Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’

Prominent journalists and politicians seized upon a shabby, politically motivated, “intelligence” report as proof of “Russian interference” in the U.S. election without the pretense of due diligence, argues Jack Matlock, a former U.S. ambassador in Moscow.

By Jack Matlock

Did the U.S. “intelligence community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed. Reports that President Putin denied involvement in the election are scoffed at, usually with a claim that the U.S. “intelligence community” proved Russian interference. In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”

I spent the 35 years of my government service with a “top secret” clearance. When I reached the rank of ambassador and also worked as Special Assistant to the President for National Security, I also had clearances for “codeword” material. At that time, intelligence reports to the president relating to Soviet and European affairs were routed through me for comment. I developed at that time a “feel” for the strengths and weaknesses of the various American intelligence agencies. It is with that background that I read the January 6, 2017 report of three intelligence agencies: the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

This report is labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment,” but in fact it is not that. A report of the intelligence community in my day would include the input of all the relevant intelligence agencies and would reveal whether all agreed with the conclusions. Individual agencies did not hesitate to “take a footnote” or explain their position if they disagreed with a particular assessment. A report would not claim to be that of the “intelligence community” if any relevant agency was omitted.

The report states that it represents the findings of three intelligence agencies: CIA, FBI, and NSA, but even that is misleading in that it implies that there was a consensus of relevant analysts in these three agencies. In fact, the report was prepared by a group of analysts from the three agencies pre-selected by their directors, with the selection process generally overseen by James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Clapper told the Senate in testimony May 8, 2017, that it was prepared by “two dozen or so analysts—hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.” If you can hand-pick the analysts, you can hand-pick the conclusions. The analysts selected would have understood what Director Clapper wanted since he made no secret of his views. Why would they endanger their careers by not delivering?

What should have struck any congressperson or reporter was that the procedure Clapper followed was the same as that used in 2003 to produce the report falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein had retained stocks of weapons of mass destruction. That should be worrisome enough to inspire questions, but that is not the only anomaly.

Clapper (far right): Picked who he wanted. (Office of Director of National Intelligence)

The DNI has under his aegis a National Intelligence Council whose officers can call any intelligence agency with relevant expertise to draft community assessments. It was created by Congress after 9/11 specifically to correct some of the flaws in intelligence collection revealed by 9/11. Director Clapper chose not to call on the NIC, which is curious since its duty is “to act as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities.”

Unusual FBI Participation

During my time in government, a judgment regarding national security would include reports from, as a minimum, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) of the State Department. The FBI was rarely, if ever, included unless the principal question concerned law enforcement within the United States. NSA might have provided some of the intelligence used by the other agencies but normally did not express an opinion regarding the substance of reports.

What did I notice when I read the January report? There was no mention of INR or DIA! The exclusion of DIA might be understandable since its mandate deals primarily with military forces, except that the report attributes some of the Russian activity to the GRU, Russian military intelligence. DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, is the U.S. intelligence organ most expert on the GRU. Did it concur with this attribution? The report doesn’t say.

The omission of INR is more glaring since a report on foreign political activity could not have been that of the U.S. intelligence community without its participation. After all, when it comes to assessments of foreign intentions and foreign political activity, the State Department’s intelligence service is by far the most knowledgeable and competent. In my day, it reported accurately on Gorbachev’s reforms when the CIA leaders were advising that Gorbachev had the same aims as his predecessors.

This is where due diligence comes in. The first question responsible journalists and politicians should have asked is “Why is INR not represented? Does it have a different opinion? If so, what is that opinion? Most likely the official answer would have been that this is “classified information.” But why should it be classified? If some agency heads come to a conclusion and choose (or are directed) to announce it publicly, doesn’t the public deserve to know that one of the key agencies has a different opinion?

The second question should have been directed at the CIA, NSA, and FBI: did all their analysts agree with these conclusions or were they divided in their conclusions? What was the reason behind hand-picking analysts and departing from the customary practice of enlisting analysts already in place and already responsible for following the issues involved?

State Department Intel Silenced

As I was recently informed by a senior official, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research did, in fact, have a different opinion but was not allowed to express it. So the January report was not one of the “intelligence community,” but rather of three intelligence agencies, two of which have no responsibility or necessarily any competence to judge foreign intentions. The job of the FBI is to enforce federal law. The job of NSA is to intercept the communications of others and to protect ours. It is not staffed to assess the content of what is intercepted; that task is assumed by others, particularly the CIA, the DIA (if it is military) or the State Department’s INR (if it is political).

The second thing to remember is that reports of the intelligence agencies reflect the views of the heads of the agencies and are not necessarily a consensus of their analysts’ views. The heads of both the CIA and FBI are political appointments, while the NSA chief is a military officer; his agency is a collector of intelligence rather than an analyst of its import, except in the fields of cryptography and communications security.

One striking thing about the press coverage and Congressional discussion of the January report, and of subsequent statements by CIA, FBI, and NSA heads is that questions were never posed regarding the position of the State Department’s INR, or whether the analysts in the agencies cited were in total agreement with the conclusions.

Let’s put these questions aside for the moment and look at the report itself. On the first page of text, the following statement leapt to my attention:

We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

Now, how can one judge whether activity “interfered” with an election without assessing its impact? After all, if the activity had no impact on the outcome of the election, it could not be properly termed interference. This disclaimer, however, has not prevented journalists and politicians from citing the report as proof that “Russia interfered” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As for particulars, the report is full of assertion, innuendo, and description of “capabilities” but largely devoid of any evidence to substantiate its assertions. This is “explained” by claiming that much of the evidence is classified and cannot be disclosed without revealing sources and methods. The assertions are made with “high confidence” or occasionally, “moderate confidence.” Having read many intelligence reports I can tell you that if there is irrefutable evidence of something it will be stated as a fact. The use of the term “high confidence” is what most normal people would call “our best guess.” “Moderate confidence” means “some of our analysts think this might be true.”

Guccifer 2.0: A Fabrication

Among the assertions are that a persona calling itself “Guccifer 2.0” is an instrument of the GRU, and that it hacked the emails on the Democratic National Committee’s computer and conveyed them to Wikileaks. What the report does not explain is that it is easy for a hacker or foreign intelligence service to leave a false trail. In fact, a program developed by CIA with NSA assistance to do just that has been leaked and published.

Retired senior NSA technical experts have examined the “Guccifer 2.0” data on the web and have concluded that “Guccifer 2.0’s” data did not involve a hack across the web but was locally downloaded. Further, the data had been tampered with and manipulated, leading to the conclusion that “Guccifer 2.0” is a total fabrication.

The report’s assertions regarding the supply of the DNC emails to Wikileaks are dubious, but its final statement in this regard is important: Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”  In other words, what was disclosed was the truth! So, Russians are accused of “degrading our democracy” by revealing that the DNC was trying to fix the nomination of a particular candidate rather than allowing the primaries and state caucuses to run their course. I had always thought that transparency is consistent with democratic values. Apparently those who think that the truth can degrade democracy have a rather bizarre—to put it mildly–concept of democracy.

Most people, hearing that it is a “fact” that “Russia” interfered in our election must think that Russian government agents hacked into vote counting machines and switched votes to favor a particular candidate. This, indeed, would be scary, and would justify the most painful sanctions. But this is the one thing that the “intelligence” report of January 6, 2017, states did not happen. Here is what it said: “DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.”

This is an important statement by an agency that is empowered to assess the impact of foreign activity on the United States. Why was it not consulted regarding other aspects of the study? Or—was it in fact consulted and refused to endorse the findings? Another obvious question any responsible journalist or competent politician should have asked.

Prominent American journalists and politicians seized upon this shabby, politically motivated, report as proof of “Russian interference” in the U.S. election without even the pretense of due diligence. They have objectively acted as co-conspirators in an effort to block any improvement in relations with Russia, even though cooperation with Russia to deal with common dangers is vital to both countries.

This is only part of the story of how, without good reason, U.S.-Russian relations have become dangerously confrontational. God willin and the crick don’t rise, I’ll be musing about other aspects soon.

(Thanks to Ray McGovern and Bill Binney for their research assistance.)

This article originally appeared on JackMatlock.com

Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Since retiring from the Foreign Service, he has focused on understanding how the Cold War ended and how the lessons from that experience might be applied to public policy today.

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128 comments for “Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’

  1. Eric Gisse
    July 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    “Retired senior NSA technical experts have examined the “Guccifer 2.0” data on the web and have concluded that “Guccifer 2.0’s” data did not involve a hack across the web but was locally downloaded.”

    Except the download speed quoted is trivially achievable with standard leased hardware. I am curious why none of these “technical experts” mention this.

    For nearly ten years you’ve been able to lease an OVH/Hetzner/online.net dedicated server that has had at least 100 megabyte connectivity. Current servers frequently offer gigabyte connectivity.

    I would love it if Bill Binney (or anyone involved in this claim) could explain precisely why they feel 22 megabytes per second is an unachievable result.

    I’ve noticed some technical oversights / missing pieces that were never addressed.

    First, the analysis was never performed by Binney, et al. It was performed by a pseudononymous “forensicator”, and they merely referenced the work. This is an important point that is overlooked.

    Second, I note that there was never once any evidence that the data was exfiltrated to an overseas server as a first hop, yet any such analysis specifically assumes that in order to assert how impossible that is.

    With the recent GRU indictments we now have information that the data was compressed and exfiltrated to a server on the US mainland. Does Binney, et al stand by such an analysis in that case? Or is there a claim the information in the indictment is mistaken?

    Basically what I’m wondering at this point is whether any of these publications will be retracted or even modified with the subsequent release of the IRA and GRU indictments, as well as the Senate Intelligence report.

  2. Bob Broedel
    July 13, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Jack Matlock was Ambassador to the USSR back when I was making annual visits to establish a sister city relationship between Tallahassee and Krasnodar. I never met him but I was always thinking he would have approved of what I was doing to improve US-USSR relations.

  3. Tom
    July 12, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    The House “investigation” of Peter Strzok continues. Both sides say we’re only interested in getting to the truth. Lie. All that care about is winning the mid terms at all costs to maintain their money and power. What perfect way to do it than to use the the “intelligence community” says that Russia interfered. So it HAS to be true. But it’s all classified. You’ll just have to trust us on this.

  4. Daniel Danon
    July 12, 2018 at 11:21 am

    This is really not about Trump or Clinton, but about big money.

    Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Pentagon spent 7% of the US GDP. This fell to 3.5% right after. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq raised it again but only temporarily. You can’t invest that kind of money in fighting a couple thousand extremists armed with Kalashnikovs. The military-industrial complex needs a long-term solution and only Russia is a foe which would be able to mobilise the kind of political support the complex needs.

    So before the elections we had a paradox: a virulently anti-Russian candidate of a typically dovish party against a paradoxically anti-war candidate of a hawkish anti-Russian party. The latter wants to cut defense spending and work with Russia.

    Alarm!

    So with a simple paper prepared by a handful of Clapper appointees, we are now in a different reality: Democrats are pro-war and anti-Russian and Trump agreed to the biggest increase in defence spending in peacetime history.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski believed that US funding and arming of Jihadis in Afghanistan to fight Russia, which he had initiated, was CIA’s coup of the century as it precipitated the fall of the USSR. That’s small fry compared to the hacking of American democracy by the CIA: for almost no cost, you have now a deeply divided country, brought together only by anti-Russianism, where the perpetual doctrine is acceptable and the latest increase in military spending is bigger than the whole Russian defence budget.

    In fact, the budget of the 17 US intell agencies is also larger than the Russian army’s (including GRU). US has 800 military bases in 70 countries, Russia has 6, only one (Syria) outside former Soviet countries. US defence budget is 10 times Russia’s, NATO countries’ 15 times. US has 11 formal aircraft careers other 8 convertibles, Russia has 1 (one).

    Disclaimer: I’m French so I can’t be taken seriously. But fact I quote are from Wikipedia, so unless Wiki has been hacked by Russia they may still be correct.

  5. marta
    July 12, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Amazingly clear language! Wonderful article!

  6. marta
    July 12, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Would love Trump to read this before his meeting with Putin. Amazing article Matlock, and thank you Stone, for making it available!

  7. robert
    July 11, 2018 at 10:39 am

    trump’s interest in improving relations with putin seems to be the only positive dissonant item on his agenda. I’d settle for a few vapid photo ops with putin and trump – whats dissonant and odd is that it doesnt mesh with trumps pro military statements tweeted every morning. trump broadcasts his love for the military and his WH is packed with uniformed goons, yet he thinks he’s ok with putin. that doesnt fit the neocons business model which needs russia to be an enemy and threat in order to justify an outsized, wasteful MIC, to sell more arms to the West. The Democratic and GOP relentless hard line neocon paranoia . of course, is at bottom false: the only motive for this relentless bipartisan neocon hostility is the arms/MIC lobby there is no cause or basis for real hostility between China Russia and the West. There is competition, but thats addressed by trade agreements and the market. But faux hostility will suffice —it is essential to maintain arms sales and MIC activities growth. DOD’s recent defense posture review outlining arms growth is a good example.

  8. Tom
    July 7, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Since there’s no proof of Russian collusion, why haven’t any of these people been arrested for massive embezzlement of govt. funds? Oh right. It’s “politics”.

  9. Mild - ly Facetious
    July 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    “politically motivated” = this sort of smelly Clap Trap from the Tweets of the pretentious / prevaricator (LIAR-IN-CHIEF)
    —————– pResident tRump.

    http://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2018/jul/03/donald-trump/pants-fire-white-house-claim-sen-harris-supporting/

    • mike
      July 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Your comment completely fails to address the subject of the article. Deflect much or just an example of Trump derangement syndrome?

  10. Cass Dean
    July 6, 2018 at 2:33 am

    More commentary on CIA protocols and procedures will be very welcome, especially when pointing out they have not been followed and explaining the likely explanation behind the scenes.

    I’d like to see someone comment on the CIA’s little essay on procedures that precedes the report and some pointed examples of where these have not been followed.

    I have wondered whether that essay is a message in a bottle to the public, sabotaging the report itself.

  11. b.grand
    July 5, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    These denialists also accuse Wikileaks and Julian Assange in the defeat of war criminal and Wall Street shill Hillary Clinton.

    DEFEND FREEDOM of SPEECH and of the PRESS –
    …Please sign this Petition and promote to your friends.

    There’s a [30 day] time limit to get enough signatures for an official response. Clock is ticking!

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/drop-charges-and-allegations-well-grand-jury-against-julian-assange-and-wikileaks

    The relentless attacks on Assange and Wikileaks threatens the future of a free press that is the bulwark of democracy.
    Drop Charges and Allegations As Well As Grand Jury

  12. Erelis
    July 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Max Blumenthal posted an exchange between Aron Matte and Russiagate writer Michael Isikoff. One of Isikoff’s main points was that that there is no dissension about Russian interference which is unprecedented, and therefore must be believed. And everybody who saw the so-called data to a man and woman, believed what they are told. Totally unprecedented and therefore must be believed.

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1014257011578605568

    But as Mr. Madlock pointed out, the normal process is to have any number of agencies take a look at the data which apparently did not happen. Instead, only a select group saw the data and reported on it. It never occurred to Mr. Isikoff that the reason for the unprecedented agreement was that the data was cooked by a group who had sole and exclusive access to it

    And as for this total agreement. From the very beginning of the Russiagate claims, anybody who registers doubt or simply asks to see the data and make it public, have been attacked on social media and by political figures. People from both sides of the political spectrum who simply ask for the evidence are publicly labeled traitors and vilified. One of the most egregious cases was a BLM activist who went on sputnik radio, and then had an npr hit piece on her for simply going on a radio show. She was disavowed by a politician she was working with.

    Hell, take a look at the attacks on a republican delegation to Moscow to work on Trump/Putin meeting who spent the day at the US ambassador’s residence. Called traitors for going to Moscow. Isikoff totally ignores the rabid McCarthyism which no pol will go against.

  13. DH Fabian
    July 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    As I recall, the anti-Russian campaign began shortly after the 2016 election as the Clinton’s excuse for their defeat. The liberal media, having so deeply invested themselves in Clinton’s campaign, went all-out to create a story to support that allegation. It has been fascinating to watch, as the anti-Russian campaign has maintained a fairly consistent cycle. Every few weeks, there will be a “hair-on-fire” revelation about some sort of “Russian interference,” followed by a few weeks of articles intended to reinforce that phrase in the public mind. These revolve around vague connections and “conclusions.” Each time an allegation falls flat under the weight of the facts, the issue quietly slides into the back ground — only to be begun anew in a week or two, rerunning the same (disproved) allegations. It did work pretty well for a while, but people eventually caught on. The problem with the anti-Russian campaign all along has been that it contradicts established, verifiable facts/data.

    • Cass Dean
      July 6, 2018 at 2:36 am

      I dimly recall that something happened at few days before the Convention that set it off and it began at the Convention.

  14. Jeff Harrison
    July 5, 2018 at 10:42 am

    We have now arrived at “The Situation”. After this piece was posted the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a flair of bi-partisan unanimity (so you know it must be twoo because both Democrats and Republicans agree!), declared that the very intelligence assessment totally trashed in this article was, in fact, credible and accurate, without providing any reason for their conclusion. So who’s right? A couple of politicians with an agenda or a non-governmentally controlled professional? In other news, the UK has demanded that Russia explain the illness of a couple of random Brits whom they claim were poisoned with that nerve agent Novochok in Salisbury, England because you just know that the Russians just randomly poison people in other countries. Are the old colonial powers (aka “The West”) all incapable of rational thought or do they just think we are?

    • DH Fabian
      July 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      I’ve personally concluded that they took it for granted that “the little people” (the public) would be incapable to catching the lies.

  15. Mark Thomason
    July 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    The procedure used by Clapper to shape the report is the same as that used by Cheney to get his Iraq War based on lies. That does not mean automatically that what Clapper did is as much of a lie as what Cheney did, but it does mean that it is no more reliable.

    • July 5, 2018 at 2:03 am

      Thanks, Mark Thomason,

      I urge everyone to read the Wikipedia page on James Clapper. There is a LOT there, and the eminence grise behind his Peter-Principle meteoric advancement is Bobby Gates.

      For now, let me just note that in August 2001, Clapper was named Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) where he served until June 2006. So Clapper was in charge of those analyzing the copious imagery available on Iraq. Clapper and the analysts he supervised had a year and a half to find “those WMD” and “those bio-weapons laboratories” in Iraq.

      I have always thought that Clapper had made it clear that no imagery analyst was to call Ahmed Chalabi a liar when the coordinates for his reported “chemical weapons facilities” turned out to locate a chicken coup instead. Mum was the word.

      More recently I have compared notes with several senior intelligence officials (now retired) who have dealt with Clapper in person and have a very low opinion of his basic mental capability — quite apart from his readiness to lie (in those days for Rumsfeld and Cheney). From what I have learned of Clapper’s woodenheadedness, it seems possible that he was incapable of concluding that the reason his hundreds of imagery analysts could not find any WMD in Iraq was because there were no WMD in Iraq. We might call that the charitable explanation, and I guess I should mention it and be fair and balanced, so to speak. But …

      … Me? I think Clapper is a demonstrable liar, having had to confess later to having made “clearly erroneous” testimony under oath to Congress. He showed his mettle early on — to be rewarded by the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bobby Gates, Obama/Brennan. I put O and B together because it is crystal clear that Brennan had inordinate influence over Obama, and that Clapper took his orders from Brennan, as Obama’s vicar — and did what he (Clapper) was told.

      If DOJ and the FBI ever do share the pertinent documents with Devin Nunes and the other House oversight oommittee chairs (perhaps a long shot), a lot of this may come out in the wash. Stay tuned.

      Ray McGovern

      • July 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        Proved liars and torture enthusiasts and war criminals are who are pushing this Russia Ruse.This can of worms is so big it could lead to a constitutional crisis of epic proportions.Worse than Watergate….as if being lied into war and torture werent bad enough…

        Will the government be willing to risk the truth coming out or will it rally the forces to protect itself ,thats the question now as I see it

      • Alcuin
        July 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Any opinion on the relationship between Brennan and Valerie Jarrett, Ray? Should it be O/B/J?

  16. Richard Graham
    July 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    The US has interfered in the politics and elections of virtually every country on Earth, starting with the Monroe Doctrine. That Russia is now being vilified for, maybe, telling everyone the truth about Democratic party politics, is amusing for the level of ignorance and hypocrisy displayed. If you want to get angry about manipulated voting, get angry about the outrageous Gerrymandering of congressional districts.
    As the US has been lying to itself for decades, if not centuries, the logical conclusion has them electing a proudly ignorant, bare-faced liar as President.
    Trump may have little long-term impact. Except that the world can no longer pretend the US knows anything about the world, their own best interests, or the best interests of their longest allies and best friends. They can’t be expected to defend democracy, expand human rights, or manage the most important part of world’s economy.

    • DH Fabian
      July 5, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      I, personally, didn’t catch whatever Russia (?) said about the Democrat Party. I do know that Julian Assange/WikiLeaks shone a light on it. The bottom line is that there has been strong (Dem voter) opposition to the Clinton right wing since the 1990s — something that liberal media overall worked hard to sweep under the carpet. Hillary Clinton was opposed by millions, not because of anything someone from Russia might have reported, but because of her own record — pro-war, anti-poor, etc.

      • July 11, 2018 at 3:57 pm

        Good comment. Those millions of voters (62 million) who voted for Trump undoubtedly had a whole range or reasons why they didn’t want Clinton. But suppose, for the sake of argument, that “Russians” elected Trump. How do you prove that, except by interviewing millions of voters some of whom might or might not say they were influenced by “Russian” propaganda? Mueller’s inability to make a case for Russian “interference” has so far produced nothing but indictments of some Americans for matters unrelated to the government of Russia and some indictments of Russians who are unlikely to appear in US courts. The whole matter reflects the anger of the ruling class at Clinton’s loss and an attempt to find a scapegoat. McCarthyism again, in spades by cynical people..

    • robert
      July 11, 2018 at 11:43 am

      I dont see any hope that fake news and false politics will decline, improve or change— as you note deception is not new, its characterized american politics and media since at least the Constitutional Convention. For a view of that read the Anti-Federalists [1787-88]

      Then in very hopeful moments I imagine that the fake news and false politics that made Trump could provoke a reaction, a progressive citizen groundswell reaction that will put a decent reformer—-Sanders or his equal —-in the WH [I voted for Stein/Baraka].

  17. July 4, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Excellent analysis that helps expose just how totally compromised and useless MSM has become given their refusal to ask basic questions and their dutiful recitation of evidence-free deep state narratives on the matter.

    • Skip Edwards
      July 4, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      I became aware in the very early 70’s of the MSM’s propaganda role in spreading the US gov’t’s myths about how the US invasion of Vietnam was going. As a USAF transport pilot, I received TS briefings in Japan re: the war before flying”in country. I later had the opportunity as a pilot to be in Moscow during the war. Having read US MSM newspapers, received TS briefings and seeing USSR (Russian) MSM news, I had a very unique opportunity to compare what US citizens were being told to what Russian citizens were being told with what our TS briefings divulged to me as an USAF aircrew. The Russians had the truth and US citizens were getting, to be easy, were getting a fairy tale. From my perspective the bull crap has never stopped.

      • July 4, 2018 at 11:23 pm

        I hope you’re reading RTNEWS.

      • GMC
        July 5, 2018 at 5:23 am

        Well Skip – come back to Russia – because here the Pravda is the same as it was when we were in Nam. How Ironic- spacibo

      • vpurto
        July 5, 2018 at 8:11 am

        During Vietnam war I was Soviet citizen (emigrated to the US in 1978). It was not secret to anybody in USSR that Vietnam fighter pilots were all Soviets with WW2 experience. They inflicted enormous losses on USAF not reported to American public as you rightly state in your post. BTW, have ever thought why propaganda machine of proverbial “West” never translated Russian word “Soviet” into national languages? Here is my argument and you decide its validity. Soviet (?????) means Council. Town Soviet means simply Town Council. The list goes on and on and sounds very familiar to Americans.

        • George
          July 5, 2018 at 7:06 pm

          Thanks for that forcible ingratiation of the meaning of the word “soviet”.
          I know russian language… But I was never much into deciphering the _real_ meaning
          of the very word “soviet”. The concept is noble, and now there is only hope
          that some time there will be the bettered version of the failed “Communism 1” trial.
          There is no shame in this. . . . After all, the Capitalism ver. n-th is still bad – even is
          continuous. Pope JohnPaul II has a say on this: it can not be like this that
          capitalism will be the only social order. . . Apparently, he saw that the current
          “ver. n-th” is bad, very bad.

        • robert
          July 11, 2018 at 10:46 am

          Vietnam doent have anything to do with the article above re Clapper’s bullshit, does it?

  18. Procopius
    July 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I’m happy to get some more support for my strongly held opinions that the “assessment” of January 2017 is pure political propaganda intended to support Hillary. It’s probably also intended to be used against President* Trump, but I’m not interested in that. I saw one egregiously wrong statement in the article, though. The “job” of the FBI is not just “to enforce Federal law.” It is the designated sole agency authorized and tasked to conduct counterintelligence operations inside the United States. I realize the CIA has always tried to muscle in and the Church Committee was pretty vigorous in pushing the requirement that they not be permitted to conduct ANY operations in the United States. The Old Queen (Hoover) would have had John Brennan’s guts for garters for this.

  19. July 4, 2018 at 10:58 am

    The January 6 report was obvious nonsense to anyone who bothered to actually read it. When I read it January, I was astounded at the amateurishness; it looked like something someone had delegated to an intern who was in a rush. I couldn’t believe that anyone could take it seriously. Moreover, it clearly stated that it was not presenting facts; the coverage of RT was out of date and did not even support the claims. However, virtually the whole of the western political media elite apparently believed it – this fact alone should have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are, at best, incompetent, and, more likely, much worse.

    • Typingperson
      July 5, 2018 at 2:36 am

      Yep. I read the report and it was flimsy nonsense. So strage that the NYT, WaPo, CNN etc. so uncritically embraced it as gospel. Quite troubling, in fact.

    • Dave P.
      July 5, 2018 at 3:31 am

      Steve H – I agree with you completely. I printed the report shortly after it was released. And I thought that this poorly written completely fabricated report is a joke.

      Yet they are still at it. The broadcasters on the evening local news today here in Southern California my wife was watching talked about it and “The Russian Interference” in our election . BBC News she was watching earlier also discussed this report; And this has been going on since January, 2017. BBC also reported this other incident of attack in Salisbury, on a couple with nerve agent allegedly of the same Russian type as was in Skirpals case.

      Reading, and listening to this type of crap on MSM here (and in Western Europe) is becoming wearisome. Where ever you look, the Political Leadership, Media, high government functionaries, Academia . . . the moral degeneration of “The West” is complete. Those few in the high places who are not in agreement are either afraid or are silenced.; the access to voice their opposition in MSM is denied to them.
      This moral decline of The West had been going on for quite some time now. The population has been fed with all these lies and disinformation for a very long time now. There is no prospect of regeneration in the near future. All we can hope is that this leadership at the top is sane enough that they don’t take the World to the brink of complete annihilation.

      • July 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

        “other incident of attack in Salisbury, on a couple with nerve agent allegedly of the same Russian type as was in Skirpals case.”

        This is almost completely wrong. The couple were from Amesbury (not Salisbury). They were admitted to hospital apparently suffering from an illegal drug poisoning. Two days later, Porton Down, which is where the British state develops, tests, manufactures and stores its chemical and biological weapons, stated that the substance was the same as the one that had poisoned the Skripals (and the mysterious Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who no one has seen), which is A 234, a nerve agent that is eight times more deadly that VX and kills within a couple of minutes, at most. The formula for A 234 is publicly available and has been produced by many countries. The authorities have not even asserted that the couple, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Strugges, were attacked by anyone.

        The treatment of the poisonings of this couple by the British political media elite is as absurd and as reckless as their treatment of the Skripal case. This afternoon, the Home Secretary told parliament that the authorities do not know what happened and blamed Russia and called on Russia to explain what they had done. He said that all options are on the table. He also, with a straight face, denounced Russia for its propaganda and disinformation.

        As for the sanity of the leadership – I would suggest that the current situation is analogous to the situation prior to the First World War: no one wanted the war, but the tensions, distrust, propaganda were constantly ramped up and a minor incident in the context of a system of alliances dragged country after country into the Deluge. http://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2018/01/are-we-heading-towards-world-war.html

        • Daniel Danon
          July 12, 2018 at 11:03 am

          A 234 is being produced and stored in Porton Down, as well as in Kyiv, Riga and Pueblo, US. When asked whether Porton Down has Novichok, its boss declined to deny but said “even if we had it, it would have never left the walls of PD”. As a reminder, PD was created in order to fight Soviet (later Russian) chemo and bio weapons, so not researching extensively Novichok would have been irresponsible. Another reminder: Porton Down may be secretive, but it’s not exactly tiny (7,000 acres -that’s bigger than Salisbury itself and only 8 miles away…) and hence quite difficult to police. Even NSA lost its cyber weapons taken on a thumb drive by an unknown employee.

          Disclaimer: I am French so I can’t be taken seriously.

  20. RickD
    July 4, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Despite the spluttering bluster of this partisan hack the Senate Intelligence Committee , with a GOP chairman and a Republican majority just concluded that Russia did indeed attempt to influence the election in Trump’s favor.

    • Nancy
      July 4, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Indeed! Ricky, your gullibility is downright adorable.

      • Skip Edwards
        July 4, 2018 at 10:50 pm

        He’s just trolling with outdated bait.

    • July 4, 2018 at 11:13 am

      And you believe the Senate Intelligence Committee’s propagandisc crap because?

      • July 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        He’s either a paid troll or not too bright. Definitely on the wrong website.

    • Typingperson
      July 5, 2018 at 2:43 am

      I missed the “spluttering bluster” and partisan hackery, somehow.

      I found the piece very educational. Refreshing to hear from an old pro how things are supposed to be done in a professional, legit intelligence community.

      In a real actual functioning country. Vs. the nonsense caricature the USA has degenerated into.

  21. July 4, 2018 at 4:34 am

    Of course it’s political

    There aren’t enough prisons to hold the upper tiers of government

    We know the democrats and FBI alongside the DOJ and their cohorts in the CIA = NSA were all conspiring to elect Hillary .Even Obama was in on it.

    That’s the kind of conspiracy that ends governments.

    • Skip Scott
      July 4, 2018 at 8:07 am

      There are enough prisons, they’re just full of potheads.

    • RickD
      July 4, 2018 at 8:24 am

      The article speaks to Russia and its meddling in our election. You try to swerve back to the tired and tedious right wing meme ( dont look here look at Clinton) and it aint gonna work anymore.

      • robjira
        July 4, 2018 at 9:29 am

        And then along comes the now-threadbare, “progressive” meme of “don’t look at DNC malfeasance to secure corporate oligarchy, look at Ernst Stavro Blo – I mean – Vladimir Putin (the clumsiest, yet somehow also the most diabolically cunning villain on the planet).”
        Talk about spluttering, partisan bluster…

        • July 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm

          You guys are missing the point and taking the discussion to the usual lowest depths of online discourse. YES the intelligence/MIC elite wanted Hillary (who yes is awful), but not because she is a Democrat…they wanted her because she is in the elite oligarchic cooporate club which spans BOTH political parties. She never saw an opportunity for war she didn’t like and was involved in escalating tensions with Russia and would continue to do so as president. This was in agreement with BOTH establishment Dems and Reps, and indeed she had the backing of W’s neocons. Trump was talking about improving Russia relations and criticizing NATO. Those 2 positions alone meant he was unacceptable. We have to stop engaging in these left-right, Dem-Rep, conservative-progressive, arguements which (whether intentional or not) serve to misdirect the public towards splitting into 2 EQUAL warring factions which creat perpetual gridlock, while both parties are working TOGETHER to extract wealth from the 99% and funnel it to the 1%, engaging in perpetual war in OUR name you know “because freedom.” This is why there is no tolerance from either party for a third party. So let’s keep these debates about the issues, and stop succumbing to binary labels which function to keep us banging heads together. In fact if there are indeed 2 parties it is the elite oligarchy vs. the rest of us. Then there is the MSM which keeps up the illusion of chioice by allowing endless debate/discussion on the 5% Dems and Reps disagree on while the other 95% they DO agree on is taken for granted, or anyone who questions it is depicted as fringe or radical. Hell even Bernie Sanders who really didn’t challenge the war economy and was basically a new deal democrat was talked about as if he were a commie.

          • robjira
            July 4, 2018 at 3:21 pm

            Agreed Homer. The fervent clinging to “the Russians did it” argument just really rubs me the wrong way, especially after it has been thoroughly debunked.
            Peace.

          • Skip Edwards
            July 4, 2018 at 10:55 pm

            Than you for being able to state the frustrations many of us have. We are being/have been divided in the old “divided they fall” meme.

          • Homer Jay
            July 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm

            robija, yes agree on the Russia gate farce, its hard to listen to friends who are otherwise intelligent critical thinkers swallow that garbage whole. i think I come to CN just to reassure myself there remains people who are at least trying to chase an objective reality. I actually was trying to reply to a comment that was taken down right after I posted mine. That one and RickD, who if not a troll, seems to think that Reps going after Trump proves his objective guilt, when to me it reveals that neocons and neolibs often have the same agenda. Thanks for your response.

          • Alcuin
            July 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm

            Thank you for the excellent comment.

      • July 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm

        No Hillary = No Trump

        She even picked him.

        Only Hillary Clinton could cheat and commit treason doing it and still lose to her own pied piper baboon.

  22. uncle tungsten
    July 4, 2018 at 12:39 am

    Thank you John Matlock The fraud of this allegation has been apparent from day one. The Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein started this witch hunt and Sessions permits him to continue. The stone walling of Congress is an insult to everyone watching. Yet the farce continues. It seems Rod Rosenstein is the president of the permanent state and Trump is a token president of the yankee snake oil corporation.

    Please USA the world is weary of the permanent state script and hollywood movie based on the farce. Is Sessions a protected species or just a convenient foil while the Awans, Clintons, Comeys, Wasserman-Shultz team run past the statute of limitations finish line?
    Trump is a failure on this most important measure. He might fool Kim Jong Un (or vice versa) but he doesn’t fool the world.

    Joe Mifsud is the key to the path that leads all the way through MI6 and back to Hillary Clinton and the ‘permanent state’. Take a peek.

    • July 4, 2018 at 4:35 am

      The GOP hate Trump as much as democrats .

      • Richard Graham
        July 4, 2018 at 1:11 pm

        I doubt their hate goes very deep as Trump is a useful fool. As Trump is such a great distraction, the Repubs will describe themselves as the ‘thoughtful alternative’ while pushing every quack idea in their playbook. Not one of these ‘ideas’ will make the US great again: they will hasten the collapse.

        As the US has been lying to itself for decades, if not centuries, the logical conclusion has them electing a proudly ignorant, bare-faced liar as President.

        The last act will have them lying to each other as US society collapses:
        political elites that can’t tell trusted friend from odious enemy because the enemy looks and acts so much like the US;
        an immense military incapable of winning the smallest wars;
        Puerto Rico still hasn’t restored power or counted the dead;
        children are used to punish immigrant families fleeing US imperial cruelty in their own countries;
        the worst educated generation since 1776 as schools, libraries, independent media, and dissenting voices are crushed by corporate design;
        resurgent bigotry aided by brutally stupid, corrupt police cruelty;
        inexcusable random violence blessed by empty prayers;
        vapid indifference for anything that doesn’t touch their own families, or their favourite sport.

        These are all signs of a society about to collapse with only a minor environmental disaster, out of the environmental armageddon certain to come, needed to start the landslide.

        H.L. Mencken: ‘Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.’
        Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
        Albert Einstein: ”Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

        • Vivian O'Blivion
          July 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm

          Anon: “Genius has its limitations stupidly is not thus encumbered.”

          This can be interpreted in two ways.
          Stupid people don’t know how stupid they are.
          Stupid people go ahead and get things done without concern for the consequences.
          Both interpretations could apply to Trump.

        • July 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm

          This is what republican voted for…..

          TRUMP “Bush worst president ever”

          – YouTube
          Video for Trump bush worst president ever
          ? 6:15
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6N8l8DMu3M

          Dec 12, 2007 – Uploaded by TheCyMan
          “Well, I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States, and I just don’t …

          its telling no?

    • Vivian O'Blivion
      July 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Yup. Mifsud is the key. Mifsud was on the case way too soon for him to have been a Russian asset. Problem is Mifsud has vanished and passed beyond the limited attention span of the MSM.

  23. jacobo
    July 4, 2018 at 12:33 am

    After the Nov’16 election when Hillary Clinton, instead of acknowledging that she alone was to blame for her defeat (what with, among her other mistakes, her labeling a segment of the working class’ as deplorables) resorted to attributing said defeat to Russian/Putin interference in America’s “sacred” electoral system. Clearly, thereby, she was signaling that her post-defeat game would consist of nothing but scapegoating. Soon thereafter, though, as the deep state joined the hate Russia/Putin chorus, it was apparent that this scapegoating had as much to do with preventing Donald Trump from making good on his promises, however vague, to improve US-Russian relations + getting our nation out of the business of regime changing. Nothing was permissable, that is, that might impede the deep state’s pursuit of world hegemony. Subsequent events re: government hearings along with democratic party politics and MSM coverage of same have only confirmed, not only that the above initial observations were correct, but that the scapegoating is aimed not only at maintaining the status quo vis-a-vis US foreign policy, but to prevent any leftward shift in the Democratic Party – that the duopoly be preserved. .

  24. F. G. Sanford
    July 3, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    The procedure used was the same as that used in 2003 – most likely because the order to prepare it was an Executive, not an Intelligence Community decision. That’s what they’re trying to keep under wraps, and that’s why Rosenstein is stonewalling Congress. I suspect that James Clapper has nothing to worry about. It wasn’t his idea in the first place.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 3, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      F.G. are you saying the order came down from the president (Obama)? Joe

      • F. G. Sanford
        July 3, 2018 at 11:14 pm

        I explained it a little better in a comment that is awaiting moderation.

      • robert
        July 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

        the president and/or his advisors receives intel [“assessments”] after its been through the sausage machine called clapper and its very rare if this assessment/sausage making process and its highly questionable sources are ever raised, challenged, questioned and discussed at any time inside government whether at the CIA, DIA, or WH. So do I expect the public and press to do better? Yes.. But certainly never by MSNBC, FOX or CNN.

    • F. G. Sanford
      July 3, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      Joe, the Intelligence Community follows relatively strict protocols…unless ordered to do otherwise. My comments keep disappearing, but I did try to answer your question.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 5, 2018 at 7:47 am

        I believe ya. Joe

    • July 4, 2018 at 4:38 am

      It was Brennan’s idea

      Who now works for MSNBC

      • Skip Scott
        July 4, 2018 at 8:09 am

        I too heard it was “Brennan’s baby”. But I suspect F.G. is right that Obama thought it was a great idea and signed off on it.

        • David Walters
          July 4, 2018 at 9:47 am

          Yep. Undoubtedly Obama was involved. That’s why they’re fighting so hard to delay the congressional investigations.

          • Procopius
            July 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

            Interestingly, the Senate Intelligence subcommittee report that was recently released is quite similar to the January, 2017, “intelligence community assessment.” It contained many assertions presented as facts, and no evidence. I was quite surprised, but since Trump’s enemies have succeeded in selling the story to so many people this will probably just reinforce the belief among people who do not read the report.

        • July 6, 2018 at 6:07 pm

          We know from the FBI agents that “POTUS wants to know everything” and Brenner was Obama ‘s pick….it goes all the way to the top.

  25. robjira
    July 3, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/07/02/trump-putin-peace-trade-and-friendship-talks.html
    Sorry for the repeated posts, but this is a significant issue for me. Since 1990, when we had the perfect opportunity to cement a bilateral relationship with Russia (maybe even one of those “special” ones the UK, Germany, Japan, and Israel love reminding everyone of), the US has done nothing but pull this kind of petty, mean spirited BS when all Russia has been after is peaceful, profitable coexistence.
    Those of the US elite pushing this steaming load of a propaganda campaign (and a really scurrilous one the latest is), for all their learning and experience, are either incredibly stupid or just plain psychotic. Eff them and the preening mandarins posing as national news outlets.
    Thank the stars for CN.

  26. July 3, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    I agree with all the statements in this analysis.

    And so far, what Mueller has put together does not come close to the charges he was supposed to investigate.

    Maybe he will later. But why is it taking so long? He has been in business for over a year now.

    • July 4, 2018 at 4:41 am

      They need to call console the lies with blackmail.

    • Skip Scott
      July 4, 2018 at 8:01 am

      Jim-

      I think they Mueller is dragging his feet purposely to make the investigation last until the mid-term elections. The Dems are running a lot of folks with ties to the so-called “Intelligence Community”, and they would like their infiltration to succeed as much as possible.

      BTW, I just finished “Destiny Betrayed” last week. What a great read! Thanks for all your hard work.

  27. Jeff Harrison
    July 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for a very informative piece. You are clearly a diplomat. Only a diplomat could refrain from saying: And the most important politician in the country, the President, completely and utterly failed in his obligation to exercise critical judgement of the advice that he had been given and foolishly and dangerously imposed sanctions on a nuclear equal based on this political hit job of an analysis which hasn’t been shot down in flames only by virtue of an incessant invocation of classification. The only more amazing thing is that the US government has been so monumentally stupid that it has kept the sanctions in place even though the basis for the sanctions has been thoroughly discredited.

    • Typingperson
      July 5, 2018 at 3:27 am

      Yep. We’re lucky Putin is a sober, professional adult and hasn’t reacted to all this amateurish , falsely provacative, USA bullshit in kind.

      • robert
        July 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

        I doubt anyone in the US including you and the CIA have any clue what is ging on in Russia and what Putin’s character is in truth, but certainly both putin and trump do terrible dictatorial things to people. i dont judge until i have the facts. .

  28. robjira
    July 3, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I recall Jack Matlock relating the following anecdote; right around the dissolution of the USSR, the Soviet ambassador to the UN told Matlock, “This will be bad for us, but worse for you. We’ve just taken away your best enemy.”

  29. Sam F
    July 3, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Well reasoned and well written, Mr. Matlock, and I hope that you write more.
    You have added new insights to a cogent compilation of analyses of this issue.

  30. michael crockett
    July 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you Jack Matlock for such a good article. It confirms what the VIPS and other journalists have been reporting on at Consortium News. The operationally similar strategy whereby a few handpicked analysts fix the intel to match the conclusions of their superiors, ie Iraqs WMDS and Russian interference in our elections, speaks volumes about the corruption of our government. It is also an indictment of the MSM which can not and will not report the truth to the American people.

  31. mbob
    July 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Very nice article — thank you!

    The most troublesome aspect, to me, is the complicity of the “legitimate” media, especially the New York Times, in promoting, rather than questioning, the dubious narrative of Russian electoral “interference.” I have too many relatives who are too invested in trusting those so-called “trustworthy” sources. To them, I’ve become a Breitbart/Fox kinda guy (I’m not.) for suggesting that all media are manipulative and one needs to be skeptical of basically all sources these days. I’ve given up talking politics with them.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Welcome to ‘the Consortium’ mbob. Joe

    • DFC
      July 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      MBOB, I used to hate Fox News, which I thought was a lunatic screech-fest against anything Obama did, even when it was reasonable. I am not saying everything Obama did was reasonable, but Fox portrayed everything he did in the worst possible light. As far as Breitbart was concerned, I had not even heard of that organization until after the 2016 election. The way I ran into Breitbart was when I was trying to sort out why every single reputable news agency that I was reading said HRC was going to be the next President and then I read that there was one that reported the opposite (Breitbart). So, I guess the question I asked myself was: am I going to continue to read news sources that got the 2016 presidential election so wrong, or start to read Breitbart? And what else were they getting wrong? So, the first week I was on Breitbart, they were talking Trump’s “movement” and how it was related to Brexit (no clue who Nigel Farage was at the tine) and how big Trump’s crowd sizes had been at his rallies. I was literally blindsided by all this; being a regular consumer of WaPo, CNN, NYT, etc, I felt like I was totally left in the dark. Breitbart actually informed me about what really happened and what was going on (how the world was undergoing a populist revolution) vs having to swallow the idea that Putin and a bunch of xenophobic misogynistic racists had taken over the United States. I finally gave up entirely on my old news sources when time after time something I read in them would be debunked 3 days later (why spend all those reading hours to become informed when I was being misinformed?). Anyway, I still have not warmed up to Fox News entirely (if it were not for Tucker Carlson, it would be hard to tune in at all, and I suppose Hannity has been right about Trump-Russia but he is so far over the top…) and that is how I drifted here to Consortium News.

      *I am not saying Breitbart is a balanced source of news, but can be indispensable at times.

      • Carol
        July 7, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        Jesus I knew all that at the time and didn’t watch Fox or read Breitbart. How insular can you be?

  32. David G
    July 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I’ve read elsewhere as well that the State Department’s INR has historically yielded some of the best intelligence analysis in the U.S. government. Perhaps not coincidentally, it also lacks the big budget and swagger of the other agencies.

  33. voteforno6
    July 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    For me, the giveaway on this report was that half of it was boilerplate security tips, the sorts of things that people see in their annual security training. It’s almost like they were writing a college paper, and had to hit a certain page count, so they included anything they could.

  34. Bill
    July 3, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Yes the report is bad. I came to that conclusion just reading the contents. They didn’t have enough words to fill all of the pages. Now the question is, when is the GOP going to go after Clapper for it?

  35. mrtmbrnmn
    July 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Intelligence Agencies “assessment” is weasel word for not exactly lying, just sayin’. The MSM malpracticers, on the other hand, have decided, in the total absence of ANY evidence in this long-running farcedy, to simply DECLARE their lies are truth. Paging George Orwell!!

    and furthermore: http://news.jornal.us/article-681288.-THE-REAL-PUTINGATE-.html

  36. Zim
    July 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for the info. This reinforces how corrupt the DNC/DLC/HRC cabal truly are.

  37. Antiwar7
    July 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    What a cogent, well-written piece.

    Shows a clear pattern of politically-motivated deception, implemented by a few appointees at the top (of a few agencies). Plus, why did the FBI never request access to Hillary Clinton’s servers?

    • Alcuin
      July 13, 2018 at 11:38 am

      I believe multiple requests were denied. The question is, why did the FBI not insist?

  38. F. G. Sanford
    July 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    “What should have struck any congressperson or reporter was that the procedure Clapper followed was the same as that used in 2003 to produce the report falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein had retained stocks of weapons of mass destruction.”

    You gotta ask yourself, “How would this evolution have taken shape?” How would a project of this nature materialize in contravention of standard methods, protocols and procedures? Anybody who has served in the military knows that there is a “chain of command”, and the role of the participants at each level are clearly defined. Each is responsible to someone who “tells them what to do”. They are responsible to perform at their level those duties prescribed by regulation, convention and United States Public Law. For the military, most of it falls under Title 10, U.S.C.

    So, if I was working in a particular shop, and some of my peers from other shops showed up and said, “Hey, we’re gonna get together and do this deal”, I’d have stopped and asked something like…”Who’s in charge of this? Who’s idea is it, on whose authority, and who am I working for here?” Once, I even asked, “OK, so who’s the JAG Officer I ask for advice?” That’s not always clear.

    If it was legitimate, at some point, somebody would have mentioned “Commander’s Intent”. And, I’d bet you a nickel that’s exactly what they’re keeping buried here. That’s why Rosenstein is stonewalling. That’s why Comey and Warner were “in cahoots” to kill the Assange testimony. This all leads back to the only guy who could have made it all happen…and I don’t think it was James Clapper.

  39. July 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    I hope Mr. Matlock becomes a frequent contributor. I think he has a lot more to say beyond the subject he addresses.

  40. John Kirsch
    July 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Excellent article.
    My understanding is that the FBI didn’t examine the DNC computer that was allegedly hacked.
    I find that very curious.

    • LarcoMarco
      July 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      As I recall, James Comey said that he was too intimidated by Killery to seize her off-grid server.

  41. John Neal Spangler
    July 3, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    It was a coup attempt and the FBI/CIA plotters must be held accountable if we are going to regain a Democracy, instead of letting a few senile oligarchs dictate policy. Comey, Clapper, Brennan and some lesser figures must go to prison for all the disturbance that Russiagate has caused.

  42. ranney
    July 3, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Fabulous article with so much important info! THANK YOU!!!
    But Ambassador Matlock, what took you so long??? Didn’t it occur to you that we needed to know this months ago?
    Thank you for for finally sharing your very important expertise. And thanks to Ray McGovern and Bill Binney for encouraging you to do so.

    • Ray Raven
      July 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Your final paragraph succinctly summarises this matter.

  43. Sally Snyder
    July 3, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    As shown in this article, apparently it is not a two-way street when it comes to Russian/American propaganda:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-united-states-and-russia-propaganda.html

    Washington has a very, very thin skin when it comes to outside nations criticisms of its agenda.

  44. jaycee
    July 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    There used to be a reasonably clear separation between objective news reporting and the expression of opinion – i.e. in print, news and editorial opinion appeared in distinct sections while on television there was hard news through the week and opinion and analysis on the Sunday morning programs.

    Fox News and right-wing talk radio was effectively responsible for clouding these distinctions, presenting opinion (informed and uninformed) in a format usually understood as factual reporting. It used to be a common observation fifteen years ago that Fox News viewers cognitive understanding of objective reality diminished according to their degree of consumption of the Fox product. (see the documentary film “Outfoxed”). But nowadays, most if not all of the mainstream/legacy/corporate news media operate using the Fox model whereby factual reporting and opinion have dissolved into one another – and opinion becomes fact without the consumer being quite aware of it. It has been a major step backwards socially and politically, and a real eye-opener for those who once believed in the ever upward trajectory of human progress.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 3, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Your comment jaycee should not go unnoticed. More Americans should study and contemplate the dynamics of what you point to, as our news isn’t at all news reporting in as much as our news is slanted opinion based propaganda. This control method is why Robert Parry left the MSM, so as he could inform the voter as to allow the voter to have the knowledge required to make an informed decision…. & here we are. Good comment. Joe

    • Skip Scott
      July 4, 2018 at 7:49 am

      jaycee-

      The repeal of the fairness doctrine is what has led to this. That and the NDAA of 2012 that made propaganda targeted at U.S. citizens legal. Since the first happened under Reagan, and the second under Obama, you can see that controlling the minds of the masses is a bipartisan effort. Who said Republicans and Democrats can’t work together to get things done!

    • hstad2
      July 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      So you believe, before FOX came along, there was “…a reasonably clear separation between objective news reporting and the expression of opinion….?” Proof? My friend, the MSM has been in the business of fashioning opinions via straight news since the invention of stone tablets – maybe before that.

  45. robjira
    July 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    I first became aware of Jack Matlock via an interview on Democracy Now. Somehow I don’t think Amy Goodman will be having him on again anytime soon to discuss this issue.

    • lysias
      July 3, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      What has gotten into Amy Goodman? I used to find Democracy Now worth listening to.

      • GM
        July 3, 2018 at 8:57 pm

        She must have caught something contagious from David Corn

      • July 3, 2018 at 9:00 pm

        Democracy Now and Counterpunch have both shilled the CIA regime change propaganda aimed at Syria. One expects such things from the NYT’s and mainstream media, but I found this quite amazing given both DN and Counterpunch used to be valuable “progressive sites.” My suggestion is that they consider combining forces. They could appropriately call the new joint venture either: “Counter Democracy,” or better yet, “Democracy Punch.”

        • July 4, 2018 at 1:23 am

          Alas; I once sung “Once in love with Amy” .. or, at least with Democracynow.org. Why does this have to be so complicated!

          It has been sad to watch. Don’t know quite how to explain the deterioration of her foreign coverage — especially Syria and Russia-gate. She’s plenty smart, but we all have emotional attachments. I’m guessing part of the explanation might be the virulent spread of the HWHW virus starting on November 9, 2016 — (the Hillary Would Have Won) virus.

          HOWEVER, Amy and her team are THE BEST on domestic issues — almost always there firstest with the mostest. I truly admire that. Enterprise, guts, and good reporters. On issues like Standing Rock and the indignities on the southern border, democracynow.org has been TERRIFIC.

          So, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. That is, let’s keep telling our acquaintances to watch Amy (I almost always watch her first thing in the morning on democracynow.org).

          It would be good, though to add a truth-in-advertising warning up front, with the caveat that one should feel quite free to turn it off when she starts repeating what the White Helmets and CNN are saying about Syria; or what Rachel Maddow, Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner, Adam Schiff, and the other usual suspects are saying about the evil Russians and Russia-gate — now DOJ/FBI/CIA-gate. Actually, a constitutional crisis is brewing in the next few weeks, but you would not know it from democracynow.org coverage. THAT’s what’s sad.

          Ray McGovern

          • Emily Tock
            July 4, 2018 at 2:31 am

            This is an excellent point – thanks for making it! It IS possible to agree with people on some things and disagree with them on other items. This is how political discourse SHOULD be, but unfortunately political discussion in the US has completely devolved to ‘My way, all the way, or you are evil, and I can’t engage with you.’ It is extremely infantile and probably partially the result of degraded education, the non-stop echo chambers of social media, and identity politics.

            As a Russophile who was getting her chops in Russian language, literature, and culture during the late 80s (yes, I’m that old), I usually had serious issues with the DLI folks in my courses at university, but we could and did find common ground on some issues.

            Currently, many of my friends and family think I am a Putin puppet/asset and, as a consequence, that my opinion on anything regarding Russia cannot be trusted. It’s very depressing.

          • Skip Scott
            July 4, 2018 at 7:40 am

            Ray-

            The domestic issues that Amy is so good at reporting on are no threat to her paymaster George Soros. As to the big picture, I think she has bought into the Globalist’s plan. A vision of a multi-polar world based on national sovereignty is the major threat to Global Empire ruled by oligarchs. Amy never goes there. I wonder how she sees reporters like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. Does she think they’re Putin and Assad puppets?

          • July 5, 2018 at 1:26 am

            I respect your opinion on DN Ray, but I have to respectfully disagree with it. I don’t for a minute think Amy or Juan are so gullible as to be taken in by the umpteenth example of CIA regime change propaganda. So why such nonsense on Syria and Russiagate? It is the big donor foundation money talking, or have I simply been missing something over the years? It reminds me of the CIA’s Cold War tactics in Europe in funding the Congress of Cultural Freedom, the Paris Review and Encounter as a way to insert the “appropriate perspective” on the most important matters in otherwise progressive outlets.

            Personally I thought DN’s coverage of Standing Rock was excellent, however I doubt that the CIA cares at all about Standing Rock, at least not compared to its Syrian regime change operation. So DN ends up creating credibility with its listeners with its Standing Rock coverage, and then, in my opinion, uses/abuses that credibility to echo propaganda for yet another illegal immoral regime change war. The same with Counterpunch where you have two staff writers who pump out similar Syrian regime change narratives alongside some other worthwhile credible contributors. CP has now ditched true anti-imperialist voices like Diana Johnstone and Andre Vltchek, but continues to publish the CIA friendly narratives of a Melvin Goodman and Louis Proyect.

            Again, its really difficult to respect this type of journalistic cherry-picking regarding just “when” one takes a stand against imperialism if one is ostensibly a “progressive” “alternative” media site. In my opinion Amy and Counterpunch should be consistently called out on this issue by all of us who care as it is literally a matter of life and death for those on the receiving end of our jihadist “regime changes” and our “humanitarian interventions.” I agree Ray that it is very sad to see DN doing this kind of journalism.

          • Typingperson
            July 5, 2018 at 3:41 am

            I appreciate your charitableness toward Amy and Democracy Now, Ray–but no.

            Their shitty, complicit reporting on bogus Russiagate is beyond the pale. Journalistic malpractice.

            Amy and Democracy Now have lost all credibility for me.

          • July 6, 2018 at 6:08 pm

            It also telling….and why people dont trust the media.

          • robert
            July 11, 2018 at 11:25 am

            Of course its a basic observation that DemocracyNow is more competent and focused on domestic issues, just as TeleSur is on Latin America and South America. If they have scoop from a credible source, eg Snowden, of course they go with it.
            If you were evaluating news on a country, would you give equal weight to all sources, or would you give the local sources more weight? I think thats the dynamic.

      • Freedom lover
        July 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        Yes Iysias. I believe it changed when Democracy Now got bought lock stock and barrel by George Soros.

  46. Realist
    July 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The deep state figured that the much-loathed Trump was the perfect patsy for Hillary to roll in the general election, so they didn’t prevent him from getting the Republican nomination, in fact, with the considerable aid of the mass media, they promoted his case. The puppet masters in Washington, Arlington and Langley never believed for a moment that Hillary would lose. They simply miscalculated on how much she, also, was hated by the public. They’ve orchestrated a soft, slow motion coup attempt ever since their bubble was popped on election night. What will happen to Trump is still uncertain, probably depending on how he continues to dance to their tune and walk back every promise made during the campaign. What is certain is that these shadows behind the scenes will never again allow an “outsider,” someone they did not create and entirely control, to receive the nomination of either major party ever again.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 3, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Realist good to hear from you, and yes Trump was the decoy candidate whom Queen Hillary would run over with a stampede of her voters, but whoops then there was the Electoral College… damn the details. There by with Hillary’s surprising loss, all the long knives of the Deep State were drawn to take down the orange haired tv reality star turned president down. Now, I have a theory, and my theory all though it can be disputed, is that I believe Trump out did his rivals with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. With this honor so bestowed upon the disruptive Zionist Trump rallied his Calvary to his rescue… or something like that.

      Kick it around Realist. Joe

      • Dave P.
        July 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm

        Joe – Yes, your theory makes sense. Trump sure has outdone his rivals by pleasing the Masters who are real powers behind the throne .

        • July 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

          Only after trying to pull out of Syria and getting a false flag attack to blame on Assad….and the Russia Russia Russia gate ruse used to try to unseat him and keep him from working with Putin….the deep state has its knives out and Trump is in a corner.He will do their bidding or else.

    • KiwiAntz
      July 3, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Trump’s a “useful idiot” as a President & as long as he dances to the Deepstate & MIC tune, he will be left in place & not suffer the same fate as JFK! Trump’s backdown of his Election promises confirm that he has been totally bought & paid for, by his DS masters & now follows that warmongering agenda of plunder for Elitist gain! Russiagate is the biggest, Propagandist lie that has ever been proported as Truth, despite 2 yrs of zero evidence & fabricated reports such as this latest nothingburger of a Intelligence Report! But they have to keep this nonsense going because to much time & money & energy has been invested, to preserve this propagandist lie that they can’t back track from it! Is it any wonder that the general population are starting to despise & distrust all Politicians & the US Govt & it’s institutions because of their immoral behaviour! And the RT Channel or Sputnik cannot be blamed for exposing this corruption which the MSM has failed to do!

      • July 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm

        Exactly!!

        And democrats are coming at Trump from the right?…….pushing him into WW3 with Russia?Demcrats are now the neo con war party.

    • GM
      July 3, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      They also overestimated the power of the media, which traditionally has had much sway over which neoliberal candidate gets elected President.
      Turns out that said industry has gradually lost the public trust over time, which condition happened to reach a critical mass at any inconvenient juncture.
      I’m sure they’ll address the problem next time round with strategies involving censorship, blacklisting, and the deployment of covert armies of online disinformation teams, all of which we have already begun to see take shape.

    • July 6, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      They knew how much Hillary was hated ,its why they picked Trump.They knew Hilary would lose to any of the other republican nominees ,even the creepiest munster Ted Cruz…it had to be Trump.Trump was the only one Hillary polled above and only by a few points.Thats why the pro Hillary media gave Trump 6 Billion in free aitime, like MSNBC pushed Trump ,playing his speeches in full and showing his empty podium while ignoring Sanders and firing Ed Shultz for wanting to cover Sanders.Bill Clinton even gave Trump advice on how to run as a Republican.Trump hasnt been a republican since 1999 and was a huge Hillary supporter…..

    • Freedom lover
      July 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Not quite sure of that. I believe the Deep State (i.e. political power elite) on the republican side dropped the ball. They figured that Jeb Bush was a shoe-in for the Nomination and figured Trump as a minor distraction who would be out after the first few primaries. When Bush crashed and burned early on plan B was Chris Christe or Marco Rubio they still couldn’t take Trump seriously. Once it became apparent that Trump would be the Republican nominee they panicked and made sure that the same thing would not happen with Hillary Clinton by conspiring to crush the insurgent candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Trump was wise to point that out on the campaign trail which probably gained him a few disaffected Sanders supporters on Nov 4th.

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