

    Comment by elmer — January 12, 2017 @ 11:01 am

  27. @elmer-Very good comparison!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 12, 2017 @ 11:07 am

  28. @Professor
    I can imagine Zhirinvsky scratching his head and thinking, “Jeez what’s so bad about having a couple hookers urinate on your bed?”

    Comment by pahoben — January 12, 2017 @ 1:37 pm

  29. @Professor
    I can imagine Zhirinovsky scratching his head and thinking, “Jeez what’s so bad about having a couple hookers urinate on your bed?”

    Comment by pahoben — January 12, 2017 @ 1:39 pm

  30. I can imagine Putin reading the report and saying Oh…My…God. This is like the funniest surveillance report like…ever.

    If he did it unless I underestimate Trump he must have had help coming up with the concept.

    Comment by pahoben — January 12, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

  31. Putin would never ever see this as Komprimat-inconceivable.

    Comment by pahoben — January 12, 2017 @ 2:22 pm

  32. Only an idiot Progressive would consider that the Russians would consider this Komprimat. Just the opposite you of so high intellect.

    Comment by pahoben — January 12, 2017 @ 2:41 pm

  33. yes, let us now examine the Holy and Sacred Obligation of the Media to report the “news”

    let us see how Ben Smith, from BuzzardFeed, buried a story about No Drama Commie Obama, money from Saudis, and mentorship by a commie. After all, as the article says, he had a prez to elect – now he is in the hit parade against the prez-elect:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/01/time_for_a_look_back_at_buzzfeed_ben_smiths_biggest_fail.html

    Personal, I am enjoying how the media are Golden Showering all over themselves about the Golden Shower Dossier.

    The Clinton News Network and Wolf Blitzkrieg are so tightly puckered up that I think they will explode at any moment.

    They are beside themselves trying to convince people that the Clinton News Network met its Holy and Sacred Obligation by “reporting” that the prez and the prez-elect had been “briefed” about the Golden Shower Dossier – which has proven to be grossly false, and full of holes.

    Except that Trump was not briefed. And the Dossier is false.

    That doesn’t stop the midiots – media idiots – from going into full contemplative mode, as they have done before, when they get caught with their, umm, pants down, reporting falsities against non-lefties, and pondering their Holy and Sacred Obligations.

    “The prez-elect was briefed about the existence of a fake Golden Shower Dossier”, screams Wolf and the the Clinton News Network, “and therefore it was our Sacred and Holy Obligation to report that ‘fact'”.

    No wonder they are known as the lamestream media.

    It is delicious that the origin of the Golden Shower Dossier appears to be “opposition research” by — Republicans, and its existence was known last year, and Donald Duck McCain got a copy and gave it to the FBI, like the good heroic citizen that he is.

    And now the Whineocrats and Dimwitcrats are trying to use it.

    Boy, am I ever glad that Killery Billary Pandersuit and the Klinton Krime Family lost.

    Comment by elmer — January 13, 2017 @ 9:43 am

  34. Rosie O’Donnell, a whale of a girl, wants to impose martial law – maybe she would be the head martial – and delay Trump’s inauguration until after Trumpovich’s (you know according to the lefties we just elected a Russian KGB operative) “involvement” in rooshan hacking is investigated.

    So far, my favorite comment on this is the following, especially because we know that lefties live in imaginary/fantasy land (from the Daily Mail – which does a much better job of reporting than American media):

    We should do just as she says because we all know she is sooooo important. Gawd, please let some giant cat come to Earth and cover Rosie in sand.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4114666/Rosie-Riveter-Donald-Trump-foe-calling-state-MARTIAL-LAW-delay-inauguration-cleared-involvement-Russian-hack.html#ixzz4VerQoCdg

    Comment by elmer — January 13, 2017 @ 10:06 am

  35. @elmer–All true. And here’s what’s more disturbing, if true (and it is plausible): the intelligence community deliberately included mention of the dossier in its briefing to Trump precisely because they knew this would green-light the media to report on it. Perhaps this was done independently, i.e., the IC knew that the media would interpret its imprimatur (leaked, of course) as permission to report on what they’d been dying to report on, but had not done so because of the outrageously unsubstantiated nature of the material. Perhaps it was done in collusion with the media, e.g., CNN says to IC “we’ll report on this if you give us a reason, such as, telling Trump about it.”

    I will write about this more later, but there is one blindingly obvious thing that no one has brought up, to my knowledge. Dozens of people in media and politics knew about this dossier. There is no fucking way Trump didn’t know about it. No. Fucking. Way. It’s not as if the FBI or CIA was performing some great public service by telling him what he already knew. This was just a power play by the IC, either using the media by knowing what its Pavlovian response to a leak about the briefing would be, or in explicit collusion with it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 13, 2017 @ 10:22 am

  36. Interesting – and very perceptive – that you should mention that, SWP

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2017/0112/Why-Russia-s-Kremlin-watchers-are-taking-Trump-dossier-with-a-grain-of-salt?cmpid=ema:nws:Daily%2520Newsletter%2520%2801-12-2017%29&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170112_Newsletter:%20Daily&utm_term=Daily

    Some scratch their heads over why US intelligence agencies appear to have made the documents seem newsworthy by including a summary of them in a top-secret briefing given to President Barack Obama and Trump last week. According to the Times, US intelligence had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable,” and just handed a synopsis of its allegations to the White House for information purposes. Many Western news outlets appear to have been aware of the colorful memos, but avoided discussion of the memos’ contents until that happened.

    “It is clear that US intelligence itself did not have that information, it wasn’t generated by them, and they took no responsibility for it,” says Alexei Kondaurov, a former KGB general turned political activist. “So why would they present it in such a way as to hint that it might be real? It’s very strange.”

    Mr. Strokan says that if an analogous document were given to Kommersant, perhaps written by a former Russian agent and claiming high-level knowledge of what’s going on in the White House, the Pentagon, and CIA headquarters, it would be permanently shelved.

    “Unless, of course, our security services told us it was good information. Then it might be treated differently. But we would definitely go out and try to check the sources, verify the facts. We wouldn’t just publish it” as BuzzFeed did, he says. (So far, few Western outlets have published more than the summary from the Obama and Trump briefing.)

    “I obviously can’t disprove it all, but to me it reads just like a Sidney Sheldon novel,” he says of the Trump dossier. “I’m inclined to classify it as pure fiction.”
    Signs of a power struggle?

    The view of most Russian experts is that they are watching a power struggle unfolding within the US establishment, in which wild allegations are being thrown about for political effect, regardless of their basis in fact. Russians are quite familiar with such situations, both during the Yeltsin era and far more recently under Putin, so it’s unsurprising that they might gravitate to that explanation.

    “I think Trump is being targeted by US special services because he plans to implement sweeping reforms of those agencies,” says Mr. Kondaurov. It’s not Russians who are wielding kompromat against Trump, he suggests, but his own intelligence establishment. “These allegations [that he is a Kremlin puppet] will be hanging over his head, and it will definitely make it harder for him to deal with Russia.”

    Comment by elmer — January 13, 2017 @ 3:48 pm

  37. A few days ago I discussed this affair with a man whom I take to be a retired British spook. He simply guffawed at the Trump allegations but fretted at what it implied about the attitude of the US IC to Russia. It turned out that he frowned on the US treatment of Russia since .. well, about since Slick Wille became president. He did have one caveat: he had no idea what resentments the CIA might have about Russia given how many men they might have lost to the USSR over the years.

    I suggested that a service with resentments about Russia might take a dim view of Her of the Private Server.

    Comment by dearieme — January 13, 2017 @ 3:51 pm

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