The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released last Friday a report that detailed what it called a Russian campaign to influence the election. This report is the unclassified summary from the American intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
The Russians of course scoffed at the report. Alexei Pushkov, a member of the upper house of parliament’s defense and security committee, said on Twitter that “all the accusations against Russia are based on ‘confidence’ and suppositions. The USA in the same way was confident about (Iraqi leader Saddam) Hussein having weapons of mass destruction.”
The assessment report was issued with an unusual disclaimer from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), one which former intelligence personnel have noted as being somewhat unusual and unprecedented. Very few news outlets bothered to even mention the lack of warranty by the intelligence community via this disclaimer, which in my mind is of questionable integrity. The intent of the disclaimer, which is not clear, is something that he media should follow-up to clarify. Take a look:
“This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”
The report includes Russian cyber espionage, covert intelligence, false-flags, propaganda, and influence… all directed by Vladimir Putin. Serious stuff for sure. But when the public hears words like these, it conjures up visions of spies, misdirection and disinformation campaigns intended to deceive. Sinister.
It is this major point that I find disingenuous about the report. The Russian influence did not involve covert spy operations or even misinformation disguised as propaganda, it involved revealing embarrassing information about the Democratic party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. That kind of behavior could just as easily be associate with the American media as with the Kremlin.
The intelligence report declines to tell the American people what specific information convinced them to identify their findings as being of “high confidence” and how they determined true motives in Vladimir Putin’s mind. They are hampered by the nature of their work, which does not allow for that:”To tell us how they know what they know would compromise intelligence methods and sources.” Of course it would. Essentially, like many intelligence reports, they are just saying “trust us.”
In just the past few years, the Obama Administration has told us that they had “high confidence” that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons programs, the NSA was not collecting metadata and that ISIS was a decimated JV team. It has also been revealed that the Obama administration intentionally perpetrated a disinformation campaign — complete with a compliant media “echo chamber” — to sell us all on the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. We have seen numerous “lone wolf” attacks by terrorists that had previously been under law enforcement surveillance. With a track record like that, skepticism is definitely warranted.
The thickly clouded assertion in the report that Russia was knee-deep in “espionage” and “covert ops” to denigrate Hillary and derail her bid, might naturally be presumed to imply that Putin was promoting smears. This picture, I believe, is exactly what the report intended to portray.
So, what’s missing from the report?
Well first off, the report does not mention WikiLeaks or DC Leaks, the two organizations that published thousands of pages of private emails during the 2016 presidential race. The document does accuse Russian agents of exploiting unnamed “political and private sector entities.” However, the role they played in what they claimed to be attempts to sway a U.S. presidential election, surely it warrants inclusion. Wouldn’t you say?
WikiLeaks and DC Leaks, though missing is strange, is not what I found to be glaringly missing — and this is a shocker. No where in the report is the word “Podesta.” Seriously? John Podesta falls for a phishing scam and stupidly gives his Gmail P@ssw0rd to some unknown actor and opens his emails for the taking. Omitting from the intelligence report this information, I believe, is telling. Why? Well, including Podesta’s ignorant blunder in the report destroys the narrative they worked so hard to create. Hillary, Obama, the main stream media echo chamber… all painting a vision. A narrative of covert operations, “spy shit” — nefariously secret, “007 types” stealing the election from their deserving candidate.
Very little new information was released in the report that the public did not already know or strongly suspect. Bottom line, cyber security needs to be a focus in near future.