Russiagate Rolls On, Giving Biden Political Cover

When it comes to national security reporting corporate journalists have time and again shown they are practicing something other than journalism, writes Joe Lauria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, March 2020. (President of Russia)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The latest U.S. intelligence “assessment” this week sought to prepare the way for more sanctions against Russia and Iran and gave political cover for Joe Biden.

The highly politicized unclassified report was gobbled up without skepticism by corporate media, playing its dutiful role of passing disinformation onto the American public without question.

The opening paragraph says it all:

“The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the specific information on which it bases its analytic conclusions, as doing so could endanger sensitive sources and methods and imperil the Intelligence Community’s ability to collect critical foreign intelligence. The analytic judgments outlined below are identical to those in the classified version, but this declassified document does not include the full supporting information and does not discuss specific intelligence reports, sources, or methods.”

That should be a red flag for anyone who calls him or herself a journalist. Demand some kind of proof before proceeding. But when it comes to national security reporting corporate journalists have time and again shown they are practicing something other than journalism.

Any self-respecting reporter would never accept “just trust us,” especially from U.S. intelligence that for decades, especially since the Iraq invasion and the original Russiagate fiasco (and for decades before that as exposed in the 1975 Church and Pike Committees), has been thoroughly discredited.

If the opening page of this report wasn’t enough to give pause, then the closing one was the clincher:

“Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

Russia, Russia, Russia, Iran!

Nonetheless, the report squarely blames Russia and Iran for interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

It says:

“We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.

We have high confidence in our assessment; Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect US public perceptions in a consistent manner. A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives-including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden-to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration.”

No evidence again is provided to back up such assertions. Essentially unnamed “proxies” in the media and on social media are allegedly carrying out this Russian interference. The report specifically says Moscow did not in anyway meddle with the electoral process. Who are these proxies?

The report doesn’t say but it is a fair guess that dissident American voices, who see through U.S. official lies about “spreading democracy” and expose the real American motives of expanding its economic and geo-strategic power, are among them. In other words, U.S. intelligence agencies cover-up U.S. activities abroad by attacking legitimate and independent domestic criticism by smearing it with a false association with a hostile foreign power.

The report throws a dose of realism into its assessment about why Russia might benefit from a weakened United States, though it gave no evidence to show Russia was responsible for it. Rather than just blame Putin as a madman out to control the world and mess with the U.S. just for the hell of it, the assessment acknowledges in a back-handed way that Russia sees itself on the defensive against U.S. aggression.

“We assess that Moscow will continue election influence efforts to further its longstanding goal of weakening Washington because the Kremlin has long deemed that a weakened United States would be less likely to pursue assertive foreign and security policies abroad and more open to geopolitical bargains with Russia.”

The allegations against Iran are much the same:

“We assess with high confidence that Iran carried out an influence campaign during the 2020 US election season intended to undercut the reelection prospects of former President Trump and to further its longstanding objectives of exacerbating divisions in the US, creating confusion, and undermining the legitimacy of US elections and institutions. We did not identify Iran engaging in any election interference activities, as defined in this assessment. Tehran’s efforts were aimed at denigrating former President Trump, not actively promoting his rivals.”

And why would Iran want to do that, if that is what it actually did? Could it be because Trump pulled out of the six-nation Iran nuclear deal and reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran?

The only “interference” identified is through media.

“We assess that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei probably authorized Iran’s influence campaign and that it was a whole of government effort, judging from the involvement of multiple Iranian Government elements. We have high confidence in this assessment. • Iran focused its social media and propaganda on perceived vulnerabilities in the United States, including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, and civil unrest.”

Neither Russia nor Iran was accused on interfering in the 2020 election other than through unsubstantiated efforts in the media. How much influence could that have been given the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by both candidates on the election?

Covering Biden’s Butt

Joe Biden at a drive-In campaign rally in Coconut Creek, Florida, Oct. 29, 2020. (Adam Schultz, Flickr, Biden for President)

It is not an exaggeration to say that American intelligence leaders hated Donald Trump and love Joe Biden. It’s not a partisan thing. They loved Republicans Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes, and hated the Democrat Jimmy Carter. It’s about presidents not getting in their way. Trump tried, and mostly failed, to get in their way. They hated him for trying.

For instance, he failed to declassify CIA files on the John F. Kennedy assassination, though Congress had mandated their release. Trump even failed to declassify files that would shed light on how the CIA and FBI tried to interfere in his election and undermine his presidency, gross violations of inserting themselves into domestic politics that went well beyond anything they allege Russia has done.

The present report is also direct interference into domestic politics. It is highly politicized interference, which crosses a red line.

The report attempts to whitewash legitimate concerns about an array of Biden’s activities in Ukraine as vice president, the first being participation in a coup.

Weeks before the 2014 overthrow of democratically-elected (and OSCE-certified) President Viktor Yanukovych, then under-secretary of state Victoria Nuland talked about who would make up the new Ukrainian government. After discussing the coup, Nuland said Biden would play a key role in seeing it through.

After the coup Biden was appointed as Obama’s viceroy in Ukraine. An American citizen who was a former State Department official was given Ukrainian citizenship the day before she became the country’s finance minister. Just months after the U.S. takeover Biden’s son and a family friend of then Secretary of State John Kerry got lucrative positions on the board of Burisma Energy.

Monsanto and other U.S. corporations landed contracts in Ukraine. Biden boasted that he got Ukraine’s chief prosecutor fired, a man who testified in a court case in Vienna that Biden got him booted because he was investigating Burisma. Then Hunter Biden’s laptop was found with potentially incriminating evidence from Ukraine, as The New York Post reported before the November election, and Democratic pressure got Twitter to shut down the Post‘s account.

Though the present intelligence report does not go into any of these details, it says:

“We assess that Russia’s intelligence services, Ukraine-linked individuals with ties to Russian intelligence and their networks, and Russian state media, trolls, and online proxies engaged in activities targeting the 2020 US presidential election. The primary effort the IC uncovered revolved around a narrative-that Russian actors began spreading as early as 2014-alleging corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other US officials and Ukraine. Russian intelligence services relied on Ukraine-linked proxies and these proxies’ networks-including their US contacts-to spread this narrative to give Moscow plausible deniability of their involvement. …

Russian state media, trolls, and online proxies, including those directed by Russian intelligence, published disparaging content about President Biden, his family, and the Democratic Party, and heavily amplified related content circulating in US media, including stories centered on his son. These influence actors frequently sought out US contributors to increase their reach into US audiences.”

Spy vs. Spy

( Commons)

Every government with spying capabilities is spying on other governments, whether friend or foe. Yes Russia, Iran, China as well as Israel, France, Britain and other allies are spying on the United States. Do these governments voice opinions about U.S. politics? Often. Do they try to influence U.S. decision-making to their advantage? It would be a failure of diplomacy if they did not.

No government has greater espionage capabilities than the United States. That the United States has done everything alleged in this report and far worse is without question, and the evidence doesn’t need to be hidden, as it is here. Without mentioning the numerous U.S.-backed coups and invasions since World War II, it is sufficient to name just two examples of U.S. direct interference in foreign elections.

The CIA has admitted doling out $1 million to centrist politicians to influence the 1948 general election in Italy, according to a memo given to the 1975 Pike Committee. “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets,” said CIA operative F. Mark Wyatt. The CIA was also accused of forging letters to discredit Italian communist politicians.

In the 1996 Russian election, Democratic Party operatives flew to Russia to support the faltering Boris Yeltsin in his re-election campaign, an effort blasted on the front page of Time magazine.

U.S. Spying on U.S. Elections

The report reveals a little known, if unsurprising, fact about domestic U.S. intelligence spying on U.S. elections.

“We assess that it would be difficult for a foreign actor to manipulate election processes at scale without detection by intelligence collection on the actors themselves, through physical and cyber security monitoring around voting systems across the country…”

Who You Gonna Blame?

U.S. enabled Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection.

Blaming Russia for just about anything that goes wrong in the U.S. has proved too useful to discard.

If a U.S. politician is embroiled in a scandal who better to blame than Moscow, as Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee did in 2016?

If intelligence agencies and the Pentagon need to justify their budgets who better to blame than Russia (and China)?

As social unrest, racial divisions and a lack of faith in U.S. elections continues to grow, who better to blame for stirring this up than the Kremlin?

Anything but blaming oneself.

Why Does Anyone Believe This?

This intelligence assessment takes the American people for fools. They’ve known since the 2000 election in Florida that there’s something seriously wrong and untrustworthy about the American electoral system. They’ve known for years that both major parties are bought by major donors and don’t serve the public’s interests.

But anyone pointing this out is not just following their common sense or the facts, but is framed as a stooge of the Russian government.

It’s wearing thin. But this report was not only written as political cover for Biden the politician. But for Biden the aggressive president.

A day after it was released Biden said Russia would “pay a price” for its “meddling” with new U.S. sanctions, in fact not to further weaken an enemy “undermining American democracy” but to weaken states that won’t fall into line. Biden in an ABC interview also agreed to call Putin a “killer.”  (Biden was a fierce proponent of the Iraq invasion that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis).

This report is just further evidence that U.S. security services are not run by intelligence professionals but highly politicized agents zealously promoting a militarist agenda against any nation standing in their way, willing to blame others for America’s own failings and to protect any politician that gets with the program.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

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46 comments for “Russiagate Rolls On, Giving Biden Political Cover

  1. john Blumenstiel
    March 22, 2021 at 08:35

    This seems like nothing more than a “cut and Paste” of the 2017 ICA re: Puin’s maniacal control over the US voting public. How else could a tragic character like Trump win the presidency? It is all proven in the 2017 ICA’s “probably, likely, possibly, maybe” scenario that they themselves state should not be considered factual. Totally farcical!!

  2. rick
    March 22, 2021 at 08:21

    The convergence of the UK and US Security states in imposing an Orwellian dystopia on its domestic populations is apparently becoming more frenetic and urgent as the Anglophile world continues to implode and the its hegemony weakens under the impact of its own hubris.

  3. Zhu
    March 21, 2021 at 23:47

    Growing poverty and homelessness in the USA are caused by US politicians and plutocrats, not Russia, China, Reptilian Overlords or the Illuminati. We are responsible.

  4. Zhu
    March 21, 2021 at 23:25

    Meanwhile, global warming advances, poverty and homelessness grow. Nothing useful is done save play games. :-(

  5. John Neal Spangler
    March 21, 2021 at 16:19

    Of course the Intelligence community ignores London’s massive interference in US elections, as well as Israel’s thru AIPAC. The absurdity of claiming an editorial in a foreign newspaper constitutes “interference ” is laughable. US Intel fervently believes in the Big Lie concept

  6. Daniel
    March 21, 2021 at 13:50

    Russiagate has no use for evidence and will never produce any. Same goes for facts and logic. Because Russiagate was never about evidence, facts or logic. It is and always has been an act of (bad) faith.

    Can’t put any of this better than the author. I would only ask: Is it more worthwhile at this point to start discussing why Russiagate (all of the ‘-gates’) are employed? Many in this country who need to come to grips with the truth behind it all.

  7. Anne
    March 21, 2021 at 12:41

    I take with a dangerous level of Salt everything the western governments spout (especially those things to their ruling elites’ interest) especially as megaphoned repeatedly, year in year out by the Orwellian Newspeak media channels (in this household NPR and BBC World Service)…

    As for the bloody HUBRIS and HYPOCRISY of the USA in particular and the UK as the US poodle….Mind Boggling. Does the US Washington crew ever introspect? Question – seriously, deeply, meaningfully – their perspectives, their incomprehensible belief in their (untrue) self-righteousness???? Not so far as I can see….

  8. Piotr Berman
    March 21, 2021 at 09:01

    WSJ: [the nationalization of Motor Sich, where Chinese private investors purchased majority stake] could also salve relations between the Biden administration and Ukraine, after the government became embroiled in U.S. domestic politics during Donald Trump’s presidency, weakening support for the country in Washington.

    The nationalization of Motor Sich shows that Ukraine “stands with the U.S. even at considerable cost,” said Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington. “This was an excellent step that the U.S. should greatly appreciate.”

    Yup, US appreciates, but mostly verbally. Ukrainian government makes plenty of steps “at considerable cost”, and it is kept on short leash, constantly reviewed if it deserve the next tranche of credit — the last review was negative. Recently it imposes “sanctions” on people almost every week, but that does not appease militant fascists supported by even more pro-Western (so they call them selves) parties. Yesterday presidential office was attacked, defaced, windows broken and a door burned (with a very tepid defense by police). Americans control Ukraine until destruction — ineptitude, I guess.

    Of course, the weekly repressions (extra legal) affected all “pro-Russian Ukrainian actors” who have unkind words about Americans, including Biden family. Praise be the government of Ukraine! But no cash. On the bright side, Ukraine may load some heavy weapons on trains, but it is unlikely if they can afford a new war.

  9. Michael Crockett
    March 21, 2021 at 03:54

    Excellent article Joe. Many thanks. Some time ago President Putin stated, in US elections, the presidents change but the policies remain the same. I agree. It does not matter which faction of the One Party captures the White House, US foreign policy demands that the rest of world bend the knee and kiss the ring. Unfortunately for the Empires Rulers things are not trending in that direction. There is a formidable resistance. Militarily and economically the resistance is forging alliances and moving forward to protect their geostrategic interest. There are currently 135 countries that have signed on to the BRI.

    • Anne
      March 21, 2021 at 12:45

      May those countries which will not bend the knee, kiss the ring, be obeisant to western – i.e. US led – diktats be strong and survive well the ongoing and doubtless to increase onslaughts against their sovereignty….

  10. CuriousNC
    March 20, 2021 at 21:21

    “This report is just further evidence that U.S. security services are not run by intelligence professionals but highly politicized agents zealously promoting a militarist agenda against any nation standing in its way, willing to blame others for America’s own failings and to protect any politician that gets with the program.”

    Bingo! This is it. They’ve made their choice. What are Americans supposed to do? Be spectators to the incoming and continuous train wreck? We aren’t going to defeat them significantly in national elections and engaging in national electoral politics is wasting our time while playing their game like ingesting their propaganda. They use their corporate media to disparage anyone but their select candidates. Now big tech neutralizes the competition. They can use algorithms to make them and their supporters disappear off the internet.

    There used to be local news, seeing old newspapers is a shock. Each one of us would have been worthy of local news. I know nothing about what is going on locally or on the state level. It has been corporatized. I know much more about national politics that I have zero influence on. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a political discussion regarding local politicians except for a local sheriff once or twice (that was brought up by one person years ago). It’s always about national politics, but even then it is only a few who get media attention. The President is everything from a messiah, clown, and devil for someone. Trump was incompetent. Trump had 4 years to release the Russiagate files and half of voters think he is the bee’s knees. The political class is fine with that because they want their domestic war on terror. It is just another front for their militarism to expand.

  11. Evangelista
    March 20, 2021 at 18:22

    If Joe Biden wants to prove his point about Vladimir Putin he should take Putin up on his offer for a live debate: Putin will kill him!

    • Piotr Berman
      March 21, 2021 at 19:37

      “Putin will kill him.” It suffices to have an elevated podium for the debate, with some stairs that lack handrails. Or with comfy, nap inducing armchairs.

  12. March 20, 2021 at 18:00

    The extent to which post-2016 narratives about “election interference” in the form of social media influencer posts and advertisements is quite obviously a “manufactroversy” in the “Two Minutes Hate – we have always been at war with Eastasia!” tradition, perpetrated by people quite evidently disdainful of the concept of an “open marketplace of ideas,” constantly feeling the need to curate and manipulate public discourse on a whim, and lusting after toggle-switch control over the emotional state of a populace they seek to sucker at any given moment.

    *sarcasm* I am sure it is just a coincidence that the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank
    Complex (“MICIMATT,” as Ray McGovern has put it) perseverate on this subject now with reference to only particular actors (Russia, China, and Iran, to varying extents and degrees depending on the political leanings of the commentator and/or target audience) rather than at any other time or with reference to the multitude of foreign actors that have allegedly interfered in US elections recently and historically. I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with desperately grasping at straws after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the public losing interest in contrived “forever wars” to gin up support or at least acquiescence for a “New Cold War” with Russia, a “Pivot to Asia” against China, and keeping US troops in the MENA region to counter Iran that can keep oligarchs happy and the system spinning, with the fringe benefits of eroding that pesky Bill of Rights and keeping subjects–err, I mean citizens divided amongst themselves. */end sarcasm*

    Notwithstanding the myriad stones thrown by people in this glass house given the US government’s record as global “meddler-in-chief” (hXXps://, here are a handful of examples of ostensible foreign influence operations that have not received anything close to the same degree of disproportionate, wall-to-wall media coverage:

    • Former President Álvaro Uribe, current right-wing legislators, and people associated with the incumbent Iván Duque administration in Colombia trying to swing South Florida voters toward the 2020 Trump campaign (hXXps://

    • Current Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard “getting out the vote” for the 2016 Clinton campaign in between stints in the Mexican government (hXXps://

    • Election influence campaigns by the likes of Israel and the United Arab Emirates in 2016 (hXXps://

    • Extensive foreign campaign finance from areas such as European states and China benefitting both Republican and Democratic candidates in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections (hXXps://

    • Efforts to bribe and blackmail members of the US Congress by a covert network of Turkish-Israeli-Pakistani foreign actors in the late 1990s and early 2000s based on the sworn testimony of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds (hXXps://

    • The Reagan campaign’s seeming collusion with the revolutionary Iranian government to delay the release of US hostages and thereby manipulate the outcome of the 1980 presidential election (hXXps://

    • The Nixon campaign’s confirmed collusion with the governments of Greece and South Vietnam in the 1968 presidential election (hXXps://

  13. michael888
    March 20, 2021 at 17:50

    As Former Head of the CIA William Casey said ““We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Thanks to “modernization” of Smith Mundt, we’re there.

    I can remember Putin giving hearty thanks and $500,000 to the Clintons (not to their Foundation, although I’m sure that happened as well) for a speech in 2010 when Hillary was Secretary of State. Why is Hunter Biden’s no-show job, or Kerry’s “family friend’s” or Cofer Black’s, CIA and underling to Mitt Romney at the time, any different? Or Trump trying to build a hotel in Moscow? Where is the line for “soft” corruption? I’m sure Manafort and Gates wondered why/how their colleagues in Ukraine, Podesta and Greg Craig avoided jail?

    And (originally posted on, at least where I discovered it), gives incredible insights of how corrupt the Bidens and American/Ukrainians are, astounding even in one of the most corrupt countries in eastern Europe! As Biden says (with veiled sarcasm): “Corruption is a Cancer!”

    • Anne
      March 21, 2021 at 12:49

      He (Biden) should bloody well know all about the cancerous nature of corruption given the length of time he has been a recipient of such as a corporate-capitalist-imperialist ruling elite Stooge, well greased for that…

  14. Taras77
    March 20, 2021 at 17:16

    This garbage as the author notes “is wearing thin.”

    The question is how thin does it have to be; how long before the “intelligence community” decides that this is not working, or more specifically, what would be the criteria for “just not working.”

    I’m sure I am not alone here as becoming more and more frustrated at this garbage that comes with a very high price tag of billions thrown at the ‘intell community.’ But still it continues.

  15. P. Michael Garber
    March 20, 2021 at 17:03

    Thanks JL for this exposee of the most recent Insane Clown Assessment, oh excuse me, Intelligence Community Assessment. Having read it from Greenwald’s link I was shocked at what a transparently political document it is. The only countries whose influence was assessed were the Neocons’ enemies, Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah. And, it just so happens to turn out that everyone who Biden faced in the election, be it the “outsiders” in the primary, or Trump in the general, the Russians were helping all of them. Oh and anything negative we might have heard about Biden, that was all the work of the Russians, and should be ignored, just like we were told to ignore the 2016 DNC emails. But if all this sounds worrisome, seeming to suggest we need to do more to protect our electorate from foreign influencers, the fact is, “This ICA does not include an assessment of the impact foreign malign influence and interference activities may have had on the outcome of the 2020 election.” So, they unearthed all these “malign” foreign actors out there working to influence our elections, but they made zero effort to assess what impact they had? How can the people trusted to safeguard our country fail to assess what impact the malign actors they identified actually had? If nothing else is obvious, the authors of this report are not the tiniest bit concerned about whatever impact their malign actors had on the election, because they made no effort to measure it. The whole thing is a political screed, designed to trigger sanctions against Neocon enemies and delegitimize anyone who dares ask questions the Bidens in Ukraine. Will the American public ever stop swallowing these evidence-free “Russia did it” stories?

  16. rosemerry
    March 20, 2021 at 15:30

    Joe Luria is too kind!!!! All of the “highly likely” accusations have absolutely no backing of any kind. Even saying that all nations spy is deceptive- the suggestion that Russia has anything to gain by hacking “US intelligence sources ” or any other secrets hidden from us all in a clumsy, Kremlin-led need to upset the wonderful democracy in the USA is laughable. Anyone reading CN knows that the US voting system allows no chance of the people choosing a competent, fair, unbiased person as POTUS, and all the “Reps” and especially Senators, are elected by numbers which do not at all reflect the wishes of the voters, but the lobbies and dark money acting within the USA.
    Putin long ago explained that for Russia, it did not matter which of the (only two) Parties was in power in the USA as it made little difference to the policies they put into place. We have seen this in recent years, with “Putin-loving” Trump and the constant illegal sanctions on Russia.

  17. Alan
    March 20, 2021 at 13:04

    Thanks, Joe, for this extremely cogent argument demonstrating how the blather emanating from the U.S. National Security State has a political tinge that is unmoored from fact and evidence. It goes without saying that you and Consortium News are already charter members of the club of “Russian Stooges,” so your message may not carry much farther than the eyes and ears of those who already are in the know. For our sakes, please keep it up, and maybe someday the truth will shine through fog of lies.

      March 20, 2021 at 13:08

      Thank you Alan.

    • Piotr Berman
      March 21, 2021 at 09:13

      Opinions and analyses that diverge from “interagency consensus” are legal due to short sidedness of Founding Fathers, so compiling the lists of domestic enemies for blacklisting is left to private parties — that allows to redeem this folly. Consortium News is definitely there.

      In any case, the crimes of Russia and “pro-Russian proxies” are largely in the area of opinion and focus on facts that “in no way represent truth about USA”, like pepper spraying 9 year old girl in the face and eyes for not following police instructions (that had reasons no one could explain). In USA that was making rounds for a week, but evil RT posted about it a month later, to “saw distrust”.

    • Piotr Berman
      March 21, 2021 at 09:30


      This list was compiled 5 years ago, and for some reasons that particular project was abandoned, perhaps too clumsy. But it reflects the ideas that guide American policies.

  18. Thomas Kahler
    March 20, 2021 at 12:26

    Excellent article Joe. In an article by Hal Freeman – “The Political Conflict Between My Two Worlds”, he makes an interesting observation on the Putin comment of “it takes one to know one”. He says it’s a mis-translation of the Russian, which more accurately translated should be “You yourself are what you are calling me”. Big difference.

    • Yuliy Nesterenko
      March 22, 2021 at 00:54

      I was reading the comments today specifically to see if anyone of native Russian speakers like me would pick up on that. Finally I found your comment. Yes, the translation – don’t know who wad the translator – would be a rough equivalent of Russian: “A fisherman can recognise another fisherman from a far…” I think there is a more precise English equivalent. However, the meaning of what Putin said is very different. “It takes one to know one” implies that “Ok, I am a killer, but you know that only because you are also a killer like me”… Not at all what Putin said. I used the phrase in my childhood that Putin referred to. The way I interpret Putins’s phrase is this: “If you want to bring the argument to the level of elementary school kids, then you are what you are calling me. However, if you want to really discuss our differences, let’s do it in the open…”

      • Randal Marlin
        March 22, 2021 at 08:25

        Can you supply the Russian words actually used? That would be a big help.

  19. Dave
    March 20, 2021 at 12:23

    Joe Lauria has contributed one of the best, most pointed analyses of the incredibly stupid, hyper-cynical Democratic Party leadership’s insanity-ridden attacks on the Russian and Chinese governments. Empire Americana is doomed…and good riddance to it. Numerous decades have elapsed for the USA to take care of its own internal problems, which are enormous and worsening by the day…infrastructure repair delays; realistic gun control laws; reducing the Pentagon / “intelligence” budgets and bureaucracies by a minimum of eighty percent; establishment of a simplified and implementable national health care complex; mass high-speed and government owned and operated national rail transportation systems; getting rid of the Christian Investment Authority (aka CIA); immediately getting out of NATO; simplifying and enforcing our federal election criteria and standards, particularly those to be applied south of the Mason-Dixon Line… and much more, particularly in the thorough break-up of corporate farming and electronic communications monopolies.
    Lots of work to be initiated and accomplished. Lauria has done good…now spread the word to politicians at all levels of government.

    • Anne
      March 21, 2021 at 12:56

      Vis a vis the Military-intelligence (ever expanding numbers of such agencies) funding – the annual sums involved (that we learn about) grow ever larger even as the numbers of our impoverished, homeless, food bank dependent grow ever greater…And all but one or two Congressionals (both houses) are happy signees onto this abominable, greed and barbarity ridden set of programs …

  20. Dfnslblty
    March 20, 2021 at 12:16

    If the challenge is “…influence campaign…”, it is quite a simple action to detain and question the many legal firms who lobby for the suspected proxies!
    It is the revolving door ex-govt workers who give harbour to foreign govts.
    It’s an internal job that creates usa’s enemies.
    Defund the m.I.c. by defunding the pentagon and highly taxing military contractors.
    Stop the Wars!

  21. Stevie Boy
    March 20, 2021 at 12:02

    I fail to follow the, warped, logic of Russia-gate.
    The Russians interfered in the elections so now we have sleepy Joe rather than Trump – was that Russia’s plan ?

    Meanwhile, The USA interferes in the elections of virtually every country on the Plane – but that’s okay ?

    • Dfnslblty
      March 20, 2021 at 12:19

      Agreed and Bravo for writing that!

    • Jonathan
      March 20, 2021 at 12:26

      I think the goal of the interference was to undermine the public’s trust and faith in American institutions.

      If one condemns U.S. interference in other countries’ elections, shouldn’t that same condemnation be applied to countries and agents that interfere in U.S. elections?

        March 20, 2021 at 12:47

        The article points out that the US needs no help from foreign governments to undermine Americans’ confidence in their system. American leaders are wholly responsible for that.

        • Jonathan
          March 20, 2021 at 13:25

          While that may very well be, my response was to what I thought was Stevie Boy’s implied point: that Russia didn’t care whether President Trump or now President Biden won so it had no motive to interfere in U.S. elections.

          I think it’s true that Russia didn’t care who won the presidential election.

          But I do think Russia would enjoy a polarized American electorate fostering mistrust (regardless of whether that mistrust is valid). That could be motivation for electoral interference.

            March 20, 2021 at 13:29

            But where is the evidence that Russia interfered? American people have mistrust in their system all on their own. They don’t need help from anyone.

          • rosemerry
            March 20, 2021 at 15:44

            There is no reason for Russia to want chaos. Her relations with so many countries and leaders in the world shows, as with China, that many nations would prefer cooperation and keeping to international laws(!) and decent behavior towards others rather than acting as a bully and assuming that only the USA and Israel matter in the world. Notice that the USA is the main belligerent party in most of the conflicts it is blaming others for, and it conveniently picks a date to claim certain conflicts begin. Ukraine in 2010 voted for a pro-Western government. Russia under Putin worked for four years with it because they are neighbors, but in 2014 as soon as a Russia-leaning government was elected, the USA overthrew it. Victoria Nuland is now ready to instal more chaos in her new job with Biden!!!

          • DH Fabian
            March 20, 2021 at 20:34

            When were we NOT polarized?

        March 20, 2021 at 12:48

        Russia is not being accused by US intelligence of giving money to US candidates, forging letters to discredit other candidates or flying in their consultants to help a candidate, which is what the US has done, so there is not the comparison as you are trying to make.

        • Jonathan
          March 20, 2021 at 13:31

          Stevie Boy’s comment was about “interference “ in general. I was responding to that very broad description.

          I think you response to mine is digging deeper – into a comparison of the tactics employed to effect interference. I was not replying to that level of nuance.

            March 20, 2021 at 13:37

            There is no comparison as the US report gives no evidence Russia interfered at all while the CN report gives concrete evidence of US interference in two elections. I saying things on social media interference or just expressing views?

      • Jonathan
        March 20, 2021 at 13:38

        The U.S. Government argued that the evidence is classified and can’t be disclosed. People are right to be skeptical of that claim and to discredit conclusions based on them.

        But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the claims are false.

        Again – in the context of my first reply to Stevie Boy’s comment, I was not claiming that Russia interfered in U.S. elections – I was arguing that Russia had motivation to do so beyond which candidate won.

        • Stevie Boy
          March 21, 2021 at 06:41

          Russia, China, whoever ‘may’ have interfered BUT that assertion is evidence free unless you believe the security services. They may not be paragons of virtue but let’s look at the actual facts, not the CIA generated facts, and let’s also keep it in context with the western powers actions.
          Assuming they have motivation because it would destabilise the US is based on, IMO, the premise of American exceptionalism – we would do this therefore we assume you would too. History shows that Russia and China have traditionally reached out to the US for cooperation and trade and the current obnoxious hate filled climate fostered by the US government hasn’t stopped the attempts at ‘grown up’ diplomacy. Nobody on the planet benefits from conflict but there could be huge benefits in cooperation.

          As I originally said, it is hard to see the logic – other than the MIC ($700Bn a year and counting) is pushing for conflict and the extremists wish to destroy any and all competition. Do any of these fools actually believe that if there was a major war the US would benefit from it ?

        • Piotr Berman
          March 21, 2021 at 14:27

          NYT: The declassified report did not explain how the intelligence community had reached its conclusions about Russian operations during the 2020 election. But the officials said they had high confidence in their conclusions about Mr. Putin’s involvement, suggesting that the intelligence agencies have developed new ways of gathering information after the extraction of one of their best Kremlin sources in 2017.
          In other words, it could be a reliable psychic, tested multiple times for consistency. If he/she confirmed each time that Russia interfered, he/she was reliable.

          Intelligence community, like, say, biologists, has a variety of specialties. Concocting false “expert announcements” is one of them. From time to time we have solid proofs that a falsehood was concocted, check “Iraq weapons of mass destruction”. Or “missile gap”. Usually you cannot PROVE the negative, but the passages devoted to “Ukrainian pro-Russian channels” pretty much shows what is involved. Remember warnings from the same sources that Sanders is supported by the Russians.

  22. Vera Gottlieb
    March 20, 2021 at 12:00

    What ever happened to honesty, integrity, self respect? Gone the way of the Dodo bird? Disgusting.

  23. Randal Marlin
    March 20, 2021 at 11:58

    “In the 1996 Russian election, Democratic Party operatives flew to Russia to support the faltering Boris Yeltsin in his re-election campaign, an effort blasted on the front page of Time magazine.”
    I don’t think “blasted” is the right word.
    Time Magazine’s cover of the issue July 15, 1996 pictured Boris Yelsin holding an American flag. A boxed word “EXCLUSIVE” was followed by “YANKS TO THE RESCUE” and in smaller letters “The Secret Story of How American Advisors helped Yeltsin win.”
    What is prominent is the hypocrisy of the recent outrage in the U.S. against supposed (I’m prepared to believe some of this, though not without valid evidence) Russian “interference” in the U.S. 2020 election when Time was boasting about the U.S. doing exactly this in Russia in 1996.
    I agree totally with the need to distrust U.S. intelligence, unless backed by Ray McGovern and others who know their way around that territory and at the same time show respect for truth and human lives on a global scale.

  24. March 20, 2021 at 11:33

    Let me see if I understood.

    ODNI, one of a plethora of spy agencies in the world’s most vile and warmongering nation, without any evidence, is complaining at length about the “election tempering” of countries on their updated hit list, their new “five countries in seven years” project.

    Geeze, could something else be going on here??

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