Obama Admits Gap in Russian ‘Hack’ Case

The hole in the U.S. intelligence community’s “high confidence” about Russia “hacking” Democratic emails has always been who gave the material to WikiLeaks, as President Obama admitted, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with “high confidence” – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. But that is not the question.

It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC’s dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was “the Russians” who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn’t know.

At President Obama’s Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: “the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.” [Emphasis added}

It is necessary to carefully parse Obama’s words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs. He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: “based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. … the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks.”

Note the disconnect between the confidence about hacking and the stark declarative sentence about the information ending up at WikiLeaks. Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap.

WikiLeaks Account

As I suggested to RT viewers right after the last press conference, the reason WikiLeaks might have been “not witting” could be that it was quite sure it was not a “conduit” for “hacking” by the Russians or anyone else. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has stated that the Russian government was not the source and it’s significant that President Obama stopped short of contradicting him. It is also clear that WikiLeaks, in the past, has obtained LEAKED information from U.S. whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Photo credit: Espen Moe)

Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Assange, has made clear that the two separate batches of Democratic emails – one from the DNC and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – also were leaks from insiders, not hacks from outsiders.

After the Jan. 18 press conference — what Murray called the “Stunning Admission from Obama on Wikileaks” —  Murray wrote:

“In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media.

“Most crucially of all Obama refers to ‘The DNC emails that were leaked.’ Note ‘leaked’ and not ‘hacked.’ I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense ‘Russian hacking’ story.”

So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame “mainstream” media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

52 comments for “Obama Admits Gap in Russian ‘Hack’ Case

  1. Don
    January 24, 2017 at 14:21

    Ray, as much as I admire your work, including your articles, I will draw one pointed criticism of this one. In no way should we congratulate Mr. Obama for any “dispelling”. He has been relentless in pushing a flood of propaganda about “hacking” by Russia, knowing full well that the objective is to instill either disgust, hatred, or condemnation against Russia, in keeping with his past second term. Most recently the core purpose was first to try desperately, but legally, as a last gasp effort, to turn the election results by influencing the Electoral College voting. Secondly, to keep intact as best he could the management of public perception (abroad as well as at home) about Russia so that the sanctions against them could be maintained, and therefore the continuation of his efforts to weaken Russia, a goal he even made public.

    Let’s dispense with the congratulations.

    Thank you.

  2. Jeremy
    January 22, 2017 at 17:13

    No matter what Obama admits now. The great distraction show did it’s job. Thanks to the leaks we had clear proof detailing the corruption of the democratic party and the Clintons. For a brief moment there was light in a dark place. Dems successfully shifted the light and like a cat chasing a laser pointer, the public followed. Now they will push “unity” to fight Trump by voting Democrat, so they can shift power back to their plutocrats. Do not forget what the leaks showed! Abandone the demoplicans!

  3. Dave
    January 22, 2017 at 16:16

    Consortium News, as we all know is on a list of “Russian propaganda” sites first posed by the impeccable “non fake news” journalism of the Washington Post PropOrNot article, has just come to my little town of Graton to interview one of the head organizers(of Russian Mexican origins I hear rumored) at our little Graton Labor Center….. and I can say with “medium to high confidence” that indeed I saw Putin crossing the street early this morning. And there is that Polish restaurant that just opened in Graton, which I know isn’t Russian, but Poland is very close to Russia after all, which is about the same level of “evidence” our imminently trustworthy intelligence agencies pointed to in their groundbreaking “Russian meddling” unclassified report(which I dowloaded and read), so I’m in good company. We in Graton are only about 2 miles north of Sebastopol, population 7,596 probable Russian infiltrators, Putin apologists and hotbed of anti-American Freedumb haters, and which is clearly a base for the coming Russian invasion. Just wanted to get the word out.

  4. b.grand
    January 22, 2017 at 04:08

    SORRY, RAY, but Obama didn’t admit anything.

    Aren’t you and Craig reading your own desires for an admission into the sentence, “…the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.” The word “leaked” more likely refers to how Wikileaks leaked the emails to the public.

    Further, I can’t imagine Obama is proud of this “oratorical construct” which is both tortured and illogical. There is no way that Wikileaks could have had any doubt (i.e., they were obviously ‘witting’) that they were “the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails…” Whether they received the emails from a DNC leaker or a Ukrainian hacker, Wikileaks was the conduit to the public.

    Parsing the twisted musings of a great prevaricator doesn’t seem really useful. Hopefully our credibility won’t depend on such straws, and as Arby said above, it wasn’t helpful to give the impression that Craig Murray was passed a disc or a thumb drive in the woods near A.U.

    • January 22, 2017 at 15:45

      Dear B.Grand,

      It would b grand if you went back and read the article a little more closely. ray

  5. elmerfudzie
    January 21, 2017 at 14:03

    Ray, the media propaganda that signaled another world war has now passed? I’d love to think so…FDR was quoted as saying “you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time” and IKE’s, now famous or rather infamous (he did nothing to stop the momentum) warning about the size and growth of our military industrial congressional complex. Yet, politicians and citizen proles alike seem to dismiss these words of wisdom. Humanity continues to be dragged towards an inevitable disaster. Trump announced that he will INCREASE military spending while rebuilding our infrastructure?-already he’s BS-ing us. The NYT will preserve it’s reputation as the “toilet paper of record” a remarkably accurate quip from that, All American, Gerald Celente of Trends Research. The apocalyptic visions of George Orwell’s warnings “Big Brother is Watching You,” have now come to pass. Let us re-examine the classic works of that master of propaganda, Edward Bernays and his modern day student, Philip D. Zelikow. It is here we will find the current societal Mission of George Orwell’s, Ministry of Truth(s), that is, all three branches of our federal government. Information gatekeepers of the new Ministry of Propaganda have assumed the shape of, and taken full control of, most of the Western Occident cable and newsprint media. These facts serve to amplify my WW III fears and warnings. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: “The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses.” This same oratory is the “new” yet at the same time, terribly old, politic of the new POTUS.

    • Richard Coleman
      January 22, 2017 at 16:34

      “In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: “The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses.”

      Well, ol’ Adolf knew his shit alright. Here’s an example of someone who has fallen victim, and at the same time passes on the Hitlerian message.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAFxPXGDH4E The frenzy reaches its climax at about 5:44. But you really should see the whole thing.

      • Felix Navidad
        January 24, 2017 at 02:02

        Keith Olbermann has gone into the (lower) toilet tank. He starts out with “We on the left” and ends with “Peace”. Fortunately KO only appears on GQ fashion TV,

  6. Bob Van Noy
    January 21, 2017 at 12:55

    backwardsevolution, (Responding on Saturday). I thought you’d appreciate what Craig Murray had to say about President Trump today and note the commentary because it’s primarily European…


    • Bill Bodden
      January 21, 2017 at 13:12

      Thank you, Bob, for that excellent link.

    • evelync
      January 21, 2017 at 14:40

      Yes, thank you Bob!

      Craig Murray’s solid piece is very welcome!!
      So glad that there are well informed and honest writers determined to reveal the difference between our words and our actions as a country.

    • backwardsevolution
      January 22, 2017 at 07:01

      Bob Van Noy – thank you for the link. Very good article by Craig Murray, and very sensible too. “So that is Trump. Much that is bad but some fascinating things to watch. I suppose the reason I can’t join in the “it’s a disaster” screams, is that I thought it was already a disaster. The neo-liberal, warmongering orthodoxies did not have my support…” Then he says he shall “wait and see”. Good advice.

      Thanks, Bob.

  7. Mark Thomason
    January 21, 2017 at 12:48

    Thank you. Good points well expressed. This has been buried by those who know better, as partisanship has overtaken truth.

    Trump bashing is an expression of the shock of 9:00 pm Election Night returns that were “impossible.” It is the political expression of Hillary’s drunken ravings that night.

    We see Stages of Grief in place of intelligence reports.

    • January 23, 2017 at 22:10

      I can’t imagine that I, a critic of all warmongers and spillers of profit for gain, would EVER stop bashing Trump. Not going to happen. I will not normalize Trump and his presidency and ‘look forward’ (which was Obama’s big thing, conveniently).

      • January 23, 2017 at 22:11

        spillers of blood for gain. Apologies. The discussion features on this website hurl chunks!

  8. D5-5
    January 21, 2017 at 12:22

    Thank Obama for “dispelling . . . obfuscation”? Obama called for a thorough investigation back in December then almost immediately made statements to the effect that “nothing much happens without Putin knowing it” and “the Russians are capable of doing this” (the essence of his remarks). Massaging the hysteria nicely, wasn’t he? Now he states “conclusions are not conclusive.” Once again here he is the spinmaster on his silver toe defending his ego. Too kind, Ray, much too kind and generous for this kind of behavior.

  9. Joel Kabakov
    January 21, 2017 at 11:31

    Sorry folks, this smacks of W. Bush maintaining “we have no direct evidence thet Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11” fully knowing that the majority of Americans had already been successfully programed to the contrary. The big admission Obama is lacking here is the admission that the whole “Putin hacked” scenario was scripted in the bowels of the American security state otherwise known as the fourth branch of our government.

  10. fudmier
    January 21, 2017 at 09:56

    The issue s/n/b “who” leaked “what”, it s/b =>why, should information<= about "salaried, elected 527 actor [and appointee] activities" be allowed any privilege of privacy or secrecy. Obviously, those who need to be best informed in a democracy, about the activities and exploits of those in or near to power, are those furtherest from the seats of power, the members of the voting public. Privilege of secret or privacy belongs to those furtherest from the seats of power. Seat occupants possess no privilege or secret to any aspect of their activities and exploits.

    Democracy demands an inverse relationship between government actors closet to "centralized power" and the "privilege" of secrecy or privacy.

    • evelync
      January 21, 2017 at 10:46

      you’re absolutely correct, fudmier. Bernie was trusted by Dems, Independents and Republicans because he spoke the plain truth about our sorry state of affairs. He would’ve won.
      The DNC, corrupt, dishonest, did not serve the large majority of people in their own party.
      They conspired to disrupt Bernie’s candidacy from the beginning starting with the first primary in the Southeast when they tried to discredit Bernie with that letter from the DNC chairs of the southern block.
      It is important for VIPS to demand the proof of the so called hack.
      Hillary Clinton was not trusted. She was a weak candidate whose allegiance was to a tiny sliver of powerful wealthy people. everybody knew that.
      She cost herself the election.
      The argument her defenders are using trying to blame the Russians, the FBI, blah blah blah is that if only the truth could have been kept from the voters their candidate would have won.
      That is a very weak position and does not help their credibility.
      They play a dangerous game trying to inflame passions against Russia instead of cleaning their own house.

  11. Anon
    January 21, 2017 at 07:20

    The choice of one word by Obama is not a strong argument, nor is there a case that “almost certainly” Russia hacked the DNC email, versus China or the US or a private hacker. The US certainly did so, as it has far greater resources and is known to have the ability. So the most likely government hacking source is a US agency like NSA. And the most likely source is the disaffected, resigned, and murdered DNC staffer Mr. Rich.

    Let’s refuse to play the corrupt DNC game of distraction from the email contents.

    The story here is that the DNC is controlled by big money and foreign powers Israel and KSA.

    There is no other story on this subject, and this constant harping on the distraction story suggests complicity in the diversion of public attention from the DNC corruption.

  12. Herman
    January 21, 2017 at 04:07

    Well, Donald Trump is our president. It is hard to imagine how he will rid the world of the Cold War and it’s hard to miss his shift from talking about it directly to the war against Muslim extremism. While we hope it would, working with Russia on ISIS does not mean that the taunting by our Generals or by NATO will disappear. The President has bridled at the behavior of the CIA but will he be able to reduce its power. Ditto the military that he praises as all presidents do and speaks of making it even bigger.

    His positions on trade will run up against the power of investors who want to freely move their money where the profits are. Arguments like the second world war was a result of our protectionists policies after the Depression hit will surface and the public will be reminded that advanced countries simply don’t behave the way he proposes.

    On education reform he will find himself pilloried for trying to destroy public education, and suggesting that parents should have choices will be derided as a violation of our Constitution and its freedom of religion First Amendment and other charges piled upon those.

    Touching preferential treatment because of race will be shouted out of the room.

    In addition to those barriers to getting anything done there is the calls for America first, which is fine except it must include a willingness to deal constructively with world problems. For example, it is disappointing when talking about borders and immigrants, he did not connect our role in the destruction of Middle East countries with the mass exodus from the region. Why not point to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, even on the borders of Russia and China as places where such extremism exists and changing our own behavior is important to combat it.

    On health care, good luck. Obama gave us something which setting the move toward universal coverage back years by creating a monster which helped those who see universal care as a threat to their profits and power. Announcing a plan for universal coverage is far removed from the vision Trump creates for our country of greater “freedom” and unleashing the constructive power of free enterprise. Universal health coverage and opening up the health system to innovation could work together but doubtful that Trump would have the power to make it happen even if he saw it as helping the people.

    So Trump, already pilloried, marginalized and boxed in, will have a hard time getting anything done, and the interests that oppose anything progressive will not hesitate to unite, scratching each others’ back and help each other defeat whatever Trump proposes.

    Trump the maverick, Trump the reformer. Would it be so.

  13. Call A Spade
    January 21, 2017 at 04:05

    How would the 2017 Australia of the year possibly be involved isn’t he under house arrest in London?

  14. Joe
    January 21, 2017 at 03:28

    Thank god the election is over and it’s time to change wall-hangings and furniture. Civilians also get a change in themes that have preoccupied journalists, such as the Democrats’ acute case of McCarthyism.

    But now that there is a Republican in the WH, what are you guys going to write about? It’s been getting a little old….

    January 21, 2017 at 01:34

    Great piece, Ray. What I especially appreciated were your comments on Obama’s understated great skill in using language.

    For example, you write:

    “It is necessary to carefully parse Obama’s words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs.”

    and later:

    “the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent.”

    Obama has used his speaking skills to take us all down the long garden path, beginning as a campaigner who was apparently anti-war and becoming one of the worst of the pro-war presidents. He can claim he never promised he was anti-war during his 2008 campaign because is is “so rhetorically eloquent at…. obfuscation” and he very carefully creates “his oratorical constructs.”

    Great job, Ray. Showing that Obama not only was screwing around with innuendo on the issue of Russian hacking, but that Obama’s been screwing around with our minds beginning with his statements as a Senator and continuing right until his most recent statements as POTUS.

  16. January 21, 2017 at 00:47

    hi, the hack is easy to figure. mr. PODESTA used a soft easy password so that anyone could hack it. he wanted people to find the clinton email with DEPLORABLES in it. so that it would go viral. he regarded it as having racial tones & he was pissed off at hillary about it. sanders voters were blacks gays & hispanics etc. OBAMA & all the democrats know this but they wont mention it because it reflects on them. i-e therefor /ergo russia the scapegoat bogeyman.or the truth would make them look foolish.–beware the TALENT ACT /circa january 2017 .

  17. Charlie M.
    January 20, 2017 at 23:11

    Bro. Ray, thank you for giving us clarity. We will need more of it. Keep up the Good Fight.

  18. Tom
    January 20, 2017 at 22:53

    Eh idk about this. There have been reports that the intel community already identified the russians who gave wikileaks the data. It just hasnt been disclosed in the unclassified reports. And what obama said there has to be looked at carefully. I dont think he’s disspelling the narrative, i think hes just saying that wikileaks might not have known they were being used by russia as a conduit and means of getting the data published. Who knows though

  19. Bill Bodden
    January 20, 2017 at 22:07

    In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material.

    If “they” had practiced a daily habit of reading Consortium News “they” would have known how Wikileaks got the information.

    • Call A Spade
      January 21, 2017 at 04:11

      No US citizen would have taken that into account they are emotive they do not vote on evidence otherwise there would have been two different choices.

  20. Bill
    January 20, 2017 at 20:52

    So you’re almost certain that the Russian government hacked the DNC? Based on what, a guess?

    The whole story has had a bad smell to it from the beginning.

    Assumptions don’t cut it, we need proof.

    • Richard
      January 22, 2017 at 18:40

      The way I felt after reading that sentence; then I looked at the author – ex-CIA consultant!

  21. John
    January 20, 2017 at 20:45

    Perjury….Any president of the USA is continuously under oath from day one……The only thing is USA citizens are cowards. They allow the elite money changers to sway the law……

    • January 21, 2017 at 18:26

      The oath thing is effectively a Hitlerian Big Lie. Presidents (and most people, good and bad) lie as naturally as breathing. Presidents’ lies definitely do more damage than little people’s lies, not to excuse any of it. (I don’t lie, big or white) To get an idea how much of liar Barack Obama is (which was known early on; See the book “Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank) just give Seymour Hersh’s book “The Killing Of Osama bin Laden” a read. The book is unbalanced, in that it’s as much about Syria (and the lies told, and not told, about that) as it is about bin Laden. But it’s very good, although Hersh, who isn’t as independent of the establishment as some believe him to be, unfathomably believes that Obamacare was a plus for Obama’s legacy.

  22. bob
    January 20, 2017 at 20:40

    It appears to me Barack and Hillary simply conspired to destroy Bernie’s candidacy and populism. It is and always forever shall be about cash. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia infinitum. Our military is an ocean of unaccounted, bloody cash. One Nation Under God. I can tell you this. I guarded B-52’s, F-4 Phantoms, C-5 A’s, the secret Black Sheep Squadron of C-130’s with no external insignias jammed with electronics to spy on European nations etcetera. No one in their right mind can send these gigantic machines to bomb defenseless little girls who can’t even see them they fly so high and be sane. Toys for the insatiably insane. Absolute lunacy and we glorify it because we’re trained like rats.

    • Sam F
      January 21, 2017 at 07:33

      Very true. The stories of risks from other great powers are based upon absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, and the subsidy of wars of aggression for Israel and Saudi Arabia is insanity and corruption to the point of treason. The US has no interest in war at all except bribery from MIC/Israel/KSA. The warmongers should all be in Club Fed Guantanamo for good.

      Aristotle warned of these tyrants over democracy, causing foreign wars to create fear and to demand power as false protectors, and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. Our Constitutional Convention failed to protect the tools of democracy, mass media and elections, from the economic concentrations that did not then exist. The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances.

      • January 22, 2017 at 01:20

        @ “The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances.”

        In that regard, there is only one proposed constitutional amendment that is worth discussing. Now endorsed by several states and over 600 local governments. It is the only proposal that creates a right that citizens can enforce in a court of law. The rest of the proposed amendments all merely grant Congress and state legislatures the *discretion* to regulate campaign financing. (That didn’t work out very well before the Supreme Court decided that corporate speech was protected by the First Amendment and campaign contributions equal speech within the meaning of that Amendment.)

        See the We the People Amendment: https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment

        • Sam F
          January 22, 2017 at 10:59

          Paul, that proposed amendment only deals with election (not mass media and balance of power) and is not very well worded, so it would set up judicial battles to disable it. It is too vague in stating that federal, state, and local government “shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures…to ensure that all citizens…have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more … ability to influence …the election of any candidate…”

          Vagueness resolves controversies in phrasing law, but gives the corrupt judiciary too much power to disable it. They will just rule that “all citizens…have access” regardless, and that no person has “substantially more…influence” regardless of each issue before them. The law must be so specific that the most corrupt judge – and they are all completely corrupt – would be afraid of riots if he ignored it. Nothing else will work.

          The mass media must be defined and strictly regulated – not in content – so that influence of money is effectively prevented. This requires detailed oversight of monopolized media’s ownership, management, reporting, and funding, so that no identifiable group is not proportionately represented, and that coverage is balanced.

          Checks and balances between the federal branches is also not working at all. The Executive has all effective power as it controls budgets and enforcement and secret agencies. Congress must control agencies more directly, perhaps with multiple executives.

          The Executive has also unconstitutionally seized the warmaking power through treaties and secret wars. This can be partly fixed by dumping NATO, which has become a tool of right-wing tyrants to fabricate foreign enemies to get campaign bribes. Without such abused treaties, the Constitution allows no foreign wars at all – just repelling invasions, and letters of Marque (arrest abroad for offenses here) and letters of Reprisal (limited operations against named military targets, usually pirate ships).

          The judiciary has seized power by refusing to honor constitutional rights or enforce laws against insiders, and no branch is regulating the judiciary, although the Constitution provides only that judges shall serve “during good behavior” with no detail on who decides that. So they pretend to regulate themselves and never find themselves at fault. How wonderful to have Santa Claus protecting our former rights. This too must be ended by amendment to the Constitution.

          • January 23, 2017 at 22:02

            Society is riddled with gatekeepers. (Note that some have their own ‘interesting’ definition of a gatekeeper. One person on the otherwise excellent Off Guardian website has argued, essentially, that because Noam Chomsky [an ardent believer in freedom of speech] intimidates (not intentionally but by virtue of his vast knowledge) others, sometimes, and because that might cause them to be quiet instead of speaking, then Chomsky is a gatekeeper. It’s Chomsky’s fault if someone is someone is so intimidated by the intellectual challenge of Chomsky (in person ‘and’ in writing?) that he (or…) is too shy to speak up and that’s Chomsky’s problem?!

            Anyway, There’s appointed and self-appointed gatekeepers. Self-appointed gatekeepers can be as lowly as a police officer or as high in position as a president. Or a judge. You can be a gatekeeper whether or not you’re part of the 1% who need the gatekeepers there to keep the people out of their hair, which is part of the gatekeepers function. A gatekeeper is anyone who hinders, in small or serious ways, others who possess the ‘wrong’ political views. The wrong political views here would be views, simply, that those who possess power and privilege don’t want you to have. Gatekeepers, then, are John Netleys (the coach driver for two others, including Jack The Ripper proper). Therefore, Those would also be, by definition, democratic views, since democracy (the textbook definition lets say) is not about the freedom of association and speech for some. It’s supposed to be freedom of association and speech for all. And it’s noteworthy, in that regard, that, as I recall, some six states are proposing or have passed laws making it legal to run over protesters. Think about that! (http://bit.ly/2iYdtuA) Does anyone suppose that Donald Trump has a problem with such a law?

            Anyway, Appointed gatekeepers are most likely going to be conscious of their role as gatekeepers. In the case of judges and others in such powerful and influential positions, there’s no question that they will be conscious of their roles in the class war. Judges, like army generals and officers and like police chiefs, are going to know exactly the class warfare aspect of their roles. And so should we the people. And it isn’t acceptable that judges are not subject to recall ‘by the people’. Judges are doubly appointed (and doubly undemocratic), being unelected (at least in the US) and then serving as gatekeepers for the 1%, their class. Chomsky notes that without the meaningful power of recall for politicians, the idea that you have democracy is farcical. I would add, Not just politicians. Chomsky points out that when politicians have great power and override the popular will, then the burden is on them to demonstrate that their power is not illegimitate. And if it isn’t, that power should be taken from them. I don’t know how you would do when they have ‘the power’. But the point is good, I think. And, again, That’s how we should think of judges, in my opinion.

            gatekeepers: http://bit.ly/1AyUpV0

  23. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    January 20, 2017 at 20:37

    what i find truly fascinating is that nobody is giving any attention to the FACT that the DNC cheated to make Hillary the nominee in the general elections!! That is not hacking or leaking, it is CHEATING which should be treated accordingly…………..even B.S. himself, should have raised hell about that but he lined up like a sheep dog behind Hillary…………go figure

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 21, 2017 at 18:03

      Ah Doctor now you are talking. The hacking, leaking , and anything else along those line keep us from talking about the real problem. That problem being Hillary’s cheating. Good that you brought it up.

      • January 21, 2017 at 18:13

        The question then, is, Did those fools kill two birds with one stone? Or did they flub twice and have the contents of two eggs on each of their faces? They thought that they could count on the foundation of the doctrinal system, and people’s having been marinated in it’s bullcrap, when they tossed out the ‘Putin did it line’. They did all the evil that Wikileaks revealed and only added to it with that nonsense that much (most?) of the public now disbelieves.

        • January 21, 2017 at 18:21

          I have not had the time to look into this the way I want to and I regret that. It’s not just that I haven’t had the time to examine something important and interesting. I have been misled by Craig Murray’s own account, not intentionally I’m sure. Neverthless. I took from one of his blog posts the idea that he met the leaker, full stop. Then, as I perused comments by others (Off Guardian I believe), I realized that it wasn’t that simple. Craig met someone acting as a courier for the leaker or leakers, apparently. The difference is not unimportant. Craig can say that he knows that the info that Wikileaks obtained here was not ‘hacked’, based on his having received it from the leaker or his or her courier. That’s fair. But if that’s how it went down, then I don’t want to say that Murray ‘met’ the leaker. I wish people would be honest. It’s important.

          Yes, l know all about the other stuff. William Binney’s explanations for why it wasn’t a hack etc.. That’s all good. But it’s not my focus here. I was misled and then I misled others and my credibility could be impacted by something like this. If my efforts to educate others is important, then that credibility problem is important.

  24. backwardsevolution
    January 20, 2017 at 19:51

    Ray McGovern – another great article! Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to find out what Trump says to the CIA tomorrow. Maybe Trump needs to take along Craig Murray.

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 21, 2017 at 12:59

      backwardsevolution, please see my comment below about Craig Murray.

    • January 21, 2017 at 18:08

      That would be awesome! It won’t happen of course. But it would be awesome.

    • Abbybwood
      January 22, 2017 at 17:44

      I caught this comment over at The Intercept:

      At the end of his CIA speech yesterday, while talking about the fact that hundreds of CIA personnel were unable to attend the speech due to the small size of the auditorium he was speaking in, and promising to come back soon, Donald Trump dropped this doozie:

      “We may have to get you a larger room. [laughter, applause] We may have to get you a larger room.”
      “And maybe – maybe – it’ll be built by somebody that knows how to build and we won’t have columns [laughter] You understand that? We’d get rid of the columns.”

      …an obvious “fifth column” reference…

      No one is touching this quote with a ten foot pole

      Full transcript here:


      From Wikipedia:

      “A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organized actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.”

      Makes me wonder if there might be ANYTHING Trump could do that would cause Democrats to stand and cheer?!

      Shattering the CIA into a thousand pieces and scattering it to the wind would be a sweet move.

      I see where Trump announced he would be sending “thousands” more agents into the CIA. Trump moles??

      • January 23, 2017 at 21:15

        Will the fascist Trump call whistleblowers fifth columnists and traiters to America? We are in a class war, in which, as Chomsky notes, the resource rich class is highly conscious of and eager to use all it’s means to wage it. Part of their approach has been to drive that awareness out of people’s minds, to divert them with superficialities such as fashionable consumption etc.. (See “Requiem For The American Dream”) He talks all the time about, from Trump’s class’s standpoint, how if we can be satisfied with the appearance of democracy – elections, freedom to shop – then ‘formal’, fake, democracy is what the 1% needs. The people, Walter Lippman’s “bewildered herd,” namely we the people, are to be spectators of politics, not participants.

        If you can be convinced that you have democracy, rather than you’ve lost democracy, then Will you look for it?

        As for tv, That’s such a potent weapon in the 1%’s arsenal. I haven’t had the joy of turning one on myself in many years. I get some entertainment by scouring the internet etc.. And if that gets blocked, as it has been to a great extent (and will be blocked further going forward, because those with the authority and power to do that can), I still won’t pay for the privilege of owning a mind numbing, annoying, poisonous tv set. Where would my reading, blogging and research go if I gave in and bought one? Now, To be honest I can see where there would be times that you would want a tv set or a radio. Say there’s a local disaster in your area. The world’s a big place. You may not know about it if you are solely on the internet. I think I will acquire a radio for that purpose. Now and then I could listen to jazz or classical, the way I do at work (I have that freedom, thankfully). And since the stations are local…

  25. Bob Van Noy
    January 20, 2017 at 19:43

    Thank you Ray McGovern and The VIPS for keeping us informed about this most important event. It has the potential to expose much wrongdoing affecting our fragile democracy. Watching it being “played out” in real time is a great asset of this remarkable site where truth and decent conversation are carried out on a daily basis…

  26. January 20, 2017 at 19:40

    William Binney was right. A leak, not a hacked was done to the DNC.

  27. Zachary Smith
    January 20, 2017 at 19:33

    “So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame “mainstream” media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam.”

    Not me. In my opinion Obama has been “playing nice” for his final few days and hours in the hope citizens and historians will make that “leap” and conclude he was a nice guy at heart after all.

    The Moon of Alabama site had this viewpoint:

    The DNC emails “that were leaked” – not “hacked” or “stolen” but “leaked”.

    One wonders if this is a parting shot is primarily aimed at the involved Intelligence Agencies led by James Clapper and John Brennan. Or is dissing Hillary Clinton and her narrative the main purpose?

    That blogger could be right and I might be wrong. For whatever reason Obama finally decided to steer clear of the moronic “Russia Connection” BS. At least for the final record.

  28. Sally Snyder
    January 20, 2017 at 18:57

    Here is an interesting look at an essay written by Barack Obama when he was a student at Columbia University:


    It is so ironic that he is now the only POTUS to serve his full term in a state of war, yet another inconsistency in his persona.

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 20, 2017 at 20:05

      Thanks for the link Sally Snyder. They can’t be the same person. Can they?

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