I’ve just read the unclassified version of the U.S. Intelligence community’s report on “Russian hacking,” entitled, “Background to ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections’: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution.” A pdf version is available online, and I hope my readers will have a look at it. It is almost unbelievably lame.
The document begins with the assurance that it is an unclassified version of a “highly classified assessment.” This, of course, begs the question of how some of this “highly classified” information was leaked to the press. I personally think this is the most important take-away from the whole “Russian hacking” flap. Our intelligence community in general and the CIA in particular are still infested with leakers who apparently had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they swore to protect this “highly classified information.” Any potential human intelligence source who seriously expects them to protect his or her identity must have a death wish.
As we read on, we learn about the “analytic process” that was used to produce the report, its scope, the sources of information used, etc. Eventually, we come to a section entitled “Key Judgments.” We shudder as we learn that,
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
If the goal of the document was really to inform our political leaders, it’s odd that no attempt was made to put the above in context. By “context” I mean the “clear preferences” of other government leaders. For example, French President Hollande revealed his “clear preference” by announcing that Trump gave him a “retching feeling.” Then British Prime Minister David Cameron publicly announced his opinion that Trump is “divisive, stupid, and wrong.” The British Parliament seriously debated banning Trump from travel to the UK because of his “hate speech.” The President of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, declared that “Trump is a problem for the whole world.” Germany’s Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, called Trump a threat, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel openly praised Hillary Clinton. Mexico’s President Nieto didn’t stick at violating Godwin’s Law, comparing Trump to Hitler. Apparently, these expressions of “clear preferences” by other government leaders are not considered a threat by the people who run our intelligence agencies, because their “clear preferences” were for the correct candidate. In short, then, such a preference was only deemed objectionable if it happened to be for Trump.
As far as actual “hacking” is concerned, the content of the document is of the flimsiest. Basically, it was supposed to have consisted of “intrusions into US state and local electoral boards,” which were apparently conducted for the purpose of collecting information and had no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election. In addition to that, as we all know, the Russians were supposed to have gained access to the DNC emails, and have passed damaging information therein to WikiLeaks. According to the document, “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.” In other words, the “hacked” information was true, and should have been reported by our own media, but wasn’t, because it didn’t fit the narrative. Apparently the message here is that the U.S. voting public should have been “protected” from the truth, but was “unfairly” subjected to it by those nefarious Russians.
Beyond that we have the assurances of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks that the information involved was so poorly protected that it could have been hacked by a 14-year old; no Russian meddling was necessary. Given Hillary’s adventures with classified State Department information on her personal server, I suspect there’s little reason to doubt the WikiLeaks version. I note in passing that the “progressive Left” considered Assange such a hero that they saw fit to release a movie about his exploits (Underground; The Julian Assange Story – 2012), and another in which he played a major role (The Fifth Estate – 2013). No doubt they’re feeling very ill-used at this point. They never suspected that Assange would be capable of divulging information that didn’t fit the “correct” narrative. In any case, paltry as it is, that’s the extent of the actual “hacking” alluded to in the document.
Reading on, we finally discover the identity of the “real culprit.” It turns out to be none other than RT America, a Russian funded news channel. Much of the document proper and a whole, five page appendix are devoted almost entirely to RT! We shudder to learn that “RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative.” It devoted extensive coverage to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, that known bastion of right wing conservatives and Trump deplorables. It dared to mention the existence of election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities in the U.S. Even more damning is the document’s assurance that RT ran “anti-fracking programming highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health.” As we all know, Hillary and the “progressive Left” have always been “yuge” supporters of fracking. NOT!!!
No kidding, dear reader, the meat of this “assessment” is nothing but a rant about RT’s vile criminal act of exercising its right to freedom of speech. When I was done reading it I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The entire mainstream media in the U.S. was utterly in the tank for Hillary from the start. I have never come across a single article about Trump therein that couldn’t be characterized as “negative.” The same can be said of another “state-funded news channel,” the BBC. There was a negative article about Trump on the BBC website every single day I happened to look for the last three months before the election. The same can certainly also be said of both the English and German versions of the German media. I follow it daily, and never found anything therein about Trump that could not be characterized as “negative.” What can I say? To outweigh all that, RT America must be a more effective propaganda tool than anything ever heard of since the days of Barnum and Bailey! Hitler himself would have been green with envy!
Apparently this is the sort of drivel we’ve been getting for the $80 billion we invest in our intelligence services every year. It would seem they’ve degenerated into hidebound bureaucracies that are no longer even capable of being embarrassed by the transparent stupidity of such “highly classified” assessments. It could hardly hurt to start over from scratch. We might ask the Russians for help with that. I suggest we take the 1918 Cheka as a model. I’ve heard that their methods were somewhat harsh, but by all accounts they were able to collect intelligence that was actually worthy of the name, and at bargain basement prices. We could use a man like Felix Dzerzhinsky again! Someone should tell Trump.
UPDATE: Mild-mannered Czech physicist Lubos Motl has a similar take at The Reference Frame.