The Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russiagate

On the anniversary of the “assessment” blaming Russia for interfering in the 2016 election there is still no evidence other than showing the media “colluded” with the spooks, Ray McGovern wrote on Jan. 7, 2019.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
First published Jan. 7, 2019

The banner headline atop page one of The New York Times print edition [now six] years ago today, on Jan. 7, 2017, set the tone for two years of Dick Cheney-like chicanery: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.”

Under a media drumbeat of anti-Russian hysteria, credulous Americans were led to believe that Donald Trump owed his election victory to the president of Russia, whose “influence campaign” according to the Times quoting the intelligence report, helpedPresident-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”

Hard evidence supporting the media and political rhetoric has been as elusive as proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002-2003. This time, though, an alarming increase in the possibility of war with nuclear-armed Russia has ensued — whether by design, hubris, or rank stupidity. The possible consequences for the world are even more dire than 16 years of war and destruction in the Middle East.

If It Walks Like a Canard…

The C.I.A.-friendly New York Times in 2017 led the media quacking in a campaign that wobbled like a duck, canard in French.

A glance at the title of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which was not endorsed by the whole community) — “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” — would suffice to show that the widely respected and independently-minded State Department intelligence bureau should have been included. State intelligence had demurred on several points made in the Oct. 2002 Estimate on Iraq, and even insisted on including a footnote of dissent.

James Clapper, then director of national intelligence who put together the ICA, knew that all too well. So he evidently thought it would be better not to involve troublesome dissenters, or even inform them what was afoot.

Clapper: Showing handpicked evidence? (White House Photo)

Similarly, the Defense Intelligence Agency should have been included, particularly since it has considerable expertise on the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence agency, which has been blamed for Russian hacking of the DNC emails.

But DIA, too, has an independent streak and, in fact, is capable of reaching judgments Clapper would reject as anathema. Just one year before Clapper decided to do the rump “Intelligence Community Assessment,” DIA had formally blessed the following heterodox idea in its “December 2015 National Security Strategy”:

“The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.”

Any further questions as to why the Defense Intelligence Agency was kept away from the ICA drafting table?

Handpicked Analysts

With help from the Times and other mainstream media, Clapper, mostly by his silence, was able to foster the charade that the ICA was actually a bonafide product of the entire intelligence community for as long as he could get away with it. After four months it came time to fess up that the ICA had not been prepared, as Secretary Clinton and the media kept claiming, by “all 17 intelligence agencies.”

In fact, Clapper went one better, proudly asserting — with striking naiveté — that the ICA writers were “handpicked analysts” from only the F.B.I., C.I.A., and NSA. He may have thought that this would enhance the ICA’s credibility. It is a no-brainer, however, that when you want handpicked answers, you better handpick the analysts. And so he did.

Why is no one interested in the identities of the handpicked analysts and the hand-pickers? After all, we have the names of the chief analysts/managers responsible for the fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002 that greased the skids for the war on Iraq. Listed in the NIE itself are the principal analyst Robert D. Walpole and his chief assistants Paul Pillar, Lawrence K. Gershwin and Maj. Gen. John R. Landry.

The Overlooked Disclaimer

Buried in an inside page of the Times on Jan. 7, 2017 was a cautionary paragraph in an analysis by reporter Scott Shane. It seems he had read the ICA all the way through, and had taken due note of the derriere-protecting caveats included in the strangely cobbled together report. Shane had to wade through nine pages of drivel about “Russia’s Propaganda Efforts” to reach Annex B with its curious disclaimer:

Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents. … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

Small wonder, then, that Shane noted: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission…”

Scott Shane (Twitter)

Since then, Shane has evidently realized what side his bread is buttered on and has joined the ranks of Russiagate aficionados. Decades ago, he did some good reporting on such issues, so it was sad to see him decide to blend in with the likes of David Sanger and promote the NYT official Russia-gate narrative. An embarrassing feature, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far,” that Shane wrote with NYT colleague Mark Mazzetti in September, is full of gaping holes, picked apart in two pieces by Consortium News.

Shades of WMD

Sanger is one of the intelligence community’s favorite go-to journalists. He was second only to the disgraced Judith Miller in promoting the canard of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. invasion in March 2003. For example, in a July 29, 2002 article, “U.S. Exploring Baghdad Strike As Iraq Option,” co-written by Sanger and Thom Shanker, the existence of WMD in Iraq was stated as flat fact no fewer than seven times.

The Sanger/Shanker article appeared just a week after then-CIA Director George Tenet confided to his British counterpart that President George W. Bush had decided “to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” At that critical juncture, Clapper was in charge of the analysis of satellite imagery and hid the fact that the number of confirmed WMD sites in Iraq was zero.

Despite that fact and that his “assessment” has never been proven, Clapper continues to receive praise.

During a “briefing” I attended at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington several weeks ago [in 2018], Clapper displayed master circular reasoning, saying in effect, that the assessment had to be correct because that’s what he and other intelligence directors told President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

McGovern questions Clapper at Carnegie Endowment in Washington. (Alli McCracken)

I got a chance to question him at the event. His disingenuous answers brought a painful flashback to one of the most shameful episodes in the annals of U.S. intelligence analysis.

Ray McGovern: My name is Ray McGovern. Thanks for this book; it’s very interesting [Ray holds up his copy of Clapper’s memoir]. I’m part of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.  I’d like to refer to the Russia problem, but first there’s an analogy that I see here.  You were in charge of imagery analysis before Iraq.

James Clapper: Yes.

RM: You confess [in the book] to having been shocked that no weapons of mass destruction were found.  And then, to your credit, you admit, as you say here [quotes from the book], “the blame is due to intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help [the administration make war on Iraq] that we found what wasn’t really there.”

Now fast forward to two years ago.  Your superiors were hell bent on finding ways to blame Trump’s victory on the Russians.  Do you think that your efforts were guilty of the same sin here?  Do you think that you found a lot of things that weren’t really there?  Because that’s what our conclusion is, especially from the technical end.  There was no hacking of the DNC; it was leaked, and you know that because you talked to NSA.

JC: Well, I have talked with NSA a lot, and I also know what we briefed to then-President Elect Trump on the 6th of January.  And in my mind, uh, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT [signals intelligence] business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.  There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever.  The Intelligence Community Assessment that we rendered that day, that was asked, tasked to us by President Obama — and uh — in early December, made no call whatsoever on whether, to what extent the Russians influenced the outcome of the election. Uh, the administration, uh, the team then, the President-Elect’s team, wanted to say that — that we said that the Russian interference had no impact whatsoever on the election.  And I attempted, we all did, to try to correct that misapprehension as they were writing a press release before we left the room.

However, as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn’t have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election.

RM: That’s what The New York Times says.  But let me say this: we have two former Technical Directors from NSA in our movement here, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; we also have forensics, okay?

Now the President himself, your President, President Obama said two days before he left town: The conclusions of the intelligence community — this is ten days after you briefed him — with respect to how WikiLeaks got the DNC emails are “inconclusive” end quote.  Now why would he say that if you had said it was conclusive?

JC: I can’t explain what he said or why.  But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.  I’m not going to go into the technical details about why we believe that.

RM: We are too [pretty sure we know]; and it was a leak onto a thumb drive — gotten to Julian Assange — really simple.  If you knew it, and the NSA has that information, you have a duty, you have a duty to confess to that, as well as to [Iraq].

JC: Confess to what?

RM: Confess to the fact that you’ve been distorting the evidence.

JC: I don’t confess to that.

RM: The Intelligence Community Assessment was without evidence.

JC: I do not confess to that. I simply do not agree with your conclusions.

William J. Burns (Carnegie President): Hey, Ray, I appreciate your question.  I didn’t want this to look like Jim Acosta in the White House grabbing microphones away.  Thank you for the questioning though.  Yes ma’am [Burns recognizes the next questioner].

The above exchange can be seen starting at 28:45 in this video.

Not Worth His Salt

Having supervised intelligence analysis, including chairing National Intelligence Estimates, for three-quarters of my 27-year career at C.I.A., my antennae are fine-tuned for canards. And so, at Carnegie, when Clapper focused on the rump analysis masquerading as an “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the scent of the duck came back strongly.

Intelligence analysts worth their salt give very close scrutiny to sources, their possible agendas, and their records for truthfulness. Clapper flunks on his own record, including his performance before the Iraq war — not to mention his giving sworn testimony to Congress that he had to admit was “clearly erroneous,” when documents released by Edward Snowden proved him a perjurer. At Carnegie, the questioner who followed me brought that up and asked, “How on earth did you keep your job, Sir?”

The next questioner, a former manager of State Department intelligence, posed another salient question: Why, he asked, was State Department intelligence excluded from the “Intelligence Community Assessment”?

U.S. Marine patrols the streets of Al Faw, Iraq, 2003. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Ted Banks.)

Among the dubious reasons Clapper gave was the claim, “We only had a month, and so it wasn’t treated as a full-up National Intelligence Estimate where all 16 members of the intelligence community would pass judgment on it.” Clapper then tried to spread the blame around (“That was a deliberate decision that we made and that I agreed with”), but as director of national intelligence the decision was his.

Given the questioner’s experience in the State Department’s intelligence, he was painfully aware of how quickly a “full-up NIE” can be prepared. He knew all too well that the October 2002 NIE, “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction,” was ginned up in less than a month, when Cheney and Bush wanted to get Congress to vote for war on Iraq. (As head of imagery analysis, Clapper signed off on that meretricious estimate, even though he knew no WMD sites had been confirmed in Iraq.)

It’s in the Russians’ DNA

The criteria Clapper used to handpick his own assistants are not hard to divine. An Air Force general in the mold of Curtis LeMay, Clapper knows all about “the Russians.” And he does not like them, not one bit. During an interview with NBC on May 28, 2017, Clapper referred to “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.” And just before I questioned him at Carnegie, he muttered, “It’s in their DNA.”

Even those who may accept Clapper’s bizarre views about Russian genetics still lack credible proof that (as the ICA concludes “with high confidence”) Russia’s main military intelligence unit, the G.R.U., created a “persona” called Guccifer 2.0 to release the emails of the Democratic National Committee. When those disclosures received what was seen as insufficient attention, the G.R.U. “relayed material it acquired from the D.N.C. and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks,” the assessment said.

At Carnegie, Clapper cited “forensics.” But forensics from where? To his embarrassment, then-FBI Director James Comey, for reasons best known to him, chose not to do forensics on the “Russian hack” of the DNC computers, preferring to rely on a computer outfit of tawdry reputation hired by the DNC. Moreover, there is zero indication that the drafters of the ICA had any reliable forensics to work with.

In contrast, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, working with independent forensic investigators, examined metadata from a July 5, 2016 DNC intrusion that was alleged to be a “hack.” However, the metadata showed a transfer speed far exceeding the capacity of the Internet at the time. Actually, all the speed turned out to be precisely what a thumb drive could accommodate, indicating that what was involved was a copy onto an external storage device and not a hack — by Russia or anyone else.

WikiLeaks had obtained the DNC emails earlier. On June 12, 2016 Julian Assange announced he had “emails relating to Hillary Clinton.” NSA appears to lack any evidence that those emails — the embarrassing ones showing that the DNC cards were stacked against Bernie Sanders — were hacked.

Since NSA’s dragnet coverage scoops up everything on the Internet, NSA or its partners can, and do trace all hacks. In the absence of evidence that the DNC was hacked, all available factual evidence indicates that earlier in the spring of 2016, an external storage device like a thumb drive was used in copying the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks.

Additional investigation has proved Guccifer 2.0 to be an out-and-out fabrication — and a faulty basis for indictments.

A Gaping Gap

Clapper and the directors of the C.I.A., F.B.I., and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA on Jan. 5, 2017, the day before they briefed President-elect Trump. At Carnegie, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had serious doubts.  On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference, Obama saw fit to use lawyerly language to cover his own derriere, saying: “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.”

So we end up with “inconclusive conclusions” on that admittedly crucial point. In other words, U.S. intelligence does not know how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. In the absence of any evidence from NSA (or from its foreign partners) of an Internet hack of the DNC emails the claim that “the Russians gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks” rests on thin gruel. After all, these agencies collect everything that goes over the Internet.

Clapper answered: “I cannot explain what he [Obama] said or why. But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.”


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year C.I.A. career he supervised intelligence analysis as Chief of Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, as editor/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief, as a member of the Production Review Staff, and as chair of National Intelligence Estimates. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

(Clarification:  After a reader’s comment, this article was amended to show that the Times was quoting from the ICA and that the Shane article, which the author said was buried inside, was not the same as the paper’s front page story.)

92 comments for “The Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russiagate

  1. Noah Scape
    January 9, 2023 at 19:33

    Yes, that election interference is a terrible thing. Any nation espousing democracy would surely be outraged. In fact, it would not be too much to ask every democratic nation to join up with them to sanction, or at least criticize, the offending nation.

    And the winner of ‘the nation most offensive to democratic ideals’ is…..ah, you know. Did you peek? Yes, the USA of course. Not willing to simply promote one candidate over another, America stomps in with guns ablaze and installs “some guy” wherever the socially conscious candidate was chosen by voters.

  2. shmutzoid
    January 9, 2023 at 14:50

    As Russiagate unfolded it was obvious to anyone attuned to propaganda efforts of our National Security State that it was a campaign to fix in the American mind the s’posed threat Russia posed to the USA. You could say the campaign laid the groundwork for the public to be well disposed for eventual war with Russia. —— The OTHER objective of this campaign was to deflect attention from how Clinton ran a terrible campaign.
    —— Clinton was the favored candidate by the National Security Establishment – the US mighta’ instigated this war on Russia by 2017 or 2018 had she been elected in 2016.

  3. Peter Loeb
    January 9, 2023 at 13:42

    Russophobia (in many varieties) is imbedded deep in American history. Joyce and Gabriel Kolko have
    analyzed it in “The Limits of Power”. One can also include anti-foreigner sentiment in the Red Scare, in
    the “alien registration” acts, and perhaps in the Alien and Sedition Act.

  4. Chris N
    January 9, 2023 at 13:02

    Good work Ray – thanks again

  5. Anon
    January 9, 2023 at 12:08

    Absolutely Deplorable!
    No Doubt (regardless Svc Rec) YOU belong in the basket with the Rest of the COMMONS!

  6. Tony
    January 9, 2023 at 08:55

    It is easy to recall Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan and also that of Barack Obama in 2008. Their slogans were powerful and effective.

    But Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign slogan is one that I cannot recall at all. It just did not seem to have any real impact. No wonder she lost.

  7. Graeme
    January 8, 2023 at 23:57

    The Melbourne Age – a fairly insipid conservative corporate media outlet – was one of the newspapers that benefited both reputationally and financially from the initial Manning/WikiLeaks exposure of US war-crimes in Iraq.

    It was also one of the papers that printed questionable material about Assange that Nils Melzer has since proven to be manufactured with the specific intention of discrediting Julian and deflecting attention away from the crimes, and the complicity of succeeding POTUS’s that he Chelsea made public.

    The news outlets that initially benefited, then plunged in the daggers, and now recently called for Assange to be set free cannot write about him without continuing the vitriol – even in articles that call for his release.

    Matthew Knott, foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (read apologist), included the following dubious para in his article ‘The year Assange walks free? Why there are cautious hopes’ (January 7, 2023):

    “Since founding WikiLeaks, Assange has done some questionable – even despicable – things. Robert Mueller’s report into the 2016 US election found Assange fueled dangerous conspiracy theories by falsely suggesting that murdered Democratic Party employee Seth Rich, rather than Russian hackers, had leaked damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign to WikiLeaks. Brad Bauman, a former spokesman for the Rich family, said at the time the report showed Assange was a “monster, not a journalist”.

    Yet nowhere in Knott’s piece does he mention that no charges were laid and no-one held responsible the war-crimes, and heaven forbid, the ‘Collateral Murder’ video.
    Despicable is a word Knott refrains from applying to those who committed and tried to cover-up war-crimes in the Middle east.

    What could have been a reasonable article, for reasons not stated by the writer, has to include some kind of character assassination of the type that could land both the writer and his publisher in court if it were anyone else they were slandering.

    No-one expects Julian to be a saint, except the corporate press who repeatedly portray him as a monster, when in fact, it was the monsters he and Chelsea exposed.

    Melzer wrote:
    “It was not by accident that the world no longer discussed the war crimes revealed by Wikileaks, but only the person of Assange.” (The Trial Of Julian Assange, p. 286).

    With apologists like Knott writing, it would seem that the silence regarding any justice for the victims of those crimes will continue.


  8. LeoSun
    January 8, 2023 at 12:38

    “Never have so many been manipulated so much by so few.” Aldous Huxley

    Obviously, James F/Clapper, the C.I.A., the FBI., the NSA directors’ & Congress’ aim is to protect the guilty, NOT bring ‘em to justice.

    REPEAT the LINE: “IT’S the Kremlin’s hand at work.”

    “FACTS have proved, more than once, that the U.S. is the direct threat to the international order and the culprit of the regional turbulence.” Chinese Defense Ministry

    “The Call for Action” was sounded, months ago: “Abolish the FBI. Abolish the CIA. Abolish NATO;” SAVE Planet Earth; NOT Nuke It! “Everybody In. Nobody Out!?!?”

    Regardless of what happens on Earth, that roach motel, in the bowels of hell, is keeping the lights on, for the rotten, rabid, rat ba$tards, the Divided $tates of Corporate America’s Killers in High Places!! It’s f/deplorable that for f/years, the Killers, living free, in their f/gated communities. “Til death do us part,” this one’s for them:

    “Between life and death, where death waits patiently, He made everyone to dance to his tune; and obey his orders unrelently. ??Towards the end when finally life surrenders, death take two steps back to teach him a lesson.

    These shameless leaders still strive for power by forgetting life is nothing but borrowed hours from the death. Finally the curtain falls on their life’s show. They get recorded in history book as “Leaders-who failed.” (M. Asim Nehal, 8.29.15)

    “Some humans ain’t human.” John Prine

  9. Common Sense
    January 7, 2023 at 17:47

    … flushing them down the toilet.

    Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    And exactly whats urgently needed to save us from absolute madness.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    January 7, 2023 at 16:09

    The CIA and or their minions were caught up in “Quite the fix”, it seems they still are.

    Ray McGovern is a national treasure and I for one am damned glad he is one of the good guys.

    Thank you Ray for you vigilance.

    Thanks CN & crew

  11. IJ Scambling
    January 7, 2023 at 11:30

    A comment below from three years ago claims that in his confrontation with Clapper Ray was a “weak cup of tea” and insinuates that Ray “screwed up.” In my view this gratuitous insult shows more about the commenter than Ray’s effort, which was bold and courageous.

    Example (found in the article) Ray says:

    “. . . you have a duty, you have a duty to confess . . .”

    “Confess to what?”

    “Confess to the fact that you’ve been distorting the evidence.”

    “I don’t confess to that.”

    “The Intelligence Community Assessment was without evidence.”

    “I do not confess to that. I simply do not agree with your conclusions.”

    At this point Ray was cut off from asking questions.

    Perhaps the commenter expected Ray to take off his shoe and bang it on the rostrum while shouting “Liar!” at this point?

    • LeoSun
      January 8, 2023 at 13:56

      Awh, indeed! I 100% agree, Mr. McGovern f/rocked it!!! “It’s easy to stand in a crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.”

      Not for nothin; but, “The Room” shoulda, coulda raised the f/roof by standing up in agreement. Imagine, “LIAR” bouncing off the walls & “shoes” flying, @ the $peaker. No doubt, Clapper woulda NOT have been the only one piss’n his pants. Nevertheless, “We, the People,” wholeheartedly, revere Ray McGovern for “Raising HIS Voice!” Blessed are The PeaceMakers. “Keep it Lit.”

  12. JWalters
    January 13, 2019 at 00:21

    Thanks for this clear, thorough, well-ordered account of the Russia-gate false flag from the Deep State. This article is highly suitable for linking to mainstream media comment boards.

  13. Boris Klinar-HagenCopen
    January 11, 2019 at 09:56

    A lot of –fear– or -hate- toward Russians..very evident..!In the name of -what-!??

  14. Will
    January 11, 2019 at 08:27

    “However, the metadata showed a transfer speed far exceeding the capacity of the Internet at the time.” Interesting statement in light of the fact that McGovern and his CIA friends used to say that it merely seemed unlikely the data transfer could have been done that quickly via the internet, but have now decided that it was impossible. No matter; I wouldn’t trust Clapper and the rest any farther than I could throw them either. none the less these CN articles continue to ignore the things that are in fact true about the current struggles between the factions that currently via for world domination and the likely poor outcomes for the little people in the USA whether sh*t heads like the useful idiot trump and his friend Putin dominate or the Neocons do.

    • Skip Scott
      January 12, 2019 at 07:41

      Here’s a very informative Bill Binney interview that discusses the transfer speed, metadata, guccifer 2.0, and other interesting topics. I suggest you watch it, and I challenge you to refute any of it.

      As for outcomes for factions vying for world domination, it is basically the PNAC globalists’ vision of empire vs. a nation based multi-polar world. I’m pretty sure the poorer outcome for the “little people” would result from a PNAC empire. If you think otherwise, please build an argument.

  15. CitizenOne
    January 10, 2019 at 21:10

    When will all this Russia Collusion media hype end? I fear never. There are so many real stories the media could be reporting about but instead they continue to insist on foisting BS about Russiagate. Let’s look at a common theme for today by Today in the USA across about a dozen or so single file tight rope walking synchronized talking bobble head media outlets. This regurgitation variation from USA Today:

    WASHINGTON – Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress think tank and its Moscow Project.

    CAP, a liberal think tank, used publicly available court documents and reporting to tally up the number of contacts with Russian-linked officials, which includes those with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others tied to Russian intelligence, banks and politicians.

    The organizations counted each meeting and message as a separate contact.

    The number of contacts was raised to 101 this week, according to CAP, after it was reported that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide, shared polling data with Manafort’s former Russian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

    Contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russians are under scrutiny in special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Moscow’s interference in the presidential election.”

    But wait a minute. Aren’t we looking for Trump’s collusion to throw the election with the assistance of the Russians? Not here.

    Per the think tanks own admission they view every “message” as a “contact” so if you thought the term “contact” elicited secret meetings with underground Russian spies between the President it might be as little as 100 text messages between people that some “detectives” at a “think tank” creating “connections” with pins and strings on a list of names written on the wall can connect in a convincing way (to themselves)

    This type of journalism should be filtered out from publicly distributed information by responsible editors because it is pure factless conjecture. There is literally nothing here other than the basic definition of “contact” which could literally be just text messages of which they have 100 of them between people who are “connected” to “Russian Linked Officials” in an undefined way.

    We have all officially lost our minds if we think for one moment that Manafort sharing polling information with someone is a crime. If it is a crime then the society we live in should be on trial for making publicly available information illegal.

    Look, the level of stupidity in the allegations is absurd. Am I really supposed to get upset and impeach a president because his campaign manager shared polling data with Russia or China or Uruguay or Ethiopia or Israel? Fairly sure they shared it with all of the above. It’s kind of like sharing the weather report. Is that illegal too?

    • Skip Scott
      January 11, 2019 at 07:56

      Most people don’t think that deeply to see that there is no there there. Of course a transition team is going to have contacts with foreign governments, especially important nuclear powers like Russia. Did they count how many contacts Trump’s team had with Israel?

  16. Tom Welsh
    January 10, 2019 at 11:29

    “…the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which was not endorsed by the whole community)…”

    Isn’t that the understatement of the century? From what I have heard it was written by a handful of (presumably venal) individuals hand-picked by Mr Clapper and his team – and selected from three (was it?) of the 17 or so intelligence agencies.

    • Tom Welsh
      January 10, 2019 at 11:33

      A thousand apologies – I really must stop posting comments before I have read the whole article. Of course, Mr McGovern goes on to make exactly those points (among others) with far more detail and authority.

      • Mild -ly Facetious
        January 10, 2019 at 12:00

        “It’s the Questions… ”

        RAY MCGOVERN was a hell of a spy. For 30 years he was a top-level CIA operative who prepared the President’s daily briefings and chaired the National Intelligence Estimates. So when he retired in 1990, the CIA gave him a prestigious medal for “especially commendable service” to the agency. But outraged at the CIA’s flagrant and illegal use of torture, he returned that medal in 2006 to become an antiwar activist, vigorously exposing agency abuses and speaking out on behalf of people like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Now he is the CIA’s worst nightmare, and was put on the State Department’s BOLO list (Be On the Look Out), barely a heartbeat away from a jail cell. And, in fact, he was thrown in jail, after being handcuffed and brutally beaten by police for simply standing up and turning his back during a speech by Hillary Clinton.

        Because Ray is such a powerful and persuasive speaker against the vast unchecked power of the CIA and NSA, and how they secretly shape U.S. domestic and foreign policy, he never stops listening for that ominous knock on the door that might mean he will be eating his future meals behind bars.

        With Donald Trump about to enter the White House, that knock on the door seems more likely than ever. Ray will talk with Randy about the dark days ahead, and why Presidents from Clinton to Bush to Obama – and now Trump – are afraid of the CIA and NSA and will not act against them even when they break the law. Otherwise, as Ray has asked, “How else to explain why the National Intelligence Director, who on March 12, 2013, lied under oath to the Senate, was not fired as Director of National Intelligence?” [Note: under Section 1621 of Title 18 it is a federal crime to lie to Congress while under oath; and under Section 1001 it is a federal crime to lie to Congress while not under oath. The penalty is a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to five years in jail.

        >it’s the questions… Right?

        more questions to come
        … and answers?

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      January 10, 2019 at 12:49

      Who or Whom is venal as pertinent to the Patriot Act
      (do you remember the scenario.. ?)

      They (the “Deep State”) / which concocted the scheme
      They (the “Congressmen”) threatened by Anthrax Death? ? ? ? ?

      Which “forced” them into the approval of the Surveillance State
      The Political State of Dark Money Reauthorization of Rules

      — COMPARE AND CONTRAST – this 10 year separation ? of values ?


      [ — more-to-come — ]

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      January 10, 2019 at 14:43

      Ray McGovern; in reference to my comments below / including those that did not appear …

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      January 10, 2019 at 19:46

      FBI and CIA have been, since conception, a creative force of disruption, deception, dogmatic distortion and despotic corruption.
      Having stated that, what Trump is being allowed to do to This Nation and the world can only be characterized as an allowed DISSOLUTION of all Precepts of American Gov’t and Governance… !

      You ignore completely the fact/facts surrounding Trump’s mockery of decorum, and official rules of order—- not to mention his lies, double talk and simpleton stump speeches. — I’d say more but the incredulity of his remarks is beyond acceptable,to say the least. …

    • Mild -ly Facetious
      January 10, 2019 at 20:15

      Why is Trump erasing US sanctions against Russia — VOICE OF AMERICA would like to know.

      Are we, likewise removing our tanks and missiles from Russia’s western border… ?

      jus say’n

  17. Tom Welsh
    January 10, 2019 at 11:25

    “The CIA-friendly New York Times two years ago led the media quacking in a campaign that wobbled like a duck, canard in French”.

    As a professional writer and editor, I am struck with envy by that elegant sentence.

  18. Ann Garrison
    January 9, 2019 at 14:12

    I guess it has been only 2 years, but it’s so relentlessly tedious that it feels a lot longer.

  19. January 9, 2019 at 12:33

    You are not getting enough coverage. This is incredible stuff. Thank you.

  20. January 9, 2019 at 10:07

    Thank you Ray, For your sharp microscopic view with an experienced intelligence eye, of the Russian Hack Caper of 2016. It is such a pity the MSM still play the anti-Russian narrative on such slim “evidence”, if opinions can be called evidence. But they have to keep their jobs and damn the torpedoes even if the American nation is dragged into a major nuclear confrontation. It makes me wonder, how will we ever save ourselves from slipping into the fiery black hole? Will the truth set us free? [Right now, it’s all we got!]

  21. CitizenOne
    January 8, 2019 at 22:20

    Great analysis Ray,

    The truth is important and lies are to be exposed even when they are uncomfortable. Unfortunately that is not the Universe we live in.

    The “Intelligence” community has become the chief creator of false narratives designed to steer everyone off the trail of the real reasons things happen and to use convenient alternate fictional narratives injected at a high level into our national consciousness with the formality, respect and acceptance of top level government agencies and government officials issuing officially sanctioned and peer reviewed reports about “secret” information which reveals the “truth” which is really a lie.

    I have followed this stupid story about Russian interference since it was announced shortly after the election and the one thing that is so striking is just how much people believe it.

    Imagine all the fake news creators amazement when they discover the disturbing reality that almost all of the people except a few can be fooled so easily by a lie even one that strains credulity. I can say that if Putin called people in America on Christmas Eve and introduced himself with his Russian accent as Santa Claus people would believe it. They would hand over their social security numbers, bank account, credit card, hoping Santa would bring them the lottery.

    I used to think this problem was the governments fault but really it is the fault of stupid people who believe nonsense. Both you and I would probably do the same thing if we were in the manipulators shoes. It’s just too easy.

    But since I am not one of those in a position of power or someone bent on fooling everyone for profit, I choose to excoriate the bastards who shamelessly broadcast their BS to the public to serve their own agenda truth be damned.

    In the worst case scenarios I believe this false flag foreign devil, war hawk BS is the stuff that should be in the history books as cautionary tales of what can go wrong when the politics of the military industrial complex, and politicians get together and figure a plan to wage permawar or forever-war across the planet.

    The media political industrial complex had a problem they did not want to explain which was the many reasons for the last election including their own money motives for promoting Trump. So they just blamed Russia, buried the real reasons for the election and secured funding for our exorbitant military budget all in one swoop. Cha Ching.

    Too easy.

    • January 9, 2019 at 10:11

      Not too bad an analysis yourself there, Citizen.

  22. CitizenOne
    January 8, 2019 at 21:26

    Another take on Russiagate given Trump was a complete wildcard is the “We’ll get our military funding with or without Hillary” motive. With Trump initially (before he was trained) coming down hard on military excesses like any sane person would do, the military industrial complex needed a story to justify their budgets and their annual increases. There was no more compelling story they could concoct than a story about how our old arch nemesis Russia and before that the Soviet Union would be a believable culprit that would serve the purpose of the military in order to secure their right to continue their military expansion.

    I have to give Trump credit for trying to reign in military spending and his decisions such as the Syria withdrawal plans which were twice met with sudden chemical gas attacks which drew the US back into the conflict. It must be recognized that Assad had no motives for these attacks and the accusations and instant blame on the Assad regime which have been debunked on this website. The only entities stood to benefit from these attacks were the US military, ISIS and Israel all of which should be on a short list of suspects since each would benefit from drawing the US back into that conflict.

    But as we saw, the media military industrial complex never attempted to find the perpetrators but instantly affixed blame on Syria. I liked the article which correctly identified the rush to judgement saying the Assad government was identified as the perpetrators while investigators were still en route to Syria.

    Now we have John Bolton making statements that any gas attacks will elicit immediate severe retaliation on Assad as the US plans a pull out. Just one step away from the permawar we seek.

  23. January 8, 2019 at 21:00

    re mike k: american ignorance is a product of our political economic system and those of us who think we are of higher intellect or more knowledge need to understand that we, and they, are led-ruled by the same people and are subject to the same threats, both from environmental breakdowns or retaliating humans whether they are called terrorists or simply nationals defending themselves from policies we more knowing folks have been helpless – so far – in changing… on that note and specifically concerning “our” hostility to russia, please remember – if we ever knew? – that we invaded that nation at the time of the russian revolution, have always opposed and sanctioned and embargoed it while engaging in proxy wars with it because of its evil commie plot to arrange things that might allow people to eat even if they had no money and now that it’s no longer soviet commie but russian capitalist the madness of our rulers still rules and will until and unless we stop looking for individual villains and start dealing with the system of private profit before any possible public good that is responsible.. and thanks ray mcgovern, even if you screwed up as a previous comment stated and as many writers and scholars do when having to verbalize in public.

    • Joe Wallace
      January 15, 2019 at 16:14

      frank scott:

      “and thanks ray mcgovern, even if you screwed up as a previous comment stated and as many writers and scholars do when having to verbalize in public.”

      I missed that. How is it that McGovern “screwed up as a previous comment stated?” Thanks.

  24. mrtmbrnmn
    January 8, 2019 at 19:41

    Keep up the good fight Ray McGovern. All of Clapper’s claptrap is of a piece with the dirty Operation Crossfire Hurricane ( intended to create the trail of deviously cooked up PutinDidIt “intelligence” bread crumbs scattered thru gullible neophyte dupes and dopes in the Trump campaign to ultimately justify that long neocon wet dream of Russian regime change at the top of the to-do list in the inevitable Hillary administration. The Queen Of You Owe Me ignominiously lost, but the deep state was not going to let a good pack of lies go to waste and the claptrap morphed into the current regime change Trump operation. And of course the CIA could vouch for their findings with “high confidence” because they made it up in the first place.

  25. DH Fabian
    January 8, 2019 at 19:10

    Liberal media had gone “all out” to try to sell Hillary Clinton as a “bold progressive” — in spite of her years of work on behalf of the right wing agenda. Shortly after the election, the Clinton team weirdly shouted “Russia stole the election!” Most of us just rolled our eyes. Much of the media, however, grabbed hold of the allegation, and ran with it, working month by month to build a tale to support that claim — “for Hillary’s sake.” Over the past two years, one wave of anti-Russian allegations is released, eventually recedes by the force of the facts, only to return anew. It grew increasingly evident that liberals/media have served as the “useful idiots” to build support for a nuclear war. Where do things go from here?

  26. Peter Dyer
    January 8, 2019 at 18:49

    Excellent work, Ray. Thank you.

  27. January 8, 2019 at 18:28

    Craig Murray states he knows definitively with 100% certainty whence these Podesta emails came in two interviews, with Randy Credico and Scott Horton, which you can find here:


  28. January 8, 2019 at 18:22

    Craig Murray says he knows exactly how the emails got from the DNC to WikiLeaks because he’s the one who delivered them to Assange.

    He says so right here in this audio with Scott Horton and again with Randy Credico, “I can tell you with 100% certainty it was not any Russian state actor or proxy who gave the Podesta material to WikiLeaks, because I know where it comes from.”

    • O Society
      January 9, 2019 at 15:52

      This comment should be deleted by the admin. It contains a typo. The next comment is more clear. Both link to the same essay.

  29. hetro
    January 8, 2019 at 17:02

    A key point in Ray’s commentary is the caution on the January 6 assessments of two years ago, that has largely been forgotten:

    “Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents. … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

    Another matter forgotten is that Clapper’s assessment was “moderate” versus the “high” in both Comey’s and Brennan’s views.

    With Comey the FBI had done no investigation, relying entirely on Crowdstrike, the DNC (and Hillary) intel outfit.

    Hence to the credibility question re “logic, argumentation, precedents” let alone what we now know as the Steele pee tape dossier constructed by the same intel outfit and financed by Hillary Clinton.

    The “assessments” of Jan 6, 2017, were eagerly awaited after a month in which accusations of Russian interference were bruited about freely in the establishment media. Meanwhile, and to this day, Hillary Clinton’s role in a corrupted DNC, which flung aside Sanders, let alone questions about The Clinton Foundation, have received little attention.

    Given the results so far public in the Mueller Investigation, which has shifted the core of the enquiry to business and financial irregularities, there is nothing to vindicate the ongoing clamoring “the Russians did it” over the past two years, which is now taken for granted as though it were fact (apparently from the continuing mind-numbing repetition), with reporting in mainstream media not bothering to place the qualifier “alleged” with “Russian interference.”

    By now we have plenty of indication that the Clapper righteousness reported here by Ray is right in line with one of his more famous principles, stated some time ago as his dedication to offering up “the least untruthful truth.”

    Apparently this statement was made as an explanation of why he just had to lie at times but in all decency attempted to say as much of the truth as he possibly could under the circumstances.

    But a man who thinks Russians or any humans in general have deceit and skullduggery in their DNA is perhaps mistaking a perception more applicable to himself.

    What we are thus left with in these “assessments” of two years ago is a man who feels his job somehow enables him to lie as long as a decent portion of truth is included, another who did no actual research with his organization, and a third who typically raves and rants as with calling Trump a “traitor” for his remark to Putin last summer that the intelligence in this case might be flawed.

    Indeed, the American Public is continually misled in ways Orwell forecast.

    • Anne Jaclard
      January 8, 2019 at 22:46

      Additionally, over the past two years, James Comey and John Brennan have revealed themselves to be partisans and anti-Trump ideologies with an obvious agenda that cannot be denied. Both of them endorsed Democratic candidates in 2018 and have attacked Trump as a “mob boss” and a “puppet” respectively. I have no love or trust for war criminal and ecocidal child-cager Trump but it’s blatantly obvious that these people aren’t unbiased sources.

  30. Jeff Harrison
    January 8, 2019 at 16:20

    Thank you, Ray. I appreciate your pointing out (again) the holes in the Deep State’s meme. It can’t be done often enough.

  31. Spencer
    January 8, 2019 at 15:40

    If it looks like a Canard–and sounds like a Canard —it must come from the USGOVT.

  32. chuck nasmith
    January 8, 2019 at 15:11


  33. Al Pinto
    January 8, 2019 at 14:36

    “opaque and graceless”, you don’t say… :)

  34. Al Pinto
    January 8, 2019 at 14:35

    Clapper answered: “I cannot explain what he [Obama] said or why. But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.”

    That’s not entirely false statement… Knowing how WikiLeaks got the emails is one thing, disclosing that information is another. Maybe it was Obama, who asked for not identifying/modifying the method for leaking the emails. Just another plausible deniability, that the Capital is known for…

  35. C. Kent
    January 8, 2019 at 13:57

    This is an important truth telling article, it’s therefore it’s a pity Ray McGovern is a rather weak cup of tea confronting Clapper at Carnegie. The choir will disagree out of appreciation for the effort, but it is not the choir that needs convincing Clapper is lying.

    One fine chance to crucify Clapper in front of cameras and generate endless public condemnation via Youtube, and instead of F. Lee Bailey we send in Mr Rogers to question Hannibal Lecter. Certainly McGovern deserves kudos for the foundational work, a medal even. But what was needed in the Carnegie video opportunity was a prosecutor with the rhetorical precision of Christopher Hitchens (rip) and plain spoken expression of George Galloway, ready to present questions that win the day regardless of the answers. McGovern had a free swing with a very heavy bat and demonstrated he could hardly hold it at shoulder height to say nothing of fracturing a skull. I would hope that he recognizes this and is working on developing proteges as designated verbal hitters.

    This is a lesson that it’s not a requirement that the genius behind the research paper also do the presentation. Clapper sidesteps the softly peddled accusations like a small puddle at the door of his limo, his self-comfort in the exchange revealed in his dismissive facial expression, a reveal he disallowed himself during Congressional hearings.

    The end result is, McGovern is shut down & effectively made mock of by analogy to Jim Acosta. Were this a trial and Clapper the defendant, the jury might have missed the object of the prosecutor, distracted by the vile careerists enjoying a laugh at his expense. This was predictable. It should have never happened, because there are rhetorical tricks of the trade that would have boxed-in Clapper, disallowed him any verbal parry of any value, and made his denials either confirmations or admissions take you pick Sir. More’s the pity.

    • Anne Jaclard
      January 8, 2019 at 22:49

      Oh, Galloway would be great on this. These people have no credibility at all and make a living plotting mass murder of Arabs and doctoring propaganda blitzes against the occupy, ecology, and socialist movements

      • C. Kent
        January 10, 2019 at 11:59

        Yes, Galloway would not have been dismissed with a derisive joke, rather Clapper may have had to ask for oxygen. Armed with the truth, given a chance, small rhetorical battles can and should be won handily.

        As you can read here in comments, few or no readers appreciated that this was a failed questioning of Clapper by McGovern. They constitute the choir I refer to, it is a serious and ongoing hindrance to the progressive agenda that my liberal fellows rarely have the stomach to review and criticize their own body of work. This is how we get Pelosi as Speaker etc.

    • January 9, 2019 at 02:12

      Rather mean-spirited, C. Kent. I fail to see how Ray could have done more, what he might have said better, or how he could have avoided being shut down.

      • C. Kent
        January 10, 2019 at 11:29

        I covered what you fail to see in my post. I referred to McGovern as both deserving of a medal, and a genius. You may react that any review of the events not a straight pander is mean, I’d bet you McGovern agrees with me.

    • January 9, 2019 at 14:25

      C. Kent,

      Petty, at best.

      • C. Kent
        January 10, 2019 at 11:21

        Replying to your unlearned post would be petty.

  36. Antiwar7
    January 8, 2019 at 13:35

    An awesome performance as usual, Ray!

  37. Lolita
    January 8, 2019 at 12:32

    “Clapper and the directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA on Jan. 5, 2007, the day before they briefed President-elect Trump. At Carnegie, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had serious doubts. On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference, Obama saw fit to…”

    Must be Jan.5, 2017 not 2007.

  38. David G
    January 8, 2019 at 11:33
  39. mike k
    January 8, 2019 at 11:18

    Lying is he common currency in the US government at every level. The truth is treated as a dangerous enemy. Your belief that you live in a democracy based on just laws is a dangerous illusion, that your Rulers do everything they can to perpetuate.

    In order to think outside the box, you need the courage to step out of it. Please realize that the box you are in is your own propagandized mind.

    • Miss Margaret
      January 9, 2019 at 11:22

      Hi, Mike, US here.
      People from elsewhere often get the idea we’re all ‘on board’ with our govt’s actions, here & abroad, because we are busy watching baseball and drinking beer, or feel “exceptional”, or, are stupid.
      We have a representative Republic, not a ‘democracy’, per se, FYI.
      We’ve known for a long time- SNAFU! Since JFK, 9/11 and Iraq, and many! other abuses by our ‘Rulers’, PLENTY of us know what’s up and there are MILLIONS of us who are exposing the truth (here, the good guys get destroyed quickly by all manner of attack, investigations, libel/slander, propaganda, etc, but pop up again as soon as able). We’re in the belly of the beast, so it’s even harder for us to effect change. We went so far as electing a TV reality star (of the two the Establishment gave us to vote for) to keep the Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton (or Jeb!-Bush) cabal from getting in again, and look what happened to him; Russiagate.
      One step forward, two steps back, but they are a pernicious bunch (with the gall to call themselves ‘the elites’, can you imagine, in a country where all are created equal, some rule over others? Oh, wait, that’s everywhere, the British are famous for it, as are others, so…)
      We are working on it here (we are passionate about our Bill of Rights & Constitution making us the govt.) but being trapped in the 5 Eyes + Israel, SA, etc “West” and all their controls makes us look like we’re going along with them- Syria, endless war, CIA ops, I’m not even going to list everything-we know it’s all b.s. and the narratives are all propaganda. Keep sharing articles like this, we are here, too, as allies, and, just so you know, the people of the U.S. are revolutionaries at heart, we may not wear yellow vests, but we’ll put on blue coats and take it back, it’s in our blood to be a govt of, by & for the people (and a good neighbor to the world’s sovereign nations). Wish us well.

      • Tom Welsh
        January 10, 2019 at 11:45

        “We have a representative Republic, not a ‘democracy’…”

        I think we are aware that that is what it is called. But who is represented? Not the citizens or their interests.

  40. Zim
    January 8, 2019 at 11:10

    Thanks for the great article Ray. RIP Seth Rich

    • mike k
      January 8, 2019 at 11:22

      Seth will not rest in peace until the CIA thug who killed him is brought to justice, along with his CIA controllers.

      Citizen alert: Your US government is full of ruthless murderers!

  41. Hank
    January 8, 2019 at 10:46

    If Trump was anything close to what he portends to be, he would hire Ray McGovern as CIA Director in a heart beat! When USA citizens go to the polls, nothing really changes as long as the Deep State remains entrenched. Election collusion? How about elections LYING to the American people. Most if not ALL employers would fire any employee who abused their working relationships and duties by lying to customers. Here we have jobs that involve BILLIONS of dollars and where that money goes and we let these liars get away with lying? Where are the laws of accountability, because if we don’t have those we don’t really have a nation!

    • mike k
      January 8, 2019 at 11:27

      The reason guys like Ray are not given that job, is that they might actually drain the DC Swamp! And if that were to happen, then the whole rotten gang of many thousands of crooked scum might be flushed down the toilet.

  42. Tom
    January 8, 2019 at 10:38

    Wonder why the NYTimes does not print this on their frontpage along with the rest of the MSN media?

    Thanks Ray, your Fan, Tom

  43. Mild - ly Facetious
    January 8, 2019 at 09:24

    “The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.”

    Russia forced to consider tackling threat posed by NATO anti-missile shield
    May 13, 2016

    Russia is being forced to look for ways to neutralize threats to its national security due to deployment of the NATO (US MILITARY) anti-missile shield in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the alliance launched a missile defense site in Romania.

    The US missile shield in Europe is a clear violation of Russian-American arms treaties, Putin said at a meeting with Russian military officials, adding that the anti-missile facilities can be easily repurposed for firing short and midrange missiles.

    The US anti-missile shield in Europe is yet another step in increasing international tensions and launching a new arms race, he stressed.

    However, Putin assured that Moscow has no intension of being dragged into an arms race. The country will be working “carefully” in accordance with existing plans, he added.

    “Recent developments indicate that the situation isn’t getting better. Unfortunately, it’s deteriorating. I’m talking about the launch of the radar station in Romania as one of the elements of the up-and-coming US anti-missile defense program,” Putin said.

    Russia is making every effort to maintain the strategic balance of power, in order to avoid the outbreak of large-scale conflicts, the president said.

    NATO formally declared its missile defense base in Deveselu, Romania, operational on Thursday, bringing to fruition a plan to construct a shield in Eastern Europe first announced by George W. Bush in 2007.

    Earlier, Moscow said that not only was the US missile defense aimed at neutralizing Russia’s offensive capability – an accusation the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected – but that the Deveselu’s MK 41 launching systems it uses could be re-equipped with offensive cruise missiles.

    Russia also stated that US actions are a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and warned that it may pull out from the deal if Washington continues with its anti-missile plans.

    The missile shield uses a network of radars that track potential threats in the atmosphere, before launching an interceptor missile from a stationary base, or a fleet.

    Simultaneously with Romania coming online, NATO is beginning construction on another base in Poland, which will complete the Eastern European segment of the shield in 2018.

  44. Bill
    January 8, 2019 at 08:32

    Now Clapper and Brennan are working for CNN and MSNBC, and they’re pushing the same set of lies. Are they ever going to pay a price for what they did?

    • mike k
      January 8, 2019 at 11:30

      Maybe they will get their just deserts in Hell, but in the USA there is no valid judicial system to call them to account.

    • C. Kent
      January 8, 2019 at 13:03

      Sorry to say Bill but you can find throughout history continuous like instances of misdirection by powerful government intelligence operators that never come to light, never mind never to justice. So you could get over the dismay and move on to anger. Just off the top of my head I just happened into an interesting factoid where I learned that in the mid 30s the Royal Navy had a plan in place to destabilize the German economy via currency manipulation. Men are very creative creatures and when authorized by a paycheck they can invent and execute endless crimes.

  45. AnneR
    January 8, 2019 at 08:19

    Thank you very much Mr McGovern – as always your reports on this whole charade are informative and to the point: there is no there there. And that doesn’t even approach the hypocrisy of the US (and UK/NATO) with regard to interference in elections. Only those of western, paleskin nations are sacrosanct, it would seem.

    Regarding Clapper’s visceral (and idiotic) hatred of Russians (in toto?) – he would seem not to be alone in attributing “their evil ways” to their innateness. I am acquainted with a highly educated woman, an American born in Ukraine (probably the western half), who has written that she believes what the MSM and DNC say about Russians because she completely subscribes to the belief that they, the Russians, are (by their nature) evil.

  46. F. G. Sanford
    January 8, 2019 at 07:59

    Hey, we’re still on the tail end of the Holiday Season, so why not sing along to those rousing strains of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”!!!

    One, two, three, four
    They say Trump got elected by the Russians
    With a plan that Putin would conceive
    You may think the spooks are lyin’
    But Hillary and Clapper still believe

    Some say DNC insiders
    Had a moral axe to grind
    They downloaded to a thumb drive
    But others blame a Kremlin mastermind

    Seth Rich was found alive but nearly dyin’
    They didn’t steal his stuff in that attack
    He still had cash inside his wallet
    Too bad about those bullets in his back

    Clapper swears it must have been the Russians
    He claims their genes are programmed to deceive
    Craig Murray says he knows who leaked the emails
    But Hillary and Clapper still believe

    Now they’re all so proud of Comey
    His loyalty is higher than it looks
    He covered up that Clinton server
    Now Jim and Hillary are sellin’ books

    It’s not good intel without Brennan
    He ignored the Awan hack
    Since the press did not report it,
    We didn’t know he was a Clinton flack

    Fusion GPS cooked up a story
    They bought what Steele had up his sleeve
    The dossier would prove collusion
    A tale the FISA judges would believe

    Clinton’s goose got cooked by voters
    Those deplorables had won
    She had no choice but blame the Russians
    And claim that Wikileaks had wrecked her run

    So she warned all of the pundits
    Told The Times and Maddow too
    Brennan Comey Schiff and Clapper
    All would swear the dossier was true

    Clinton lost but not because of Russians
    That’s a story that the pundits weave
    The experts looked at all the metadata
    And it proves the story’s make-believe

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 8, 2019 at 10:06

      As always, thanks F.G. Sanford. I personally deeply appreciate your continuing referral to Seth Rich, a real-time Patriot, murdered.

      There is a truly breakthrough article in Off Guardian this morning describing how this all works, I’ll link it below.

    • mike k
      January 8, 2019 at 11:34

      Excellent poem! You’ve got it all down chapter and verse….

    • Reilly G
      January 8, 2019 at 18:49

      Bravo sir

    • January 8, 2019 at 22:11

      Once again THANKS, F. G. Sanford …

      poet laureate at Consortium News.

      One of the things I learned from Dan Berrigan and other Justice campaigners is that one cannot last long without a light touch from time to time. I’m grateful.


  47. Sally Snyder
    January 8, 2019 at 07:42

    As shown in this article, recent moves by the United States Senate have the potential to create a hot war with Russia:

    While Donald Trump entered office thinking that he could be friendly with Russia, Congress has made that goal impossible to attain.

  48. Joe Tedesky
    January 8, 2019 at 07:11

    Ray thank you for your service to holding the Establishments feet to the fire.

  49. Anne Jaclard
    January 8, 2019 at 03:07

    Nor has it ever been proven that Abby Martin’s show on anti-fracking protests, Occupy Wall Street, and corporate greed swayed the election to Donald Trump, as the report alleges. That report is not just a canard, but a farce.

    • Stephen P
      January 8, 2019 at 13:20

      Speaking of Abby Martin, here is an interview with Mark Ames from two years ago on the history of what went on in the nineties in Russia. My apologies if I posted this before.

      • Bob Van Noy
        January 9, 2019 at 07:41

        Excellent video Stephen P. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate what America did to Russia in the 80’s and nineties. For those who doubt, the book “Manifest Destiny” by F. William Engdahl explains it step by step.

      • Skip Scott
        January 10, 2019 at 14:29

        Great link. Thanks.

    • Danny
      January 10, 2019 at 21:44

      surprised Susan Sarandon hasn’t yet been indicted, she’s the favorite target of the donuts

  50. Charles Seifried
    January 8, 2019 at 02:52

    The truth will set you free! Keep it up Ray, you are a credit to your profession. I just wish that more people in the country would read. This article should be in every newspaper in the US.

    • mike k
      January 8, 2019 at 11:36

      The ignorance of the American people insures their victimhood.

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