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Hullabaloo


Saturday, December 10, 2016

 

With a little help from his druzya

by Tom Sullivan

Lots of Twitter buzz last night over news of a secret CIA report that concludes Russian hacking ahead of the election intended not only to undermine confidence in America's election process, but also to help Donald Trump win the presidency. The CIA briefed "key senators" in a closed-door meeting this week, the Washington Post reports:

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
The report comes on the heels of news that Obama ordered a "full review" of Russian interference with the 2016 elections. Please read the entire report, but carefully. The Post continues:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
Somebody(s) in those briefings wanted this information leaked. Or the briefers gave their briefings expecting this information would be leaked. So before everyone rushes out to check for Russians hacking their woodpiles, Marcy Wheeler urges some caution:
Remember: we went to war against Iraq, which turned out to have no WMD, in part because no one read the “minor disagreements” from a few agencies about some aluminum tubes. What we’re being told is there are some aluminum tube type disagreements.

Let’s hear about those disagreements this time, shall we?
The New York Times added that the intelligence assessment that Russia has trying to help Trump came with "high confidence" despite the unspecified "minor disagreements" noted above. The Times reports:
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.
According to the Post, the actors who transmitted the hacked documents were not Russian government officials, but middlemen. "Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability."

One other key item to note: Seeking to craft a bipartisan public response to “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process,” the White House first brought this information to Congress in mid-September where it went to die.

One thing you can always count on, though: Mitch McConnell acted like Mitch McConnell.

Trump cultists will of course ignore this story (unless they threaten the reporters). Because Make America Great Again for kleptocrats. Not that I've seen anything to provoke the following tweet, but give them time.