VIPS MEMO: To Biden: Don’t Be Suckered on Russia

VIPS hopes President-elect Joe Biden will avoid the mousetrap being laid for him to make it more difficult for his administration to deal in a sensible way with Russia.

December 20, 2020

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President-elect

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Attempts to Sucker You Into Russia-Bashing

Dear President-elect Biden,

Fool Me Once …” You may recall that President George W. Bush could not remember the last part of that aphorism. No matter. It turned out that — on Iraq — Bush was not fooled by bad intelligence. Rather, he and Vice President Dick Cheney were determined to attack Iraq and asked malleable former colleagues of ours to manufacture intelligence to “justify” that catastrophic war.

It was so bad that Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller described prewar intelligence as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.” James Clapper, who was in charge of imagery analysis, admits in his memoir that the Bush/Cheney pressure to document a rogue WMD program in Iraq was so intense that “intelligence officers, including me, were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” (Emphasis added) .

That coterie of “intelligence officers” — first and foremost CIA Director George Tenet and his protegé Michael Morell — were able to pull the wool over the eyes of enough members of Congress to grease the skids for unnecessary war. Many of the latest crop of intelligence leaders bubbled up to the top for services rendered under the malleable Tenet, and seem to have adopted his flexible attitude toward truth.

It is a safe bet that some of them are responsible for the recent “anonymous” leaks feeding the current media frenzy about what we shall call “Russian hacking 2.0”.

We urge you not to rise to the bait — the more so, since Russia is the target this time around.

‘Russian Hacking 1:0’ — a Proven Fraud

You may be unaware that horse’s-mouth testimony given on Dec. 5, 2017 to the House Intelligence Committee gave the lie to claims — still widely taken as gospel truth by consumers of major media — that there is persuasive technical evidence that Russia hacked the DNC emails that WikiLeaks published on July 22, 2016. There is no such evidence.

We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity wrote to the president before the Iraq war to let him know that our former colleagues were playing fast and loose with the “intelligence,” which was conjured up to “justify” the invasion. With that painful experience behind us, it was not difficult to spot the lies about Russia “hacking” the DNC emails.

Four years ago we warned, in somewhat technical — but easily understandable terms — why the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC would have been impossible without the National Security Agency detecting it. We were helped by revelations from Edward Snowden, the expertise of two former technical directors at NSA (members of VIPS), and, not least, by applying the principles of science, which — thank goodness — are impervious to political pressure. See our MEMORANDUM of Dec. 12, 2016.

Proving a Negative

It proved difficult, of course, to prove a negative, particularly in the face of copious commentary and pseudo-analysis bereft of supporting data — for example, the evidence-impoverished, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” of Jan. 6, 2017.

We had to wait two and a half years, from Dec. 2017 to May 2020, for the House Intelligence Committee to publish the sworn testimony of Shawn Henry, head of the DNC-hired cyber security firm CrowdStrike. (For reasons best known to ex-FBI Director James Comey, the FBI deferred to CrowdStrike to perform the forensics on what Sen. John McCain was calling an “act of war” by Russia.)

In short, three years ago Mr. Henry admitted under oath that there was no technical evidence that Russia, or anyone else, hacked the DNC and exfiltrated those damaging emails.

What he said in his sworn testimony appears to be as close as one can get to proving the negative on this very key issue. If this is news to you, please check with your advisors. It may be not too surprising that the major media have suppressed that news since May. We would be disappointed to learn, though, that no one saw fit to tell you of Shawn Henry’s testimony.

As far as we can tell, you have been careful to avoid joining — lemming-like — the “Russians-did-it-again” chorus. For fresh insight on the current media frenzy, you may wish to skim through an article published Friday morning on “Russian Hacking 2.0” and what seems to be afoot.

We are hoping that you will continue to avoid putting your foot in the mousetrap being laid for you to make it more difficult for your administration to deal in a sensible way with Russia. There are a whole lot of people — in intelligence, the media, and the weapons industry who are determined to get you off on the wrong foot with President Putin — for reasons that will be obvious to you.

We stand ready to support you with objective, tell-it-like-it-is analysis. Our record speaks for itself. Links to VIPS’s earlier memoranda, starting with our same-day critique of Colin Powell’s UN speech shortly before the war on Iraq, can be found at: .


Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist and a Technical Director (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; Presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Kirk Wiebe, Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

13 comments for “VIPS MEMO: To Biden: Don’t Be Suckered on Russia

  1. AndyS
    December 21, 2020 at 20:31

    I hope he listens.

  2. Peter Duveen
    December 21, 2020 at 18:31

    The anti-Russian policy which has been in place at least since Maiden is not some accident that an administration can agree with or not. Biden helped put it in place. We need to know what the end game of that policy is. It has some objective, a clear-cut objective.

  3. gary cummings
    December 21, 2020 at 13:05

    I think it’s silly to claim Russia doesn’t spy/hack on the U.S.
    Everyone who has the capability does so.

  4. scottindallas
    December 21, 2020 at 09:06

    was waiting to hear from these guys. The MO seemed familiar om Russiagate 2.0

  5. Nathan Mulcahy
    December 21, 2020 at 08:29

    I have and still continue to share past VIPS assessments on many issues with my friends who drink the corporate media drivel. The resume of the VIPS signers is an incredible assest in their credibility. So I always welcome and appreciate their memos.

    However, it is very unlikely, to put it mildly, that Biden and the Dem Party are being “fooled”. They are being as “fooled” as Bush/Cheney were “fooled” to believe that Saddam had WMD.

    The party being fooled over and over and over are the Americans who think that voting for the Democrats will change anything or that AFTER electing the Dems you can “push” them to do the right thing! Was it Jimmy Dore who said that this was like first buying a car and then negotiating with the salesman for a rebate?

    Therefore, VIPS signers, can you please issue an open letter to Americans to explain how they are being fooled over and over and over by the Democratic Party? Thank you.

    • Bridget Grand
      December 22, 2020 at 00:52

      Excellent comment.

      One wonders, what sort of dance is Ray trying to do? Is this public appeal to Biden’s supposed better angels meant to avoid VIPS’ alienation? An attempt at saving [Biden’s] face? If so, it’s at the expense of keeping the public ignorant of their new regime’s true malignity.

      Indeed, explain the Dem. deceit, and that of their media accomplices.

  6. Douglas Baker
    December 21, 2020 at 04:02

    Ray, Well written, truth laden as integrity vaccine against state propaganda rolling of off presses of “New York Times”, “Washington Post”. CNN, etc. and their down steam repeaters.

  7. December 21, 2020 at 03:55

    Great to see VIPS coming out fast with their cogent statement against the latest scam about Russia hacking.
    So predictable and easy for US fake intel agencies to make these allegations, and just at the time for
    a new Democratic President elect Biden to assume a reason to come out strongly against Russia. And there ‘s no evidence been provided at all yet, and even if there is, America has the ability to attach fake fingerprints to make a case.

    But isn’t this allegation useful distraction now with Biden on U-tube bragging about interfering in Ukraine and getting its prosecutor fired? Also his son is facing several investigations. It’s to distract attention from this negative press.

  8. Sr. Gibbonk
    December 21, 2020 at 00:25

    Hear, hear all you waxed eared masters of war.

  9. December 20, 2020 at 19:17

    I cannot say thank you enough for the great articles you write and your sheer commitment to truth, science and facts and how much I appreciate that.

    Eric E. Johansson
    Veterans for Peace

    • Russian dressing
      December 21, 2020 at 00:26

      Don’t be suckered on Russia? His handlers are the ones that created russiagate in the first place. Biden is probably too far gone into alzheimers to be responsible but his handlers need to be repeatedly exposed on this.

  10. Mark Thomason
    December 20, 2020 at 14:19

    ““Fool Me Once …” You may recall that President George W. Bush could not remember the last part of that aphorism.”

    He did not forget. He refused to record a video clip of him saying those words, which would then be replayed for years in attack ads against him.

    What he forgot is where his comment was going, before he started talking. He had to break it off in the middle.

    Likewise, “Bush was not fooled by bad intelligence.” Rather he did not think far enough ahead, and walked right into the corner he could not get out of.

    That is the danger again — short term thinking that does not see the blind spot coming. All it sees is the most momentary advantages.

    “Trump bad. Bash Russia.” That has a limited shelf life that is now passed. The election is over. It is time to look a few years out, and by that I don’t mean just to the most immediate advantages in the mid-term elections.

    The greater advantages even for the mid-terms would be to govern well and get the US into a better position.

  11. Peter
    December 20, 2020 at 06:21

    Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep all of us sane in a media landscape increasingly at odds with reality.

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