by Pamela Williams
In the world of the US Intelligence Community, puzzles and mysteries are two different things. Puzzles can be solved by finding the pieces and connecting them together in their right places. However, in mysteries there is no puzzle…no map, and may never be solved. For those who work in Intelligence, it is easy to get lost in the “wilderness of mirrors.” In my opinion that is what the Intelligence Community has done with this latest Report on their Russian obsession. Clearly they have no pieces to solve the puzzle nor a map to follow, but the FBI should know this as they work with evidence that can solve the puzzle. The CIA is paranoid and works in a world of mysterious conclusions that defy understanding. I understand the difference between the two agencies; therefore, two different reports should have been prepared. FBI Director James Comey has failed in doing this job twice now, and I see no excuse for these failures. He failed to seek an indictment in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, because he found no “intent” of wrongdoing. If she did not care enough about US National Security that she failed to take appropriate measures as Secretary of State to protect communications by using a Government server, she did have “intent” to commit a crime against the US. She knew what she was doing, and she betrayed the United States. The FBI should have proven this, just as they should have provided evidence of Russian hacking in the Report presented to the Government. Twice Comey has failed the American people, and he should just step down.
The link to the Joint Intelligence Report which followed release of Grizzly Steppe, the FBI/Homeland Security report is:
Cyber Espionage Against US Political Organizations.
Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties. We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies.
In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.
The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures.
By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC.
Public Disclosures of Russian-Collected Data.
We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in 3 cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.
Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.
Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June. We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks.
Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.
In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement.
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 August 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 the United States. – End of Link
There is no substantiating evidence provided for their words which are simply lost in the wilderness of mirrors. The references to Putin’s comments about the leaks and to RT’s supposed connections to Julian Assange and to Wikileaks, are apparently thrown in to give the impression that they are evidence. Putin, as other world leaders, have the right to their opinions. Julian Assange has been interviewed by RT, just has he has been by Sean Hannity of FOX NEWS. It is natural, as Julian Assange and WILILEAKS have made headlines and the public is interested in what Assange has to say. So no big deal there that I can see.
The report is a redacted version of a classified document which supposedly contains the evidence for these assertions. The report does make this statement:
Many of the key judgments in this assessment rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior. Insights into Russian efforts—including specific cyber operations—and Russian views of key US players derive from multiple corroborating sources. Some of our judgments about Kremlin preferences and intent are drawn from the behavior of Kremlin loyal political figures, state media, and pro-Kremlin social media actors, all of whom the Kremlin either directly uses to convey messages or who are answerable to the Kremlin. The Russian leadership invests significant resources in both foreign and domestic propaganda and places a premium on transmitting what it views as consistent, self-reinforcing narratives regarding its desires and redlines, whether on Ukraine, Syria, or relations with the United States.
Further a report from Reuters gives the following further assertion:
U.S. intelligence agencies obtained what they considered to be conclusive evidence after the November election that Russia provided hacked material from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks through a third party, three U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
U.S. officials had concluded months earlier that Russian intelligence agencies had directed the hacking, but had been less certain that they could prove Russia also had controlled the release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
One thing which has become very clear over the last few months is the extent of the paranoia of some people within the US intelligence community about Wikileaks and RT. Lurid claims about RT dominate the report, whilst an article in the Huffington Post contains this extraordinary comment about Wikileaks by a former NSA official
One former National Security Agency analyst said the consensus view among U.S. intelligence holds there is no real difference between Assange and the Russians ? pointing out Assange’s role in finding NSA leaker Edward Snowden sanctuary in Moscow. “The only real debate is when the relationship began,” said John Schindler, who added that by 2013, Wikileaks essentially had become a mouthpiece for Russian intelligence. “This is not complicated.”
This is a paranoid claim, which takes Edward Snowden for a Russian agent, and assumes Wikileaks is an agency controlled by Russian intelligence because of its supposed role in spiriting Snowden to Moscow. That Snowden never wanted to go to Moscow, and only ended up there because the US obstructed his journey to Brazil, is a fact that is apparently of no importance.
It is no secret that most people in Russia wanted Donald Trump to win the US Presidential election. Trump has repeatedly spoken of the need to improve relations with Russia. By contrast his opponent – Hillary Clinton – gave the impression of wanting to heighten tensions with Russia to a state not seen since the darkest days of the Cold War. That alone is sufficient to explain why most Russians – including most Russian politicians, officials and journalists – would have wanted Trump to win.
That the Russian media – including RT – were influenced by this preference in their reporting is completely natural and unsurprising. It is also something which is completely legitimate.
In conclusion, the Report contains no evidence and is lost in the wilderness of mirrors. It failed to provide what Obama needed to legitimize his retaliations for what Russia allegedly did, by the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and their families living here in the US during the Holiday Season. It was a shameful act that was embarrassing to many Americans. Obama needs to apologize to the Russian people, but that is not going to happen.