After an anonymous source within the Central Intelligence Agency told The Washington Post the agency has “high confidence” that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 election to assist President-elect Donald Trump, right-wing media outlets quickly sought to delegitimize the allegations by claiming the CIA is too partisan to be trusted, or that the hacking was in reality a “false flag” attack by another actor.
CIA Claims The Russian Government Meddled In 2016 Election
Wash. Post: CIA “Secret Assessment” Reveals “Russia Intervened” In The Election “To Help Donald Trump Win.” On December 9, The Washington Post reported that “a secret assessment” from the CIA concluded 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.” The Post also reported that “there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered":
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.”
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered. [The Washington Post, 12/9/16]
Trump Allies In The Media Downplay Russian Interference Allegations
The CIA Is Politicized
Trump Ally Alex Jones: “Maximum Alert: Rogue CIA Working To Overthrow Trump Election.” In a December 11 video posted to InfoWars, Alex Jones, a Donald Trump ally and the site’s proprietor, alleged that the CIA invented the Russian hacking claims because the agency is “charged with lying for whoever’s president at the time, and Obama still has 40 days left in the White House.” Jones concluded that the CIA would “trigger emergency systems under COG [Continuity of Government]” that culminate in “bringing in outside agencies or even mercenaries, to actually try to assassinate the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, before he even gets into office”:
ALEX JONES (HOST): A month ago, within one day of Trump winning a massive victory, despite internal polls showing him ahead, the Dem party said there was Russian meddling in the election. But they couldn’t give any proof. Just yesterday The Washington Post had to retract a story claiming they had proof of Russian bots pushing fake Hillary stories. They had to admit it was totally fake. Suddenly there’s a new secret report comes out, and we hear about it from from Hillary and Obama, but we can’t see the evidence because it’s secret. Ive talked to intelligence agents who read the article and they say “notice they say other intel agencies, and then the CIA gave this new analysis.” That's the big tell-tale that it's fake. And this is the same agency charged with lying for whoever’s president at the time, and Obama still has 40 days left in the White House.
Why I’m really concerned is that this could be used inside government to trigger emergency systems under COG (continuity of government) that if a major leader like the president is actually a foreign agent they can then reportedly be taken out. And so to have the bold move of implying that a president-elect is being manipulated and controlled by the Russians is a very, very serious telltale sign that they could be thinking about bringing in outside mercenaries or other agencies to actually try to assassinate the 45th president of the United States Donald Trump before he even gets into office. Because remember: they are incredibly desperate right now. [InfoWars, 12/11/16]
Trump Sycophant Sean Hannity: Russia Allegations Are A “Politically Motivated” “Liberal Fake News Story.” Sean Hannity asked the listeners of the December 12 edition of his radio show why we “suddenly believe the CIA is rising above politics, when they helped concoct a false narrative about Benghazi.” Hannity concluded that “this is another liberal media fake news story that they're all falling for, and it's politically motivated,” because the CIA does not like Trump:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): They manipulated the intelligence on Benghazi for political reasons. You know, why do we now suddenly believe the CIA is rising above politics, when they helped concoct a false narrative about Benghazi?
Then, Sunday's Washington Post, the FBI disagrees with the CIA, I mean, it's almost -- you can't even make this stuff up. And it's hardly breaking news that the FBI doubts the CIA's claims. New York Times reported on this, as I just read to you, FBI's been conducting multiple investigations, even CNN reports, of alleged connections between Russia and Donald Trump, but none so far have yielded proof of criminal connections between the parties.
That investigation included allegations against Roger Stone, a Trump supporter, about a possible connection. I'll tell you this, because I -- I've talked to Julian Assange, on-air, off-air, on TV, on radio, and I've watched him give other speeches, and he categorically denies any of this came from Russia, any of it.
So, you know -- unless, and until we can prove it, I'm just assuming this is another liberal media fake news story that they're all falling for, and it's politically motivated, as evidenced by their lack of concern about hiking -- hacking and cybersecurity over the years. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 12/12/16]
Wall Street Journal: CIA Alleging Russian Intervention “Are The Same Seers Who Missed The Invasion Of Crimea.” An editorial from the Wall Street Journal sought to minimize allegations that Russia interfered in the election to assist Trump by remarking that “these are the same seers” who told us “that Iran had suspended its nuclear-weapons program” under the Bush administration, but then, “in the Obama administration, our highly-confident spooks disclosed Iran’s secret Fordo underground facility.” The board did, however, caution that “none of this means Americans shouldn’t be alarmed about Russian intentions or cyber attacks”:
If the CIA really does have “high confidence” about Mr. Putin’s motives, this would also be the first time in recent history. These are the same seers who missed the Russian invasion of Crimea, missed the incursion into southern Ukraine, and missed Mr. Putin’s foray into Syria. The intelligence community also claimed “high confidence” in 2008 for its judgment that Iran had suspended its nuclear-weapons program. That judgment conveniently shut down any further Bush Administration action against Iran. But a year later, in the Obama Administration, our highly confident spooks disclosed Iran’s secret Fordo underground facility. [Wall Street Journal, 12/12/16]
Election Hacks Are A “False Flag” Attack
Potential Trump Nominee And Fox News Contributor John Bolton Called Russian Allegations A “False Flag.” During Fox News appearances on December 11 and 12, former UN Ambassador under President Bush and potential Trump pick for Secretary of State, John Bolton repeatedly asserted that allegations of Russia interfering in the election could be a “false flag operation.” Bolton later attempted to clarify his remarks, specifying that he meant a “false flag in the sense that this conclusion that the Russians did it, I think, is arrived at too easily,” however, he restated the following day that “it’s at least a question to be asked, whether or not this was a false flag operation with some foreign government other than Russia.” [Media Matters, 12/12/16]
Fox’s Eric Bolling: “Someone Disgruntled At The DNC” Could Have Leaked Information. On the December 12 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Eric Bolling claimed with absolutely no evidence that the series of cyberattacks against Democratic politicians and offices is “not a hack, it's a leak” committed by “someone disgruntled at the DNC”:
EBONI WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): I'm saying we need to separate the facts and the conclusions. So I’m, again, I'm not interested about the conclusion that it twisted the election and thus we need to revisit the election results. I'm ready to accept completely Trump as our president but I think that it’s still important that we separate that part, the conclusionary part, from the facts around the hacking itself and the hacking into the databases, whether it's the RNC, the DNC, Hillary Clinton, what have you.
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): But the RNC and the FBI agree they don’t believe the RNC was hacked.
WILLIAMS: But if the DNC was hacked, that’s important too. I think.
BOLLING: Well of course that is important if that is, in fact, the case.
WILLIAMS: The capability, right?
BOLLING: Well you forget there is one other option here, it's not a hack, it's a leak. No one has locked down the fact it's a hack and not someone, someone disgruntled at the DNC leaking. [Fox News, The Five, 12/12/16]