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07 March 2018

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turcopolier

All

"Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle." Actually the main achievement of the creation of the DNI function was the separation of the functions of head of the IC and head of the CIA. When those were combined in one person the CIA used that to screw the rest of the community, especially DIA (aka the real enemy in CIA eyes)by manipulating chairmanship of the community for CIA's advantage. pl

LeaNder

Good summary argument, PT. Thanks. Helpful reminder.

But, makes me feel uncomfortable. Cynical scenario. I'd prefer them to be both drivers and driven, somehow stumbling into the chronology of events. They didn't hack the DNC, after all. Crowdstrike? Steele? ...

********
But yes, all the 17 agencies Clinton alluded to in her 3rd encounter with Trump was a startling experience:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/19/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-blames-russia-putin-wikileaks-rele/

turcopolier

LeaNder

One other point on which Tacitus and I differ is the quality of the analysts in the "minors." the "bigs" often recruit analysts from the "minors" so they can't be all that bad. And the analysts in all these agencies receive much the same data feed electronically every day. There are exceptions to this but it is generally true. I, too, read hundreds of documents every day to keep up with the knowledge base of the analysts whom I interrogated continuously. "How do you know that?" would have been typical. pl

Flavius

Well done.
"The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'"
Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged.
Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it?
Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup.
The whole sequence reminds me in some ways of the sub prime mortgage bond fiasco: garbage risk progressively bundled, repackaged, rebranded and resold by big name institutions that should have known better.
I have only two questions: was it misfeasance, malfeasance, or some ugly combination of the two? And are they going to get away with it?

Richardstevenhack

Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."

To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC.

All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.

Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.

In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.

The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.

The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.

As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exposing-the-man-behind-the-curtain_us_5877887be4b05b7a465df6a4

Throwing a Curveball at ‘Intelligence Community Consensus’ on Russia
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/

james

thanks pt for taking the time to articulate all this..

scott s.

As I read this, I take it to be a description of "national" or strategic-level intel. Certainly there is lots of dedicated intel collection and analysis going on at the tactical level by the other agencies listed. There could be interface between tactical collection and national sources, which I assume is why the "other" agencies get asked for comment.

turcopolier

scottS

These are ALL national intelligence organizations. Tactical intelligence exists WITHIN the operational forces. Tactical intelligence is funded from the operating budgets of the armed forces. (TIARA funds)The IC is funded under several "programs" of PPBS. Tactical intelligence is a recipient of the work product of these agencies. The 17 are statutory member of the national IC. pl

The Twisted Genius

pl and all,

I can vouch for the improvement made by the creation of the DNI, especially for DIA. Prior to its creation, the coordination process for intelligence operations was merely a euphemism for begging for permission. The DNI changed all that. The process became a true coordination process, much to the chagrin of the CIA. In addition to the DNI, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI) became more involved in the process adding more weight to the DIA position. Additionally, protocols were established for DOD/DIA to conduct purely military operations with a deconfliction process rather than a coordination process. That may sound like a small thing, but it was a profound development.

JW

A good summary, but a moot point would be whether Hillary Clinton, despite being a lawyer, would ever have understood it sufficiently to actually make sensible use of it.
Naturally someone will now question if Trump would understand it, and I suggest he would.

JW

Steele ? Does 'Steele' actually exist ?

Green Zone Café

The "17 intelligence agencies" statement was undoubtedly hype, but it's old news now.

The reasonable position now is to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. All else is partisan spinning, by all sides.

ann

This is a wonderful explanation of the intelligence community. And I thank you for the explanation. My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected. However inadequate my summary is it looks like the Democrats are less skilled in propaganda than the Repubs. And what else is the difference?

Fred

GZC,

Pointing out that the legal basis for the entire Mueller dog and pony show was based on a fraud, well lets not do that; We should by all means just sit back and let the narrative unfold as those who are trying to unseat the elected president continue unopposed to craft public opinion, just in time for mid-term elections.

johnf

Previous posts on the poisoning of Colonel Skripal, the ex-FSB double agent, have been on the Alistair Crooke thread, but it seems worth continuing in this thread.

The latest claim (behind a paywall) is in the Daily Telegraph that Colonel Skripal was close to an unnamed member of the consultancy which Christopher Steele is a member of.

Personally I think this whole story (which has dominated the British press and media for the last three days) is a false flag, borrowing much of its narrative line from the Litvinenko poisoning (in which Steele was also heavily involved). As the plot line gradually unwinds, it seems to be tying in more and more with Russiagate across the ocean.

Colonel Skripal was recruited in Estonia by MI6.

(David Habbakuk's opinion on this farrago would be greatly appreciated)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/07/poisoned-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-close-consultant-linked/

Richardstevenhack

Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."

His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.

It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.

blue peacock

GZC #12

Mueller is investigating some aspects.

But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating.

IMO, the conspiracy is significantly larger in scale and scope than anything the Russians did.

Yes, indeed we'll have to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. But also what facts these other investigations reveal.

English Outsider


Thank you for setting out the geography and workings of this complex world.

Might I ask how liaison with other Intelligence Communities fits in? Is intelligence information from non-US sources such as UK intelligence sources subject to the same process of verification and evaluation?

I ask because of the passage in your article -

"But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the “Dossier” had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the “Dossier” as “salacious and unverified.” "

Does this leave room for the assertion that although the "Dossier" was unverified in the US it was accepted as good information because it had been verified by UK Intelligence or by persons warranted by the UK?

In other words, was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?

Green Zone Café

As I've said before, "probable cause" is a low and flexible standard. Mueller's investigation has more than enough evidence in the public record to justify its existence.

I'm pretty cynical and don't follow this obsessively, but there's a lot of "smoke."

Papadapoulos's drunken statements to the Australian ambassador and his other activities meeting with a Russian agent, the hacking of Podesta, Roger Stone's statements and activities, the St. Petersburg troll farm and false flag activities in the USA, the "baby adoption" meeting with Don, Jr. and Russians, Eric Prince's activities and trip to the Seychelles, Manafort's connections with the Russian government and his money laundering, Trump's previous business dealings with the Russians including possible loans, Flynn's activities.

Even if some of these things have innocent explanations, taken together this is a large amount of circumstantial evidence justifying a full investigation.

Finally, the continual effort to attack Mueller and the investigation, imply there's no probable cause, or that evidence was illegally obtained, in order to justify firing Mueller is another tell that something serious might have happened and some people are sweating their future freedom and wealth.

turcopolier

EO
" ... was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?" I would say yes and especially yes if the contact for this piece of data was conducted at the highest level withing the context of the already tight liaison between the US IC and Mi-6/GCHQ. PT may think differently. pl

turcopolier

GZC

A lot of smoke? Only if you wish to place a negative value on everything the Trump people did or were. pl

jsn

The CIA appears to be trying to right the wrongs done them with the creation of the DNI:
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/08/dems-m08.html

Green Zone Café

Colonel, there's need for anyone to make sweeping statements about "everything the Trump people did." Maybe the tariffs are good. By all means, build the Wall.

But enough of these guys - Manafort, Page, Papadapoulos, Eric Prince, Stone, Flynn - are clowns or worse, and have connections to Russia or Assange.

There's probable cause to investigate. The important thing is that the investigation not be terminated a la Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre or other brute force authority.

Mueller will produce the facts, or not.

turcopolier

jsn

The wrongs done them? I hope that was irony. pl

turcopolier

GZC

Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. If he is anything like the many like him whom I observed in my ten business years, then he has cut corners legally somewhere in international business. they pretty much all do that. Kooshy, a successful businessman confirmed that here a while back. These other guys were all business hustlers including Flynn and their activities have made them vulnerable to Mueller. IMO you have to ask yourself how much you want to be governed by political hacks and how much by hustlers. pl

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