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15 February 2018

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plantman

Well argued, but I respectfully disagree....
and, regrettably, your argument sounds like a defense of the disgraced and untrustworthy John Brennan, who deserves a recap from author Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:

“Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program……

Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser…. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year….

Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency…..” (“John Brennan’s extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination”, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia???

You fail to mention that deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe stated under oath that the dossier was used to "improperly obtain" FISA warrants to spy on a member of the Trump camp or that the investigation has yet to produce even one scintilla of hard evidence in 18 months or that the media deliberately circulated stories they knew were uncorroborated nonsense in order to damage the president they never wanted.

I suggest you go back and reread the ODNI that Brennen put out with the help of his hand-picked team of analysts. I think you might be surprised in retrospect how weak the case against Trump really is...

GeneO

TTG -

Well researched and well done. But please do not expect to cure paranoia with facts.

m robert

The "full spectrum information operation"by British operative Christopher Steele( working with MI6 ) and US "security and Intell services" ie : John Brennan points to an attempt at a unconstitutional coup against a duly elected President. Why? To maintain the British/US establishment policy of geopolitical confrontation with Russia & China and the policy of "regime change wars "; a policy candidate Trump voiced opposition to.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/christopher-steele-the-real-foreign-influence-in-the-2016-election/
Christopher Steele: The Real Foreign Influence in the 2016 Election?
His dossier was more than opposition research, it was part of a full-spectrum information operation.
By PETER VAN BUREN • February 15, 2018

https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-or-intelgate/

Russiagate or Intelgate?
The publication of the Republican House Committee memo and reports of other documents increasingly suggest not only a “Russiagate” without Russia but also something darker: The “collusion” may not have been in the White House or the Kremlin.
By Stephen F. Cohen FEBRUARY 7, 2018

MasterSlacker

Most enjoyable to witness a genius who employs verifiable facts to back up arguments. It's too rare among the commentariat. Thank you.

turcopolier

TTG

Actually, the DoJ IG report is what I think you mean. pl

Haralambos

Is this what you intended: "Unless your comments are unusually abrasive and contribute nothing to the conversation, I’ll publish them." Could you have intended and meant "If" rather than "Unless"?
Sorry if I am being pedantic or just missing a beat.

ked

I’m going w/ your analysis.
I’m no expert, but you do not display an ideological bias nor make pejorative personal comments to people in correspondance.
I’m getting sick of that kinda shit.

Richardstevenhack

"some kind of SIGINT, HUMINT or bilateral (FVEY) operation that detailed Putin’s direct involvement in the cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US election. This intelligence also captured Putin’s instructions on the operation’s eventual objectives, to defeat or at least damage Clinton, and help elect Trump."

I call drivel.

Absent the presentation of "some kind of" said intel, Brennan is lying and conducting a disinformation campaign.

There is no chance that Putin is dumb enough to believe that his Russian intelligence services had the capability of swinging the election to anyone, let alone Trump whose victory, I remind those with - as Publius put it in his thread - "memory on the level of an Alzheimer patient" - was completely dismissed by everyone until it happened.

So we're supposed to believe the Russians knew better?

Hogwash.

When Brennan goes down for this disinformation campaign, I expect TTG to post a thread here with his mea culpa.

JohnH

The whole Trump/Putin narrative has lost steam. It has descended into an incomprehensible storm of "he said, she said." Unless Democrats, Mueller or the intelligence services can finally produce some kind of smoking gun, I doubt that Americans will just tune out. Advantage Trump.

The whole adventure reminds me of the campaign against Bill Clinton in the 1990s. They could only 'get' Clinton because he shot himself in the foot with Monica. Of course, Trump, being Trump, is perfectly capable of doing the same thing.

JohnH

Correction: I believe Americans will just tune out. Advantage Trump.

J

I concur.

The Twisted Genius

plantman,

If you expect me to argue that Brennan is not a typical scheming bureaucratic hack, you'd have to wait a long time. I dislike him as I dislike most of his contemporaries, but I bear him no personal grudge. The purpose of the ICA on Russian interference was not to make a case against Trump. It was to make a case against Russia. I don't think it contained anything referring to any kind of collusion. You're conflating two very different, albeit related, subjects.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Yes, I meant the DOJ IG report.

The Twisted Genius

Haralambos,

If I said "if" I would have said I would not publish the comments. I'll stick with "unless." Pedantic or not, you made me think a little harder about it. Thanks.

The Twisted Genius

Richardstevenhack,

Reread the ICA on "Russian activities and intentions." It lays out the evolution of Russian thinking over the course of the election season. Russian actions were logical and in Russia's interests. They were not dependent on Trump's election victory.

The Twisted Genius

JohnH and J,

You both may prove more correct than the rest of us in predicting Americans will just tune out. They're far more interested in the full Stormi Daniels story than in the Russian interference story, no matter how it turns out.

The Porkchop Express

This is a point that is rarely addressed or gets lost amongst all the vitriol. The Russians absolutely could have been (and almost assuredly were) involved in instigating and generally fuckery with respect to our elections and Trump could be squeaky clean as far as collusion/obstruction/etc... One does not preclude the other.

In any event, the longer this bullshit goes on with the innuendo, leaks, counter leaks, memos, and ridiculous histrionics the greater the level of transparency of the entire process and investigations will be necessary to assuage the "losing" side of this debate. And even granted that, it's doubtful there is a happy ending at the end of this particular rainbow. But some clear and convincing cards need to be thrown on the table soon, regardless of what they show.

On a lighter note, Karl Sharro wrote an entertaining piece last year about all this--more so to those on here with direct ME experience:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/america-you-look-like-an-arab-country-right-now-214678

Clueless Joe

If there was some Russian meddling and hacking going on, I have to wonder if getting caught wasn't part of the plan. The key goal not being to put Trump in the White House, but to make sure each party would be at each others' throat and claims of foreign influence, possible treason and very dubious if not fake election results would poison the inner political life of the USA for the next 4 years. Basically, sowing seeds of mistrust towards the various authorities and the whole political process itself, to weaken the US system as a whole.
I base this hypothesis on reasoning similar to Richardstevenhack. Putin knows he can't win elections by internet and IT shenanigans; GOP or dems would use it already and would be far more effective than faraway Russia if it were the case. He's also smart enough to expect to be caught if such a massive endeavour was underway. On the other hand, going in without taking enough care not to get spotted and making sure the US agencies notice would indeed mean the operation was designed to be uncovered, and that was its purpose.
All in all, if there are solid clues, I'd wonder first if Russians aren't framed, and barring that, if their key goal isn't to cause paranoia inside the USA and make people doubt their whole political system.

plantman

TTG....

I thought it might help to quote the first part of the "Key Judgements in the Intel Community Assessment:

Key Judgments

Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

 We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence." (end quote)

The report was supposed to provide proof-positive that Russia meddled, but facts or evidence are excluded in the 40 page document.

So what are we the people supposed to do with this....beat the bushes for another 3 years to see if something pops up?
How is that fair to the people who voted for Trump and think he should be left to rule according to the results of the balloting?

At what point does the onus fall on the prosecution to produce hard-evidence or shut the hell up??
Seriously.
Or are you okay with a president being put under the microscope for 4 years with no probable cause, and no proof of criminal wrongdoing?

Tell me, how long should this investigation be allowed to continue without any proof?

Fred

TTG,

"... cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US election." Which other nations are doing the same thing? Which ones were doing so on behalf of the other candidate and why aren't those campaigns under investigation?

I learned from Mother Jones that a Democratic Senator met with lawyers that represent a Russian Oligarch close to Putin (he isn't recusing himself either) and that Russian "bots" are active.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/02/donald-trump-joins-with-russian-bots-to-trash-mark-warner-on-twitter/

Where did Mother Jones get that info on Russian bots? Why according to the article from the German Marshal Fund:
http://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/publications/methodology-hamilton-68-dashboard

So Germany working to influence Americans is OK. Russians no. Yep. No influencing US elections via activities camouflaged as NGOs doing their good deeds. Never happen here. It's not like millions in donations to the Cxxxxxn Foundation, such as the $25 million donation of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) - surprise! protected by Canadian law from releasing thier donor identities (see the NYT linked below)- or the multi-million donations of the Kindom of Norway, Kindom of Saudi Arabia, the Commonwealth of Australia and a slew of others would provide that organization with fungable assets that could be used in the USA to influence government policy or influence those voting for representatives who determine US government policy.

"Nunes was close to Flynn and was on the Trump transition team. I think he’s too close to this to not recuse himself altogether..."
Guilt by association? How many other transition team members should be removed from doing thier jobs for being "close to Flynn"?

"We still need to wait for the Mueller investigation to run its course and hope that the results will be released to the public. "
How many years will that be?

Democracy dies in darkness. If this is actually worse than Watergate then declassify it all and hold public hearings - with no immunity for anybody.
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/us/politics/canadian-partnership-shielded-identities-of-donors-to-clinton-foundation.html

Farooq

TTG,

Sir i have been meaning to ask you about an article i read that was published prior to elections dealing with hacked elections in Nicaragua.
http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2016/04/hacking-democracy.html

There was a followup on same site (the author also wrote "Trump is new Andrew Jackson" article which was widely circulated)
http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2016/09/who-is-prepared-for-november-9th.html

The methods that have been described in article, how aware was Cyber Intel community in US about these? It appears to me they were completely focused on undermining encryption standards and software that may have made their lives easier but laid bare everyone else, where as they seemed to have no answer for what happened.

On another note, i think what Russians did was elegant bordering on art. All that color revolution stuff looks amateurish compared to what Russians did. I do not think US infowar capability can create divisions in Russian society along historical lines going back Bolshvieks vs White movement.

On technology front i think what China is working on in the realm of AI (voice and image generation, chat bots etc)is going to pose a challenge to US in next decade that will make this Russian stuff look like a friendly pat on the back.

The Twisted Genius

Clueless Joe,

In reference to your comment at #19

That's a pretty clueful comment for someone calling himself clueless joe. I think you summarized the plan fairly nicely. I think the best case Russian plan was that they would not be discovered until well after the election. The announcement of the DNC hack threw a monkey wrench into the initial plan and forced the rather shoddy Guccifer 2.0 improvisation. It was still just hacking and that has been going on among a lot of countries for many years. No big deal if discovered and attributed. The influence op using advances in AI, media technologies and techniques was bound to be discovered. However, so what? This was nothing more than what the very successful Trump digital operations was doing. It was all legal and very smart. There was little downside to being discovered.

One devious idea I have is that it would be advantageous to the Russians if they planted just enough clues that there was some kind of collusion between the Trump team and Russia. It would just add to the American angst and divisiveness. Not saying this is the case, but I would consider it if I was running the operation.

J

Here's the blowback of CIA meddling in Syria:

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russia-Is-Taking-Over-Syrias-Oil-And-Gas.html

The Twisted Genius

plantman and Fred,

Watergate ran from 1972 to 1974. The Whitewater/Lewinski investigations ran from 1994 to 1998. The Benghazi hearings ran from 2012 to 2016. How long will the Mueller investigation run? History says a while longer. I agree with you both that a lot of secrets will have to be declassified and released to end this. Given what's at stake, I think the loss of sources and methods is well worth the cost.

J

The American populace isn't stupid. They KNOW that we the U.S.'meddle'in other nations elections.

They just shrug their shoulders when D.C. politicians go stupid over possible outside meddling in ours.

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