CIA: Now They Tell Us

The Washington Post‘s “Russia” story is getting real traction, in spite of the fact that we sorta kinda knew this for a long time, as far as I’m concerned.

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

Let us be clear that nobody officially is saying that Donald Trump is not the legitimate winner of the Electoral College vote. Hillary Clinton might have lost, anyway, for a whole lot of other reasons. And, again, most of this isn’t new. It was kind of obvious.

Some elements of this story were new, however. And the picture that emerges is dirty as hell.

One is that some time back Russian hackers broke into both the RNC and DNC networks. That the DNC and other Democratic networks had been hacked was public knowledge. But the Republicans have denied all along that their networks had been hacked, which was a lie.

The CIA now confirms that Wikileaks received materials from hackers working for the Russian government and released those materials. The Russian hackers apparently passed only material stolen from Democrats on to Wikileaks, however, which is why the CIA concluded Russia wanted Trump to win.

Further, the CIA presented this assessment to key members of Congress back in September. Democrats wanted the information to be made public; Republicans wanted to quash it. And the chief Republican who blocked release of this information before the election was Mitch McConnell.

You might remember that Donald Trump nominated McConnell’s wife to be Secretary of Transportation.  Stinks, much?

One of the individuals who knew about this intelligence was our old buddy FBI Director James Comey. You might remember that the FBI released a statement a week before the election saying there was no clear link between Trump and Russia, and that the Russian hacking was not part of an attempt by Russia to mess with the election. But Comey was fully aware of the CIA assessment that said otherwise.

Today outgoing Senator Harry Reid called for Comey to resign.

“I am so disappointed in Comey. He has let the country down for partisan purposes. That’s why I call him J. Edgar Hoover. Because I believe that,” Reid told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Saturday.

Later asked if Comey should resign as FBI director, Reid replied, “of course.” Reid also said that Comey should be investigated by the U.S. Senate and other security agencies of the government.

Some senators — including Republican senators McCain and Graham, to give credit where credit is due — are calling for an all-out Senate probe into this situation. And President Obama has asked the intelligence agencies to give him a full report before he leaves office.

Typically, the yam-elect threw a tantrum.

Mr. Trump, in a statement issued by his transition team on Friday evening, expressed complete disbelief in the intelligence agencies’ assessments.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Trump’s team said, adding that the election was over and that it was time to “move on.”

Though Mr. Trump has wasted no time in antagonizing the agencies, he will have to rely on them for the sort of espionage activities and analysis that they spend more than $70 billion a year to perform.

At this point in a transition, a president-elect is usually delving into intelligence he has never before seen and learning about C.I.A. and National Security Agency abilities. But Mr. Trump, who has taken intelligence briefings only sporadically, is questioning not only analytic conclusions, but also their underlying facts.

“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions — wow,” said Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the C.I.A. under President George W. Bush.

Further, the current frontrunner for the Secretary of State job — a bleeping Exxon CEO with no public sector experience whatsoeverhas extensive ties to Russia.

Tillerson received the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013. Tillerson’s work with ExxonMobil included a stretch working for Exxon Neftegas Ltd., putting him in charge of the subsidiary’s fields in Russia and the Caspian Sea.

Two years before receiving the award, ExxonMobil won a contract to explore for oil in a Russia-controlled portion of the Arctic Ocean, which was made more economically viable for drilling in part thanks to the sea ice decline that’s followed global warming. Putin himself announced the deal at a meeting in Sochi (where the Winter Olympics would be held the next year).

Tillerson’s stake in ExxonMobil will certainly raise questions at a confirmation hearing. Once Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States instituted sanctions against Russia that froze ExxonMobil’s Arctic agreement. Were those sanctions to be lifted, the deal would probably move forward — making Tillerson’s shares of ExxonMobil stock much more valuable. (The Wall Street Journal noted that he’d probably have to divest from that stock if appointed to run the State Department.)

Bob Cesca wrote last July that the Russian hacking was a bigger scandal than Watergate; I’d say he was right.

17 thoughts on “CIA: Now They Tell Us

  1. Hopefully, my Russian brothers and sisters can come up with a 400 proof vodka to keep me alive over the next four years, or fucking kill me!

  2. There’s a very short list of liberals who said Trump would win. One prophet was Michael Moore – who has also predicted that the Electoral College will not confirm Trump. That wouldn’t make Clinton president – it would throw the election into the House of Representatives – and to a non-elected republican with more experience than Trump (because even the republicans can’t find anyone with less experience than Trump)

    In just over a week, could 37 republican electors be alarmed enough by the truth to jump ship on Trump? It would be good news in the way an amputation would be preferable to (always lethal) ALS. But I think it’s possible – and worth promoting online. Check it out.

  3. We also know that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian officials in the months leading up to the elections. This is verified and indisputable.

  4. My, this is like reading a spy novel! I’d like to get to the end of the story quickly. I am pleased that I took Russian as a fourth language; I don’t remember that much of it but can still read the alphabet! And that sure helped last time I went to St. Petersburg – very nice city by the way, Putin had many of the buildings painted – in watercolor tones…

  5. Who accepts the electoral vote count? The Supreme Court? The Speaker? There’s no provision left to void the election results?

  6. Also too, while the US feared a “Manchurian Candidate” back in the day, instead, we just got blind-sided by a Moscovian Candidate!

  7. I think “Putin’s bitch” may be inaccurate. Putin seems more like a neo-czar, and if he really is worth $200B as many conspirators saying, is The Duh-nald actually a wannabe, restocking the swamp with henchmen? Don’t know enough about how Putin got his.

    The electoral college was supposed to be a last line of defense against the populist despot. I was reminded of this from one of those little youtube newsie sites. Has our mainstream media even tried to inform us of this?

  8. So like Priebus and his new boss just surrendered the US to Russia and we lost the cold war too?  I have trouble in this post fact, post truth, post logic world keeping up anymore.  It all seems so odd.  Who’s side am I on and do I now have to pay my taxes in rubles?

    Give me another shot of that 400 proof.  Adjusting is difficult. TASS tells the truth now and the NYT just lies? Odd.

  9. “My, this is like reading a spy novel! I’d like to get to the end of the story quickly.”

    Careful what you wish for; the end of this story could be a mushroom cloud, if the present course doesn’t change.

    This is serious stuff, folks, and we cannot allow ourselves to just sit back and view this as entertainment.

    When the non-partisan career intelligence community is alarmed about the prospect of Trump becoming president, and with his actions and statements he’s given reason for them already, as president-elect, its reasonable to conclude that their fears and concerns are neither unfounded or overstated.

    What’s worse is that clearly, the GOP is so power mad, they are willing to put national security at risk for partisan gain, limiting the ability to leverage Constitutional checks and balances and institutions designed to prevent or at least mitigate what’s happening with Trump. Democrats need to find the balls to say this, plainly.

    Some are still holding out hope that, Trump will change once he gets in office, or that those around him will check him. But here’s a man who still apparently spends an inordinate amount of time watching TV, issuing petty, late night tweets instead of tending to the business of learning what he will face as president.

    He’s so puffed up with narcissism and ego, this morning he said this to Chris Wallace:

    “I don’t have to be told ― you know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day,” Trump said in an interview airing on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t need to be told … the same thing every day, every morning ― same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”

    There’s an old parable about foolishness that ends with this:

    “He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool; shun him.”

    This is real.

  10. I read a couple of articles yesterday and saw some people who talked about the elections being tampered with. When there is proof that a foreign country interfered with democratic elections in another country, the election is supposed to be redone. A very interesting concept.

    • Bonnie — I don’t know what you heard, but there’s no rule or law anywhere about redoing the election. The Failsafe for “fixing” a botched presidential election is supposed to be the Electoral College or an election in the House of Representatives. The national election won’t be done over.

  11. Obama made the right move in ordering an investigation and report of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians to destroy our democracy, and then having it classified as secret. The only way Trump can get out from underneath that aspersion is to declassify the report and make it public…And we know Trump can’t do that.. I guess when you’re driven by blind ambition and narcissism that allegiance to country falls to the wayside.

  12. Obama will get the report back around the15th of January…tisk tisk…and off to silicon valley and his $20m.

  13. TrumPutin supporters apparently don’t seem to care what he has done or what he will do. Their team won, rah rah rah. That’s all that matters to these dolts. I mean, a victory tour? Really? A parade? Are you joking?

  14. The commander and grand wizard of the Palanistas has tweeted.

    Russia’s getting out of hand? So says the defeated. Not to worry… remember I can keep an eye on them from here. 

    So fear not, all is well. In my world, however, I am now seeing McCain and Graham as our only hopes Obi-Wan.

  15. Reality snarks itself. Rick Perry to head the department he couldn’t remember in debate.

    Cabinet selections should observe the limits of comedy – the maximum number of stooges is three.

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