It’s been more than a month since the “imminent” invasion was coming so a new threat needed to be cooked up in the bowels of Foggy Bottom and Langley, writes Daniel McAdams.
[Full video and transcript of exchange at the bottom of this article.]
It is so rare to see an actual journalist rather than a regime stenographer in the U.S. mainstream media that there really needs to be a federal “endangered species” protection designation. In this case it would be AP’s Matt Lee, their diplomatic affairs correspondent, who’s been around the block many times and whose reputation is that he takes no crap from flacks regardless of party. Imagine that!
So in Thursday’s State Department brief, spokesman Ned Price was given the unenviable task of dressing up the Administration’s latest offering of bovine excrement and selling it as a gourmet dip. At issue was a “leaked” story in the Washington Post – ahem -that Russia is planning an elaborate video fabrication of a Ukrainian attack on eastern Ukraine to serve as a false flag to justify a Russian incursion into Ukraine.
This after a month or so of the U.S. Administration insisting that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “imminent.” It was a claim dramatically refuted by none other than the one political leader who on paper would benefit most from such a narrative – the Ukrainian president himself – who told Biden on a phone call to go take his meds and stop fear-mongering about a Russian invasion of Ukraine!
So a new threat needed to be cooked up in the bowels of Foggy Bottom and Langley.
Enter Ned Price from the State Department, who had the thankless task today of selling the hollow narrative that U.S. intelligence had uncovered a fantastical plot by the Russians to bring in crisis actors and fake bodies to sell a false narrative to justify their no longer “imminent” invasion of Ukraine.
Reminder that this State Department spokesman, Ned Price, is former CIA
The CIA, which brought us hits like WMDs, Russiagate, and Havana Syndrome, is now claiming Russia will do a crazy false-flag op, and you have to believe them, with zero evidence, because the US gov't says so https://t.co/LG6m29zq3L pic.twitter.com/En3rq9mlxw
— Benjamin Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 4, 2022
The whole thing is reminiscent of the Obama Administration’s absurd suggestion that the attack on the U.S. CIA installation in Benghazi, Libya, was motivated by a laughable anti-Muslim video (instead of a U.S. arms deal gone wrong, as Sen. Paul uncovered).
Price’s pathetic talking point was this: we are declassifying intelligence information that Russia is about to release a fake video of a Ukrainian attack on Donbas as a false flag to open the door to Russian involvement.
Here’s a summary of what followed [Full transcript here]:
AP’s Matt Lee replied with a question any normal journalist would ask before our current era: “OK, but what evidence do you have that this is indeed the case?”
Ned: “Well that’s it – my ‘declassified’ claim that Russia is about to do it.”
Matt Lee: “Well, that’s not ‘declassified’ information, that’s just you claiming it. Surely you understand the difference. I mean, crisis actors, fake dead bodies – that’s Alex Jones territory.”
Ned: “You are a Russian propagandist.”
Yes this is the Reader’s Digest version, but essentially this is what took place in the extraordinary State Dept. briefing on Thursday. [Price told Lee: “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government of other governments and wanna, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that’s for you to do.”]
The U.S. government’s position position is that if you ask for any evidence of a U.S. government claim … you are a Putin agent!
Our friend, the analyst, Caitlin Johnstone also perfectly captures the absurdity of the Biden claims in this thread:
I'm declassifying evidence that Nigeria is planning a false flag operation in Switzerland. Are you ready? Here it is:
Nigeria is planning a false flag operation in Switzerland.
The evidence is me asserting it. If you doubt this evidence, you're a propagandist for Nigeria.
— Caitlin Johnstone ? (@caitoz) February 4, 2022
But as the bipartisan support for bovine excrement continues to pollute the barnyard, at least we can thank Matt Lee from otherwise odious AP for refusing to thrust his chip into the Biden dip…
Daniel McAdams is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
This article is from the Ron Paul Institute.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Transcript of exchange between Price and Lee.
QUESTION: Thanks. Okay, well, that’s quite a mouthful there. So you said “actions such as these suggest otherwise” – suggest meaning that they suggest they’re not interested in talks and they’re going to go ahead with some kind of a – what action are you talking about?
MR PRICE: One, the actions I have just pointed to, the fact –
QUESTION: What action? What —
MR PRICE: The fact that Russia continues to engage in disinformation campaigns.
QUESTION: Well no, you’ve made an allegation that they might do that. Have they actually done it?
MR PRICE: What we know, Matt, is what we – what I have just said, that they have engaged in this activity, in this planning activity —
QUESTION: Well, engage in what – hold on a second. What activity?
MR PRICE: But let me – let me – because obviously this is not – this is not the first time we’ve made these reports public. You’ll remember that just a few weeks ago –
QUESTION: I’m sorry, made what report public?
MR PRICE: If you let me finish, I will tell you what report we made public.
MR PRICE: We told you a few weeks ago that we have information indicating Russia also has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. So that, Matt, to your question, is an action that Russia has already taken.
QUESTION: No, it’s an action that you say that they have taken, but you have shown no evidence to confirm that. And I’m going to get to the next question here, which is: What is the evidence that they – I mean, this is – like, crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory you’re getting into now. What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?
MR PRICE: Matt, this is derived from information known to the U.S. Government, intelligence information that we have declassified. I think you know —
QUESTION: Okay, well, where is it? Where is this information?
MR PRICE: It is intelligence information that we have declassified.
QUESTION: Well, where is it? Where is the declassified information?
MR PRICE: I just delivered it.
QUESTION: No, you made a series of allegations and statements —
MR PRICE: Would you like us to print out the topper? Because you will see a transcript of this briefing that you can print out for yourself.
QUESTION: But that’s not evidence, Ned. That’s you saying it. That’s not evidence. I’m sorry.
MR PRICE: What would you like, Matt?
QUESTION: I would like to see some proof that you – that you can show that —
MR PRICE: Matt, you have been —
QUESTION: — that shows that the Russians are doing this.
MR PRICE: You —
QUESTION: Ned, I’ve been doing this for a long time, as you know.
MR PRICE: I know. That was my point. You have been doing this for quite a while.
QUESTION: I have.
MR PRICE: You know that when we declassify intelligence, we do so in a means —
QUESTION: That’s right. And I remember WMDs in Iraq, and I —
MR PRICE: — we do so with an eye to protecting sources and methods.
QUESTION: And I remember that Kabul was not going to fall. I remember a lot of things. So where is the declassified information other than you coming out here and saying it?
MR PRICE: Matt, I’m sorry you don’t like the format, but we have —
QUESTION: It’s not the format. It’s the content.
MR PRICE: I’m sorry you don’t like the content. I’m sorry you —
QUESTION: It’s not that I don’t like it or —
MR PRICE: I’m sorry you are doubting the information that is in the possession of the U.S. Government.
QUESTION: No, I —
MR PRICE: What I’m telling you is that this is information that’s available to us. We are making it available to you in order – for a couple reasons. One is to attempt to deter the Russians from going ahead with this activity. Two, in the event we’re not able to do that, in the event the Russians do go ahead with this, to make it clear as day, to lay bare the fact that this has always been an attempt on the part of the Russian Federation to fabricate a pretext.
QUESTION: Yes, but you don’t have any evidence to back it up other than what you’re saying. It’s like you’re saying, “We think – we have information the Russians may do this,” but you won’t tell us what the information is. And then when you’re asked —
MR PRICE: Well, that is the idea behind deterrence, Matt. That is the idea behind deterrence.
QUESTION: When you’re asked – and when you’re asked —
MR PRICE: It is our hope that the Russians don’t go forward with this.
QUESTION: And when you’re asked what the information is, you say, “I just gave it to you.” But that’s not what —
MR PRICE: You seem not to understand —
QUESTION: That’s not the way it works.
MR PRICE: You seem not to understand the idea of deterrence.
QUESTION: No, no, no, Ned. You don’t – you seem not to understand the idea of —
MR PRICE: We are trying to deter the Russians from moving forward with this type of activity. That is why we are making it public today. If the Russians don’t go forward with this, that is not ipso facto an indication that they never had plans to do so.
QUESTION: But then it’s unprovable. I mean, my God, what is the evidence that you have that suggests that the Russians are even planning this?
MR PRICE: Matt, you —
QUESTION: I mean, I’m not saying that they’re not. But you just come out and say this and expect us just to believe it without you showing a shred of evidence that it’s actually true – other than when I ask or when anyone else asks what’s the information, you said, well, I just gave it to you, which was just you making a statement.
MR PRICE: Matt, you said yourself you’ve been in this business for quite a long time. You know that when we make information – intelligence information public we do so in a way that protects sensitive sources and methods. You also know that we do so – we declassify information – only when we’re confident in that information.
QUESTION: But Ned, you haven’t given any information.
MR PRICE: If you doubt – if you doubt the credibility of the U.S. Government, of the British Government, of other governments, and want to find solace in information that the Russians are putting out —
MR PRICE: — that is for you to do.
QUESTION: I don’t want – I’m not asking what the Russian Government is putting out. And what do you – what is that supposed to mean? ….