Did you know the Russia hoax is still going?
Because it do.
For years, President Trump has derided the assessment by American intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to assist his candidacy, dismissing it without evidence as the work of a “deep state” out to undermine his victory.
But on Tuesday, a long-awaited Senate review led by members of Mr. Trump’s own party effectively undercut those allegations. A three-year review by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously found that the intelligence community assessment, pinning blame on Russia and outlining its goals to undercut American democracy, was fundamentally sound and untainted by politics.
“The I.C.A. reflects strong tradecraft, sound analytical reasoning and proper justification of disagreement in the one analytical line where it occurred,” said Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the panel’s chairman. “The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions.”
The endorsement by Mr. Burr’s committee comes at a key moment for the intelligence agencies. Not only has Mr. Trump moved in recent months to install a loyalist in the top spy position, but Attorney General William P. Barr has also blessed a broad review of possible misconduct by investigators examining the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, apparently including work by intelligence officials.
The federal prosecutor whom Mr. Barr appointed to review the government’s response to Russian election interference, John H. Durham, is examining whether the C.I.A. or other intelligence agencies overstated President Vladimir V. Putin’s support of the Trump campaign, a central finding of the 2017 assessment. His team has interviewed intelligence analysts, questioning whether Obama-era intelligence officials hid evidence or manipulated analysis about Moscow’s covert operation, people familiar with the Durham inquiry have said.
Like all New York Times articles, this just goes on and on and on without giving you any information.
I want to know why and how the committee came to this conclusion. I am very well informed on the Russian hacker conspiracy theory that the intelligence agencies and the media invented out of thin air, and I want to know what these people found that Robert Mueller failed to find.
But no such luck. In 1,500 words, the Times fails to deliver.
The Senate Intelligence Committee had already given the work of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. an interim stamp of approval, but the 158-page report released on Tuesday presented new detail about the government’s attempts in late 2016 and early 2017 to make sense of Russia’s attacks. Much of the report’s contents were considered highly sensitive and blacked out by the Trump administration before release.
In their report, senators essentially said they had asked the same questions that Mr. Durham is now examining and found that the intelligence agencies’ work stood up, even if it was conducted in a compressed time frame to be finished before President Barack Obama left office in January 2017.
“The case is closed,” said Senator Angus King, independent of Maine. “I don’t know how you could have a much more credible source than a three-year study by a bipartisan committee that came to a unanimous conclusion.”
Critics of the assessment have focused on the fact that the National Security Agency had a lower level of confidence than the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. on the conclusion that Mr. Putin supported Mr. Trump’s election. Mr. Durham, they believe, can provide proof.
But the committee found that the differing confidence levels among the intelligence agencies were “justified and properly represented.” The report said that both John O. Brennan, then the director of the C.I.A., and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, then the director of the National Security Agency, both “independently expressed to the committee that they reached the final wording openly and with sufficient exchanges of views.”
Senators said their inquiry found that intelligence analysts who worked on the assessment were “under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions.”
“All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object to content and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic process,” the report said.
It also examined the inclusion of material from a well-known dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer whom the F.B.I. referred to by the code name “Crown,” showing purported ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The document included unverified, salacious accusations about Mr. Trump and has become a focus of Mr. Trump’s allies, who have sought to conflate it with the much broader Justice Department investigation into Russia’s election interference.
Though elements of the dossier were included in an annex to the intelligence assessment, it “was not used in the body of the I.C.A. or to support any of its analytic judgments,” the senators found.
Even the decision to include it in the annex was made reluctantly, the senators wrote. The F.B.I. did not want to vouch for its veracity but felt that because Mr. Obama had ordered the assessment to include all relevant material, his directive required the dossier’s inclusion.
The Senate report stood in contrast to the conclusions in 2018 of the House Intelligence Committee, then under Republican control, which took issue in its own report on Russian election interference with intelligence officials’ conclusion that Mr. Putin had tried to harm Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump. The House committee cited breakdowns in “proper analytic tradecraft,” but many House Republicans who were involved later disavowed that conclusion.
Earlier volumes released by the Senate committee chronicled Russia’s active measures campaign to interfere in the 2016 election and outlined potential policy measures to blunt future attacks on election infrastructure, examined the use of social media to sow political divisions in the United States and critiqued the response by the Obama administration and Congress to Russia’s attacks in the run-up to the last presidential election.
The committee is expected to release a final bipartisan installment in the coming months evaluating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. A draft runs over 900 pages but has yet to be submitted for classification review by intelligence agencies, a process that could take weeks or months.
“Russia and its imitators increasingly use information warfare to sow societal chaos and discord,” Mr. Burr said. “With the 2020 presidential election approaching, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant against the threat of interference from hostile foreign actors.”
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee’s top Democrat, concurred and warned that Russia’s success in 2016 would embolden the Kremlin to continue to interfere in American democracy.
You can read as many New York Times articles about this as you want, you will never have it explained to you what they are talking about when they say that Russia “interfered” with the election. They will say hacking, they will say meddling, they will say sowing chaos. But they will never say what any of that actually means.
I am not going to read this Senate review, because I have vowed to never again read a government paper on the Russian hacking conspiracy theory. I read the Mueller report, and I do not believe that this can possibly be any different. As you see above in the NYT report, the Senate came to the decision to believe the intelligence committee based on the fact that they thought John Brennan was telling the truth. They based that on the fact that he didn’t seem to be politically motivated. John Brennan, who is currently employed by MSNBC as a virulent anti-Trump pundit is not motivated by politics, so everything he says must be true. That was their stated methodology in coming to this conclusion.
“We can trust this unhinged lunatic. He’s an honest man and has no agenda.”
I couldn’t resist skimming the report – which you can find in full here – and it just says that Russia did WikiLeaks and they know that because the intelligence agencies said that. There has never been any evidence for these claims. It was always just wild speculation. When Congress asked for proof of the DNC being hacked by Russia – or even hacked at all – James Comey said that the private security company hired by the DNC, Crowdstrike, which has been caught faking information on Russian hacking, said it was hacked by Russians. That was the methodology to come to the initial claim, and everything after that has just been people saying that they believe that.
The report also goes into a huge thing about RT and how it’s evil for Russia to run a media outlet that says Russia isn’t evil.
And there was a whole lot about Russian trolls in this QAnon level conspiracy theory document. Again, the assumption is that everyone on the internet making fun of Hillary Clinton, or supporting Donald Trump in any way, was either a Russian or under the psychic control of Russians.
Honestly, I don’t even know what purpose these quarterly reports serve at this point. No one who doesn’t believe in the Russian hacker theory is going to start believing it because of yet another report saying “oh yes, it’s true alright.” I guess it’s become a kind of ritual.
And I suppose that now, Barr is out there talking about investigating the investigators. But that isn’t actually going to happen. Everyone knows it isn’t going to happen. The best that might happen is that Barr’s people will release a report saying that the claims of Crowdstrike were never independently confirmed. And just like no minds are changed by people saying it’s real, no minds will be changed by someone saying it isn’t real. No one is going to go through the details of this like I spent three years doing, reading all of these stupid reports, watching endless hours of congressional hearings. Everyone is just going to decide what they think based on where their political affiliations lie, and based on how much they believe the Jewish media.
It’s dumb and I just wish it would end.