Yesterday, the CIA allegedly determined that Russia had intervened in the US election to the deliberate benefit of Donald Trump.
American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.
This is a serious allegation and one, that if true, should result in very public and painful consequences for Russia. But, if it was a serious report it wouldn’t be made public. In fact, if you want a definitive example of an intelligence agency meddling in our domestic politics, you need look no further than this report.
First, the evidence presented is a “consensus view” presented by administration officials. This means two things. First, there is no direct evidence of the claim (see global warming, consensus view) but rather they are making the claim base on their interpretation of a fact pattern. Second, the people making the claim are the political appointees in the agencies. When one delves a little deeper into the report we find this:
One senior government official, who had been briefed on an F.B.I. investigation into the matter, said that while there were attempts to penetrate the Republican committee’s systems, they were not successful.
Consider this for a moment. The FBI actually investigated to see if the RNC network had been hacked. The FBI, which did the forensic investigation, determined the network had NOT been hack but various RNC operatives had had their email compromised. The CIA, which has no charter at all to investigate anything on US soil, has now determined that the FBI is in error based on the “consensus view” that if the DNC was hacked then the RNC was hacked. And the hacked RNC documents weren’t released therefore the Russians were helping Trump. Even though the FBI says the RNC was not hacked. (And apparently the “interference” had no effect at all outside of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania or any other state Hillary lost.)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the CIA is not now, nor has it been for decades, a purely professional intelligence organization. It is political down to its bones. And it is partisan Democrat in the upper reaches… much like virtually any other federal agency. And it is not reluctant to use its perceived clout to damage a president it does not like.
Go back to the 2004 election and you’ll find the CIA virtually endorsed John Kerry for president. They allowed the head of the “bin Laden tracking unit” in the Counterterrorism Center, a guy named Michael Scheuer, to publish a book title “Imperial Hubris” which lambasted George Bush’s foreign policy in the midst of an election year. By “allowed” I mean the agency cleared the book for publication when it had every ability to delay that publication. You will also recall that throughout 2004 and 2005 the CIA Station Chief in Baghdad, or at least someone imitating him, leaked highly classified “Aardwolf” reports proclaiming everything in Iraq was a muddle. Miraculously, these leaks stopped with The Surge into al-Anbar province in 2006. Funny how that works out.
This “consensus view” is a political shot at Trump. Period. Finito. If it was a serious report, there would be a grand jury convened and “administration officials” wouldn’t be talking about it, and using it as fodder for the Sunday talk shows. It is designed to discredit his election (roll this together with the current orgiastic frenzy directed at “fake news” which also allegedly won the election for Trump). The Democrats did the same thing with George Bush throughout his administration over the Florida Recount. The CIA is owned no deference from anyone and using their “brand” to rough up their new boss is about as unprofessional an act as it is possible for an agency to engage in. Trump is exactly right to give them the “consensus view” on their performance (I’d differ with Trump on the WMD issue, but could easily substitute everything from 9/11, to the decade long hunt for bin Laden, to the rise of ISIS by way of examples). And he should remember this and not let the CIA forget it.
What the CIA has helpfully done, though, is warn Trump and Pompeo that they are the enemy and that the agency will screw them every change it gets. It did exactly the same thing when Bush sent Porter Goss in to try to pump that cesspool.
Pompeo needs to know that when he arrives he will be sabotaged and compromised at every turn. That the CIA will leaking damaging information and they will dance a flamenco on his grave when he leaves. This incident should tell Pompeo that the first order of business when he arrives at the George H. W. Bush Center for Intelligence is a ruthless purge of everyone associated with this report.