RussiaGate Redux Part Three: Smears & Distortions

By Adam Carter - November 14th, 2017

see also: RussiaGate Redux: Part One | RussiaGate Redux: Part Two

In the previous two parts of this series, we've covered the recent surge of news stories reinforcing the official RussiaGate narrative and pointed out that it could have been an effort to preempt news of William Binney (Former NSA Technical Director) and Mike Pompeo (CIA Director) meeting towards the end of last month (articles for which came out shortly after most of the other articles were published).

The coverage the meeting did get was, with few exceptions, slanted against Binney & VIPS, some were mildly disparaging, some quite aggressive in their smears and some that tried to misrepresent an internal dispute within VIPS over a statement added to a memo as though it was somehow a debunking of the research that VIPS members had referenced.

 

The Intercept

James Risen & Duncan Campell (with contributions from Sam Biddle) co-authored an article published in The Intercept on 7th November, 2017, titled: "CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — at Trump’s Request"

While you can't see it in the article, if you look at the source code of the page, you can see the description given for the article for social media sites, which states:

Mike Pompeo sought “facts” from NSA whistleblower William Binney, who says the 2016 theft of DNC emails was an inside job, not a Russian hack.

What Binney had to share were literal facts, so the entire point of writing "facts" as a quotation like this only serves to unduly undermine things and degrade perceptions of the meeting, even without people needing to click on the link to the article.

The article itself, fortunately starts out on a more promising tone. It covers some of the details of the meeting. However, it isn't long before they give themselves a reason to insinuate that Binney may have allegiance with Fox News (mostly because he has made 10 appearances in a 14 month period).

How do they get to presenting that fact?

It is possible Trump learned about Binney and his analysis by watching Fox News, where Binney has been a frequent guest, appearing at least 10 times since September 2016

Yes, that's right, they just try to imagine how Trump could have learned about Binney, which conveniently led them straight to insinuating a closeness between Binney and Fox News.

Moving on...

However the meeting came about, the fact that Pompeo was apparently willing to follow Trump’s direction and invite Binney to discuss his analysis has alarmed some current and former intelligence officials.

The concerning thing here is actually the fact that some individuals in the intelligence community are apparently alarmed over the sharing of exculpatory evidence and are immediately on the defensive, trying desperately to undermine the sharing of factual and statistical data that is legitimate and absolutely should occur.

We don't have to look far for an example of such a reaction either as that's provided in the paragraph that follows it:

“This is crazy. You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor,” said one former CIA officer.

This is followed by mentioning and quoting parts of the partially discredited ICA report that was published in January 2017 and a statement of confirmation that the CIA's director stands by the ICA report (personally, I feel this is unfortunate because anyone that fully understands the RSID evidence knows that the assessments, at least relating to the Guccifer 2.0 persona, are almost certaintly flawed).

Next up..

Binney’s claim that the email theft was committed by an insider at the DNC also helps fuel one of the more bizarre conspiracy theories that has gained traction on the right: that the murder of a young DNC staffer last year was somehow connected to the data theft. Binney said he mentioned the case of Seth Rich to Pompeo during their meeting.

I think after all this time, the amount of fuel it would add to the conspiracy theory would be minimal. As time has gone on and more has been discovered, the premise that Seth Rich could have been murdered for reasons relating to him being a whistle-blower has actually become less bizarre than the premise that Guccifer 2.0 was a genuine Russian hacker.

The theory that Seth was killed for such a reason is far from exclusively held by the right-wing. Many progressives also want answers on this topic.

Escalating the spin further...

The meeting raises questions about Pompeo’s willingness to act as an honest broker between the intelligence community and the White House, and his apparent refusal to push back against efforts by the president to bend the intelligence process to suit his political purposes.

Pompeo being prepared to hear about exculpatory evidence, statistics and tests carried out does NOT make him inherently have questionable honesty.

It probably would have looked bad for Pompeo to refuse to accept evidence. It's insane that the article's authors have tried to frame this as "bending the intelligence process".

Instead of acting as a filter between Trump and the intelligence community, Pompeo’s decision to meet with Binney raises the possibility that right-wing theories aired on Fox News and in other conservative media can now move not just from conservative pundits to Trump, but also from Trump to Pompeo and into the bloodstream of the intelligence community.

This paragraph tries to suggest that Pompeo's capacity to act as a filter between Trump's influence and the intelligence community completely falls apart if Trump suggests that Pompeo speak with US intelligence veterans about research, evidence, test results, etc.

It then tries to insinuate that Binney peddles "right-wing theories", drags in Fox News and "conservative media" and attempts to fear-monger using this inexcusable, melodramatic misrepresentation of circumstances.

The reality is that Binney was sharing factual information, and, of the research I'm aware of, the researchers, collectively, in aggregate, lean left more than they do to the right.

Some senior CIA officials have grown upset that Pompeo, a former Republican representative from Kansas, has become so close to Trump that the CIA director regularly expresses skepticism about intelligence that doesn’t line up with the president’s views. Pompeo has also alienated some CIA managers by growing belligerent toward them in meetings, according to an intelligence official familiar with the matter.

The last 9 words here (emphasis mine) show that this is purely an opinion expressed anonymously by a source whose integrity we have no idea about.

The CIA, however, strongly objected to this characterization. “The Director has been adamant that CIA officers have the time, space and resources to make sound and unbiased assessments that are delivered to policy makers without fear or favor,” Boyd said in an email to The Intercept. 

Seems like a fairly blunt rebuttal to the "intelligence official familiar with the matter".

From this point on the article meanders back and forth between many people. Coats, Comey, Clapper, Manafort, Mueller, Pompeo and Papadopoulos. Which, of course, only serves to muddy the waters and leaves readers disorientated and stunned at what they just they just read, or vaguely angry at Trump but not entirely sure exactly what for.

The article gave readers almost no context of the research and evidence that was likely to have been discussed.

As was true with the BuzzFeed article about Johnston (see Part Two of this series), it's good to see that, here again, the comments contained numerous examples of people pushing back and expressing their disappointment with The Intercept for having an article so clearly slanted and one that attempts to misrepresent correlations in order to form false perceptions of allegiance/affiliation.

 

NewsWeek

On 8th November, 2017, an article by Conor Gaffey was published on NewsWeek's site, titled: "CIA Director Met With a DNC Hack Conspiracy Theorist Because Trump Told Him To".

That's right, a former NSA technical director who served with the agency for just over 35 years and is now a member of Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity has been reduced, in NewsWeek's headline, to "DNC Hack Conspiracy Theorist". And why?

It seems to be a harsh and unnecessary degradation tactic before the article is even started, and really, Binney was only attempting to share evidence and test results with those actively working in US intelligence and doing so on request.

Even before getting to the article's body, readers are presented with a video to grab their attention, interestingly one that seems to completely discredit whatever it was Binney and Pompeo must have been discussing:

Note: If you pursue this enticing clickbait back to the Wall Street Journal article it relates to, you will find that no Russians are named, the WSJ journalists don't even seem sure if this is something that will happen next year and, if this is based on the malware discovered, then we know the 6 people being named, whoever they are, were unlikely to actually be behind the emails published by WikiLeaks. This is because more of the emails came from AFTER the discovery of malware and installation of CrowdStrike's Falcon software.

Fortunately, by quoting and reiterating what The Intercept article covered and adding almost nothing to it, we can avoid wasting much time on this one.

It is basically the Intercept article again - but a trimmed, diluted version that comes with a free bonus distraction to help you perceive Binney as likely to be wrong before you even start reading the article's body content.

 

[ ... This article is still being worked on, please check back later for more ... ]


Part One: Introduction
Part Two: BuzzFeed's "He Solved The DNC Hack" Article