A secret assessment by the CIA has just concluded, and it has reportedly determined that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help propel Donald Trump to a White House victory. Officials briefed on the matter claim that while it was previously suspected that Russia had intervened in the election simply to "undermine" voter confidence, what happened went beyond that.
As the Washington Post reports, certain individuals with Russia ties (most notably, connections to the Russian government) have allegedly been identified by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies. Those identified, who haven't been publicly named, reportedly handed over thousands of emails to the notorious whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks. The emails in question were hacked from several prominent sources ranging from John Podesta (Hillary's campaign chairman) to the DNC.
As I read this, the CIA is not saying that Russia meddled with the vote counts, but that they perhaps helped hack to get real email with which they exposed some truth on WikiLeaks, and this assessment is saying that action cost Hillary the election?
According to U.S. officials briefed on the CIA assessment into the potential connection between Donald Trump and Russia, the newly identified individuals involved in the widespread email hacking have been determined to already be known to the U.S. intelligence community. Reportedly, they were part of a widespread operation based out of Russia intended to "boost Trump" while diminishing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's chances at winning the U.S. presidency.
Did Russia “boost Trump” by leaking some truth about his opponent? Whatever you think of the two candidates and about Russia, it’s an odd complaint, that Russia attacked the USA with some truth.
The Washington Post cites their information source of the Donald Trump/Russia CIA assessment information as "a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators."
Reportedly, the secret CIA assessment about the alleged connection between Russia and Donald Trump was revealed to select senators last week. The setting was a closed-door Capitol Hill briefing, and multiple intelligence sources were cited to those in attendance. According to the CIA officials doing the briefing, they have determined that it is "quite clear" that Russia had a primary goal of getting Donald Trump elected POTUS.
At this point, the officials who spoke to the media regarding the CIA's assessment of the potential connection between Russia and the election of Donald Trump have remained publicly unnamed. Reportedly, they demanded anonymity in exchange for speaking to the media regarding "intelligence matters."
According to said sources, last week's Capitol Hill CIA briefing pertaining to Donald Trump and Russia "fell short" of being classified as a "formal U.S. assessment." In order to meet that lofty benchmark, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies would have had to be in agreement about the determination of the assessment. Reportedly, there are still "minor disagreements," partly due to as-yet unanswered questions about the full nature of the the relationship between Russia and Donald Trump and/or the intent of the alleged Russian election intervention.
Namely, according to the CIA assessment, U.S. agencies are still lacking the "smoking gun" that ties Kremlin officials directly to the individuals that have been identified as those who handed off the hacked emails to WikiLeaks. While the CIA assessment claims that multiple "actors" involved in the scheme have been identified, the organization also claims that Russia has a history of keeping itself "one step removed" from such actors, a trend that has reportedly continued in the current alleged Donald Trump situation.
At this point, Russia has officially denied all allegations that the Kremlin in any way influenced the Donald Trump win or the U.S. election.
The news of the CIA's assessment regarding Trump, the 2016 election, and alleged Russian meddling came just hours after the news broke that President Obama has demanded a "full review" of potential Russian hacking involving the U.S. election process. According to the earlier report, Obama wants answers regarding the involvement of Russia in U.S. elections dating back to 2008.
Interesting. Obama wants to see if Russia helped get him elected in 2008 as well?
The newly ordered review is expected to be completed quickly, as President Obama has stated that he wants a report on the investigation before he leaves office in January.
While WikiLeaks has been widely implicated as working either with or on behalf of the Russian government, Julian Assange has denied that connection.
A former CIA chief said that Trump was in essence recruited as an unwitting agent of Russia:
For former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, Donald Trump does not have what it takes to be commander in chief.
In a New York Times op-ed published Friday, the 33-year agency veteran notes that he has been heretofore private with his political preferences and is registered as neither a Democrat nor a Republican.
“No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president,” wrote Morell.
Morell also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin has successfully co-opted Trump’s message in complimenting the political neophyte and getting exactly what he wanted in return with more praise even in light of his strongman tendencies toward journalists and dissidents.
“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” Morell wrote.
Morell laid out “two strongly held beliefs” that led him to the conclusion that Clinton should be president. The first of those, Morell explained, is that Clinton is “highly qualified” for the job and “will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe.”
“Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security,” he continued, noting his work with Clinton in her capacity of secretary of state and her resolute advocacy of the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Trump “has no experience on national security,” Morell wrote.
“Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief,” Morell said, naming Trump’s “obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law. The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump's character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.”
Trump’s evolving proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from the U.S. has also undermined national security, playing “into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions,” he continued.
“My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the C.I.A. This is what I am doing now,” Morell concluded. “Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.”
Edward Snowden had this to say:
"Donald Trump is just the president. It's an important position. But it's one of many," … Snowden also urged his audience not to become discouraged by the result of the US presidential election and to continue to call for governments as well as businesses to respect people's private lives.
What does Trump think? He’s not convinced it was Russia. He’s not trusting his intelligence community, it seems.
“Wow.” That’s a former CIA director’s reaction to President-elect Trump’s refusal to believe that Russian hackers tried to influence the American election. President Obama this week ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to produce a “full review” into claims of Russian hacking, including intelligence officials’ conclusions that Russian hackers stole electronic communications of Democrats in an attempt “to interfere with the U.S. election.” On Wednesday, Time Magazine quoted Trump saying: “I don’t believe they interfered… it could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.” Retired General Michael Hayden talked about Trump’s refusal accept the intelligence conclusion at a private forum in Manhattan Wednesday evening. “To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions. Wow,” he said. “The data matters,” Hayden said. “He continues to reject the Russians did it… and claims that it was politicized intelligence.”
Strange play this time in the political theatre. Knowing what is true is always tricky, with games within games, but it is interesting to hear what the different players are claiming.