A Review of the “Intelligence Community Assessment”

2018-10-03 update: I have just noticed that the declassified ICA text was published only a few hours before the joint session of Congress that certified Trump as the next president. James Clapper spent the previous day falsely alleging that the Assessment had been done by the U.S. Intelligence Community, pushed an exaggerated version of its conclusions, and leaked parts of it to the media. In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clapper made repeated assaults on the president-elect. When referring to Trump’s sober reaction to the alleged assessment, Clapper uttered the following: “I’ve received many expressions of concern from foreign counterparts of what has been interpreted as disparagement of the intelligence community.” The Assessment and even the published-the-next-day ICA text were still classified and hidden from the president-elect! Now that seems like a last ditch effort to prevent Trump’s inauguration. BTW, who were his ‘foreign counterparts’ and why was he so concerned about their opinions?

Attached is a review of the declassified version of the notorious Intelligence Community Assessment, published on 01/06/2017. The declassified ICA text (“the ICA text” or “the text”, referring to the public version of the alleged assessment) regurgitates the Democratic talking points and allegations that Putin ordered interference in the 2016 elections, including claims that the alleged interference was directed against electing Hillary and in favor of electing Trump as president. The latter statement was supported only by the FBI and CIA, not by the NSA. The ICA demonstrated an extreme partisan bias in favor of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. The ICA text contains no declassified information. It repeats the same allegations over and over either without evidence, or with evidence refuting them. A quarter of the text is devoted to proving the obvious: that RT is controlled or directed by the Russian government.

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Other defects of the ICA text:

  • The ICA text makes outright false factual statements;
  • The ICA text uses word tricks; the most significant one is the allegation of anti-Hillary coverage by RT, or anti-Hillary stance by the Russian government — RT had clearly preferred Bernie to Hillary, but the text presents this fact in a way that falsely suggests it had preferred Trump to Hillary
  • The ICA text repeats DNC talking points;
  • The ICA text uses claims that are unique to the discredited Steele report;
  • The ICA text seems to be written by journalists or public relations agents, rather than intelligence analysts:
    • It contains passages retelling recognizable pieces from the partisan media pieces;
    • It obviously relies on media reports, rather than on independently collected data
    • if it’s reflective of the actual assessment, the analysts seem to be unqualified in the matters they analyzed
    • there is no hint at how the “Intelligence Community” arrived to conclusion that Russia was behind the hacking and publishing of the internal DNC documents in 2016; the phrasing suggests it has been the using fraudulent methodology of CrowdStrike and FireEye
  • The ICA text tries hard to justify allegations that Russia interfered in 2016 elections against Hillary and in favor of Trump, but unable to find evidence;
    • its factual assertions regarding non-classified information are vague; hardly any dates are mentioned; for many assertions it’s even unclear whether the timing was before the elections, after the elections, or both;
    • whatever anecdotal evidence is brought is cherry picked; for example, it mentions a RT broadcast that’s critical of Hillary but fails to mention similar or larger numbers of pro-Hillary and anti-Trump broadcasts;
  • it doesn’t explain how the “Intelligence Community” handled the fact that the DNC rejected help from the FBI for eight months, then refused to let the FBI access it after the DNC had acknowledged the hacking, then destroyed the remaining evidence:
    • how did the “Intelligence Community” perform analysis without the evidence
    • how did the FBI interpret the DNC’s refusal to let the FBI access its network, while allowing access to foreign hackers whom they thought to be Russian intelligence.

Obama’s guidance, reflected in the assessment title, has prejudiced the conclusion. Before assessing “Russian activities” in US elections, one should have ascertained that such activities had taken place.

Most of the ICA text is devoted to broadcasts and other open activities of RT America. RT America was founded in 2010 and operated from its offices in Washington, just 0.7 miles from Obama’s White House, without even being asked to register under FARA until 2017. It had on payroll several left-liberal types from media and politics, including Larry King from CNN, media personality and former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, and Ed Shultz from MSNBC. The ICA text frequently ventures into politics while failing to mention this fact, much less gives an explanation as to why RT switched its orientation from left-liberal to conservative positions.

Thus, the ICA text appears to be a political smear job by Obama/Hillary loyalists, and so does the alleged Intelligence Community Assessment, a declassified version of which it’s supposed to be.

This article, but not the attached paper, was updated on 2018-09-30.

The article was initially published on 2018-09-25.

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