CIA Report: Russia Acted To Help Trump Win The Election

New information raises serious questions about the integrity of the 2016 elections, and about Donald Trump and his supporters.

A secret CIA assessment delivered to Members of Congress this week concludes that Russia was trying to help Trump win the Presidential election, The Washington Post is reporting:

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 Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.4

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” the statement read.

Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence community’s findings about Russian hacking.

“I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

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.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.”


U.S. intelligence agencies have been cautious for months in characterizing Russia’s motivations, reflecting the United States’ long-standing struggle to collect reliable intelligence on President Vladi­mir Putin and those closest to him.

In previous assessments, the CIA and other intelligence agencies told the White House and congressional leaders that they believed Moscow’s aim was to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system. The assessments stopped short of saying the goal was to help elect Trump.

On Oct. 7, the intelligence community officially accused Moscow of seeking to interfere in the election through the hacking of “political organizations.” Though the statement never specified which party, it was clear that officials were referring to cyber-intrusions into the computers of the DNC and other Democratic groups and individuals.

The New York Times reports that one of the reasons that intelligence officials believe that Russia was acting to help Trump is that the fact that material that may have been stolen from hacks of the Republican National Committee were never released:

WASHINGTON — 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.

In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.

Mr. Trump’s transition office issued a statement Friday evening reflecting the deep divisions that emerged between his campaign and the intelligence agencies over Russian meddling in the election. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the statement said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”

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.

But the intelligence agencies’ conclusions that the hacking efforts were successful, which have been presented to President Obama and other senior officials, add a complex wrinkle to the question of what the Kremlin’s evolving objectives were in intervening in the American presidential election.

“We now have high confidence that they hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republican organization, one senior administration official said, referring to the Russians.

It is unclear how many files were stolen from the Republican committee; in some cases, investigators never get a clear picture. It is also far from clear that Russia’s original intent was to support Mr. Trump, and many intelligence officials — and former officials in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — believe that the primary motive of the Russians was to simply disrupt the campaign and undercut confidence in the integrity of the vote.

The Russians were as surprised as everyone else at Mr. Trump’s victory, intelligence officials said. Had Mrs. Clinton won, they believe, emails stolen from the Democratic committee and from senior members of her campaign could have been used to undercut her legitimacy. The intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia tried to help Mr. Trump was first reported by The Washington Post.

The Trump campaign is dismissing the allegations of Russian intervention, as are many Republicans:

In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.

And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”

The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow’s hands.

McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment. After the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, as his nominee for transportation secretary.

It’s important to note what this report isn’t saying, and why that means that further investigation is absolutely necessary. There doesn’t appear to be any allegation that the Russians sought to actually disrupt the election process itself in terms of hacking into voting or vote-reporting systems in the way that many election officials across the country feared might happen in the weeks before Election Day. Instead, what we’re largely talking about here was a cyber-hacking operation that involved stealing data from the DNC and RNC and selectively releasing it in an effort to undermine the Clinton campaign and aid the Trump campaign. In the end, it was a propaganda campaign rather than a direct effort to hack the election itself. Notwithstanding that qualification, though, the fact that a foreign power may have been involved in attempting to influence an American Presidential election is a serious one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the fact that it is a clearly adversarial foreign power at that makes that point even stronger.

Despite this fact, Republicans in general, and the Trump campaign in particular, are dismissing the allegations almost in their entirety, including the allegation that the RNC was hacked into despite multiple reports that this did in fact happen. On some level, one assumes that the denials are part of an effort to protect their win in the Presidential election from being questioned, but the reality is that there’s pretty much nothing that can be done at this point to stop the final certification of Trump’s victory. The Electoral College will meet a week from Monday to take the formal vote(s) that will give Trump his victory and the results of that vote will be officially certified when the new Congress convenes in January. Even if the reports that were released last night were confirmed, it would have no real impact on the process or on Trump’s Inauguration on January 20th. Donald Trump is going to be President, and there’s nothing that’s going to change that. Even after that becomes final, though, the allegations regarding foreign interference will remain, and the need to investigate them will remain just as urgent as they are today. Instead of recognizing that urgency, though, this morning Republicans appear to be reacting to this report by dismissing it, seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the intelligence community that it originates from, and attacking the messengers and those who are daring to ask questions.

At the very least, these allegations demand investigations by both houses of Congress. These investigations should be conducted not just by the Intelligence Committees for the two bodies but also by other committees and the hearings should be as open to the public as possible given the fact that much of what might be discussed will likely be classified information that can only be discussed behind closed doors. The integrity of the election process demands nothing less at this point, and for Republicans to attempt to sweep this matter under the rug is both highly irresponsible and shocking given the fact that it has been the right that has been the most vocal about the dangers that Russia poses in recent years. If they don’t do this, then Republicans will show that they have indeed sold their souls to Donald Trump in exchange for power, and that they are putting their party before their country.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Crime, Donald Trump, Intelligence, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. CSK says:

    So…Trump just trashed the CIA, the organization he depends on for information.

    Slick move, Donnie Boy.

  2. Argon says:

    Of course Trump was going to trash the CIA. Anything said that would suggest he isn’t a self-made success story or needed help from others conflicts with his mythos and thus must be adamantly denied. Trump is entirely ego driven and his responses are amazingly easy to predict.

  3. walt moffett says:

    Agree the various committees need to produce public hearings and a set of reports, we also should be asking what have we done to influence elections overseas. Who knows might wind up with a utter top secret back of the envelope pinky swear multilateral don’t get caught again agreement.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, we have an unstable clown about to assume the presidency on the strength of fewer votes than his opponent, with the support of the Russian strong man and the FBI.

    This may be a legal election, but it is not a legitimate one.

    Side note to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia: you’ve been sold out, the United States will not stand by its NATO commitments, the president is in the pocket of the thug Putin.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Our only hope is that we really do have a “deep state” and they’re powerful enough to get rid of Trump. And then we get Mike Pence. Gawd.

  6. Moosebreath says:

    “The integrity of the election process demands nothing less at this point, and for Republicans to attempt to sweep this matter under the rug is both highly irresponsible and shocking given the fact that it has been the right that has been the most vocal about the dangers that Russia poses in recent years. If they don’t do this, then Republicans will show that they have indeed sold their souls to Donald Trump in exchange for power, and that they are putting their country before their party.”

    Exactly right, Doug.

  7. stonetools says:

    At this point, the following should be done:

    1. The President needs to lay out the case in detail in a national Oval Office statement.
    2. The CIA must issue their final report to the public by December 12 or whenever the electors vote.
    3. We need to call on the electors to vote for someone other than Trump, like the popular vote leader.

    The Russians have conducted what was essentially a silent coup, installing someone as POTUS who is beholden to them in ways we can’t fathom ( because we don’t have detailed knowledge of Trump’s finances). We cannot let that stand, without doing everything we can to prevent that.
    The normal checks and balances won’t work, because it’s clear that the Republican Congress WILL NOT check Trump or even investigate this, as long as Trump lets them get on with eviscerating the New Deal and the Great Society, which they have been slavering to do for 50 years.
    AT this point I think we are at a very dangerous stage.And that doesn’t even contemplate the real possibility of a terrorist act/Reichstag fire, which would allow for an “Enabling Act”.
    We should work towards nipping that in the bud, and making sure Trump isn’t even seated. And if it means taking it to the streets with protests and demonstrations, so be it.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    It’s true that Pence has the “stupid” and “bigoted” dials pretty well pegged. But I don’t think he is likely to get us into a nuclear war. Trump is unstable and has demonstrated a fascination with being first to use nukes. Therefore Pence is infinitely preferable.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I think if we did all that there would be an excellent chance of a second American Civil War. We have to ask ourselves which is worse: hoping we can restrain the worst of a Trump presidency and risking a descent into fascism and the annihilation of American prestige and power in the world? Or all of us shooting at each other.

    What is clearer with each passing day is that 46% of voters made a catastrophic error.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    By the way, here’s today’s puzzler:

    Q: What do you get if you add up the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska?

    A: Fewer people than Hillary Clinton’s margin over Trump.

  11. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There are no easy choices here, and we should stop pretending there are.All the news reports I see seem to be downplaying the not normal situation that we elected a fascist in waiting, with foreign help (the Russians and Wikileaks), and he is going to have no effective checks on him come January 20. I’ve seen appeals to the Republicans to “do the right thing”, when they haven’t done the right things for 8 years, and generally, fantasizing that all things will work out for the best, in the good ol” USA. Well, screw that. They’ll work out only if we make it work out.And if that means civil strife, so be it.

    It will be a lot easier keeping an authoritarian out of power, then letting him walk in and then trying to get him out after he is place. That’s the lesson of history. Let’s act accordingly.

  12. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If Trump is allowed to be inaugurated, its only a matter of time before “little green men” start showing up in the Baltics and before Putin puppets start running for elections there. After all, if Putin can instal his stooge in the USA, it should be child’s play for him to do it in Latvia.

  13. Pch101 says:

    If they don’t do this, then Republicans will show that they have indeed sold their souls to Donald Trump in exchange for power

    You can’t sell what you don’t have.

    The GOP’s raison d’etre is to demonize anything and anyone who is vaguely liberal, non-white or non-Christian. The list of what they oppose is long, but they don’t really stand for anything.

  14. Paul L. says:

    There is more evidence for Pizzagate than for the Russian hacked the DNC.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    That is a lie.

    Either you know it’s a lie, in which case no one has any further reason to pay attention to you.

    Or you’re an idiot.

    Your choice.

  16. stonetools says:

    And Trump picks another Putin ally as Secretary of State.

    Chief Executive Rex Tillerson has emerged as the leading candidate to become President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, according to two transition officials, marking the latest twist in a multiweek search for a top diplomat.

    But there’s no evidence that Putin tried to influence the election by swaying it to Trump.
    How stupid can guys like Paul L. be?

  17. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    What is the evidence for the Russian hacked the DNC?
    Just some anonymous source at the CIA say so.
    Just some “Lightly used Pizza.”

  18. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    Seriously? A satanic child sex ring run out of the basement of a pizza joint by Hillary Clinton and her cohorts? Seriously?

    Could I have a link to the evidence?

  19. Terrye Cravens says:

    Once again I am disappointed in Republicans. Trump can say this hacking was not done by the Russians, but someone certainly did it and he does not seem all that interested in finding out. Neither does most of the GOP.

    I voted for Bush…McCain…Romney, but I could not vote for Trump and at this point I am not sure I will ever vote for a Republican again.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    On the one hand: zero evidence for a patently absurd story.

    On the other hand: the CIA and the obvious fact that damaging leaks were run through Wikileaks.

    So you’re going with idiot.

  21. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Paul L.: No, not anonymous..Senate leaders had this information sometime ago and they know exactly who the source is. The fact that the media is not releasing all the names does not mean the report is not sourced.

    Putin wants Trump to be President…and that is certainly not because he wants America to be great again.

  22. Terrye Cravens says:

    @stonetools: They are real stupid, that is how we got stuck with Trump. In fact, I think most Trump supporters are cult like in their devotion. Reason and facts mean nothing to them.

  23. stonetools says:

    In light of McConnell’s role in facilitating the rise of Trump, maybe it’s time to bookmark and study this Wikipedia article on Franz von Papen, one of the many German conservatives who helped Hitler come to power. He had his reasons and a plan to use and contain a fascist demagogue too.

  24. CSK says:

    Breaking from NBC: Rex Tillerson will be Secretary of State.

  25. Paul L. says:

    So Republican DC insider Dennis Hastert is not a pedophile?
    He has never been convicted of pedophilia.

  26. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Paul L.: You have no idea what you are talking about.

  27. Scott says:

    The integrity of the election process demands nothing less at this point, and for Republicans to attempt to sweep this matter under the rug is both highly irresponsible and shocking given the fact that it has been the right that has been the most vocal about the dangers that Russia poses in recent years. If they don’t do this, then Republicans will show that they have indeed sold their souls to Donald Trump in exchange for power, and that they are putting their party before their country.

    The real trouble is that an serious investigation could lead to people who should be considered to have committed treason. And we have to decided whether Trump aided and abetted it or was a unwitting pawn. Either answer is extremely problematic. And yes, it will tear the country apart. So collectively, people will have to choose: put blinders on and carry on or ripped the scab off and forthrightly face the facts.

  28. Scott says:

    @Terrye Cravens: Ignore them and they will fade away for lack of attention.

  29. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    Because Tony Podesta is a friend of Dennis Hastert? Is that the connection you’re making? That because Tony Podesta is a friend of Dennis Hastert, his brother John is running a satanic pedophile sex ring?

    Did you know that Donald Trump was a good buddy of Jeffrey Epstein? Does that make Trump a child molester?

    I can provide you with quotes from Trump praising Jeffrey Epstein to the skies for–get this–Epstein’s taste in young women.

  30. Pch101 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Naming your blog “Kingdom of Idiots” is probably the smartest thing that you’ve ever done.

    Your ongoing efforts to prove that you are worthy of being the king, not so much.

  31. Modulo Myself says:

    This is a good article on Trump and Putin. Key graf:

    In other words, Trump internalizes the very qualities Putin has affected. The austere master of the Kremlin, who even as a child was remembered as quiet and serious, and whose KGB training and martial arts passions emphasize discipline and control, has learned to assume a macho, unpredictable, risk-taking persona. He has come to rely on the West to play the role of the responsible adult, the party that will do what it can to avoid confrontation and avert conflagration. Trump, however, seems to be more genuinely Putin than Putin.

    Putin’s entire job is to sell Russia as an idea to Russians. He’s doing this partly because there’s not much else to sell to Russians. It works better doing this with competent centrists, rather than a man who has surrounded himself with inanimate zombies and animated carcasses, all representing a bunch of backwater fifth-rate ideologies based solely on racism, theocracy, and theft. So there’s no way that a year ago Putin was like ‘let’s get this fat orange sociopathic idiot elected President of the United States of America because it benefits Russia.’ None. What Trump represents is what’s left when real prosperity is sucked away–no good that will come out of him and any Republican. Whoever was behind Wikileaks (probably Russia) was doing this with the understanding that Americans would in the end not be stupid and vile enough to vote for Trump.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Nice try, no sale.

    Putin hacked both the DNC and the RNC but only released DNC documents to Wikileaks. That’s evidence of intentionality.

  33. Senyordave says:

    @Scott: So collectively, people will have to choose: put blinders on and carry on or ripped the scab off and forthrightly face the facts.

    I’ll lay 10 to 1 that the media will vote for the blinders. I can see Meet the Press with Chuck Todd asking some real probing questions, just like I can imagine winning Powerball on consecutive weekends.
    the New York Times will probably lead the Sunday paper with another story about Hillary’s emails.

  34. Modulo Myself says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree. I’m just saying that the objective was to weaken President Hillary Clinton rather than produce President Trump. I don’t think Putin wants Trump any more than he wants to invade Germany or nuclear war.

  35. Terrye Cravens says:

    @CSK: Not only is Trump a friend of Epstien’s he was accused of raping underage girls himself….not that Trump supporters really care. And last I heard Hastert was in jail.

  36. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Modulo Myself: I think it is obvious that Putin wants Trump. After all, if he weakens Clinton…who benefits?

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I suspect Putin has Trump’s balls in his pocket. I think he loves the idea of Trump as POTUS – what else could he possibly have done to weaken NATO or the US itself more drastically, while simultaneously weakening democracy worldwide? I suspect the FSB has all sorts of interesting stuff on Trump and Trump knows it. I suspect strongly that we will never see Trump stand up to Putin on anything. I think he’s owned.

  38. Modulo Myself says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    Well, he benefitted from America under Obama, so I’m guessing that he assumed that it would be the same thing.

    Do you actually think that Putin wanted a bunch of Republicans who have spent years fantasizing about bombing Iran in power? I don’t think so.

  39. Modulo Myself says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, maybe. I’m not sure what other interesting things we need to learn about Donald Trump. He’s blackmail proof. Hits on enemies? Killing escorts for pleasure? I don’t see it affecting Trump in America. Unless maybe he’s a secret bottom and there’s a video of a Spetsnaz vet making Trump his bitch.

  40. Pch101 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    News about Russia’s economic doldrums and the sanctions that have helped to create them must be blocked from your computer.

  41. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Modulo Myself: Apparently Putin thought that Trump would be even more beneficial him than Obama or Clinton or he would not have gone to such efforts to get Trump elected…look at this way, he certainly is not afraid of Trump. And that might have something to do with money. After all, since Trump refuses to release his tax returns or open his books we have no way of knowing who might have a hold on him.

  42. Modulo Myself says:


    Yes, the EU is behind them, and I’m sure Putin would like them lifted, because he’s not crazy. But given that he’s not crazy, what measures is he going to go to get them lifted? Is he going to be try to install an actual puppet in another country, one more powerful than his own and just to assume he can control the situation?

    Also, if he really wanted Trump as president, why didn’t he release actually damning things on Hillary Clinton through Wikileaks? Surely there are private things that Hillary Clinton would not want the world to know about–things more damning that boring emails between John Podesta and someone else. I have no problem believing that Russia was behind Wikileaks, but its effect was hardly devastating. I mean, imagine trying to sell this to Putin as the masterstroke that would win it for Trump.

  43. CSK says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    It could–and probably does–have something to do with money. But Putin probably recognized early on, as did many of us, that Trump is very easily manipulated. Just compliment him on his long fingers, or his enormous wealth and perspicacity (both figments of his overheated imagination), and Trump’s yours forever. Like a lot of con men, he can be easily conned.

    Trump is a large quivering orange blob of insecurities. It all goes back to Old New York Society’s refusal to accept him as one of their own. Play on those insecurities, and you can do exactly what you will with him.

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Putin could have evidence that Trump is worth far less than he pretends to be, and as we know, Trump is terrified of having his alleged wealth accurately quantified.

    Putin could have proof of crimes that could be prosecuted in international courts. Sex with a minor suggests itself given Trump’s piggishness.

    Or he could have damaging health information. Maybe Trump is impotent. Maybe he’s in the early stages of Alzheimers.

    It doesn’t take much to blackmail a man who can’t bear an SNL parody without losing his sh!t. He’s tailor-made for blackmail.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    The answer is: there was nothing more damaging about Hillary. Duh. That was all Breitbart/Kremlin bullsh!t.

  46. Pch101 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’m sure Putin would like them lifted, because he’s not crazy. But given that he’s not crazy, what measures is he going to go to get them lifted?

    Trump has said that he “would be looking into” lifting the sanctions and recognize Crimea as Russian territory. (Doing the latter would put the US in the same camp as Cuba and North Korea.)

    Trump has also talked about reducing US support for NATO.

    In contrast, Clinton criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed support for sanctions.

    Does Putin have to visit your house personally and explain his motives in order for you to see what should be obvious?

  47. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I suspect the FSB has all sorts of interesting stuff on Trump and Trump knows it.

    Except it won’t matter if the interesting stuff isn’t effectively actionable. As King Wah Wah himself stated (and we are seeing reinforced), he could shoot someone in broad daylight on a NYC street and still have his supporters cheer him on. There could be video and DNA evidence of heinous acts and it’s not going to make much of a difference to a Congress and public that DGAF.

    Putin’s leverage depends on it being able to you know, be leverage. It’s entirely possible he outsmarted himself in trying to get someone he thought he had the goods on into power only to discover Trump has infallible powers over the gullible Putin could only dream of.

  48. Gustopher says:

    We need to know the extent of the Russian involvement with the election, with the Trump campaign and with Trump himself. And there is no way that happens before the electors meet, or before congress certifies the result, or before the inauguration. And it risks tearing the country apart.

    But, it has to be done to protect the future of our not-a-democracy-because-we-have-the-Electoral-College.

    On he subject of Trump’s financial entanglements with the Russians, the easiest course would be for Trump to release his tax returns. That’s not going to happen, so I hope someone from the IRS just leaks them (I would support Obama pardoning that person, by the way).

    The rest requires bipartisan investigations, in congress. I think they will happen, because the Republicans cannot let themselves be seen as soft on Russia and survive their next election. There will be a lot of covering-of-asses from McConnell and anyone briefed on this, but I expect congress-critters to be more worried about their own asses than his.

    Also, I expect that we will be asking “What did the Vice President know, and when did he know it?” before too long.

    And the constitutional crisis — and having the President compromised by a foreign power is a constitutional crisis — will have our country paralyzed and weakened for the next few years, which will give Russia a chance to dominate the world stage in Eastern Europe. Sucks to be the Baltics, but it has always sucked to be the Baltics.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Pch101: I think there’s a reasonable question about whether Putin thought Trump could win. A Trump victory could have been viewed as a stretch goal, with the expected outcome simply being weakening the incoming Clinton administration.

    It’s also possible that the goal was a weakened and embattled administration from either Clinton or Trump, and that if Trump were in the lead we would have been getting leaks about him. If the goal is just a weakened US, I could easily see hitting only the side with a large lead (2.5 million votes and counting!), to get an embattled President with as small a victory as possible so they don’t have a mandate.

    We would really need to dig into the contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia — if the stories about Paul Manafort are true, and the changes to the Republican platform, it could indicate either collusion, or the Russians attempting to muck up the Trump campaign as well.

  50. Gustopher says:

    Also, is anyone else having a sense of deja vu about this? We knew this already, the outlines had been reported, the Trump campaign was denying Russian involvement but it was clear. We just got some more details.

    This is like the Boston Globe breaking the story about the Priests and the Alter Boys, and overnight we went from joking about pedophile priests to being horrified that our jokes were exactly accurate.

  51. michael reynolds says:

    Are you watching Westworld? Know how Bernard couldn’t see a door because he’d been programmed to ignore anything unusual? That’s how humans are. Something sufficiently unexpected is ignored until it becomes impossible to ignore.

  52. Lynn says:

    “The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement . . . The election ended a long time ago . . .”

    A “long time ago”? Who ARE these people?

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Modulo Myself: Putin (or anyone with evidence and a platform to speak from) can control Trump by threatening to show that he is not as successful as he claims.

    Possible avenues:
    – He’s not a billionaire
    – He won the election only with Russian help

    Look at the angry tweets about his “historic” electoral college victory (smaller than most, like his fingers), or his popular vote loss (only because of 3 million illegal votes for Clinton). He doesn’t accept beinviewed as a loser in anything.

    And then there’s just straight up bribery and playing to his conflicts of interest.

  54. michael reynolds says:


    I guarantee you those very words will be written by one of our regular Trump cultists soon. Trump lies, they take it in like a software update, and regurgitate the lie, believing it.

  55. Facebones says:

    Sure would be nice to know just how much money Trump owes to Russian banks. It was rumored to be $650 million. But we’ll never know because the Times and the Post cared more about Hillary’s emails than Trump’s business conflicts.

  56. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Modulo Myself: Why not release even more damning information? Well, for one thing we don’t know that there is more damning information and for another thing if he had it would have been more difficult for people such as yourself to dismiss this bit of espionage as no big deal.

  57. Pch101 says:


    There were two possible options for the election:

    -Clinton wins
    -Trump wins

    The odds of the latter outcome were lower, but that outcome would alsod be more favorable to Russia.

    What possible reasons would the Russians have to not make the effort? If it works, then things are great; if it doesn’t work, then nothing is lost.

    The whole thing is upside. From a Russian perspective, there was no reason not to try.

    Hacking these days is as Russian as borscht. Russia produces hackers and referral spammers by the boatload, and anyone who has a website that is large enough to get ranked has probably had some experience with either or both of these. Even I had my company website hacked by Russians — there was nothing remotely controversial or anti-Russian about the website, they just did it for kicks.

  58. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, sure. The Trumpkins have already decided it was “fake news” that he wasn’t going to sever his connection with The Apprentice. Trump said so.

  59. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Gustopher: So far Republicans have dismissed the whole thing.

  60. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That makes sense, assuming he believes Trump isn’t as crazy as he acts. If Trump starts a theromonuclear war then having him in power is suddenly not such a good deal for Putin. Or anyone else.

    The old Soviet bosses didn’t mind Nixon, because cold war warrior or not, he was predictable. I suspect Putin follows that line of thinking. Having a sane person’s balls in your back pocket is predicable, you can control their actions. Someone who’s actually insane (and in charge of a few thousand ICBM mounted nuclear weapons) is not predictable – they might well respond to your squeezing by unleashing Armageddon.

    I kind of think Modulo is on the right track – the Russians were trying to help Trump in order to destabilize Clinton, but probably aren’t thrilled to have him in power.

    And in an odd way, Trump’s vaccinated himself against releases of the various things he’s likely to have done (lied about his wealth, international crimes – not that those matter anyway, no one is prosecuting any President of the US in international court) simply be being so over the top that almost nothing that they release will be worse than what he openly brags about.

  61. george says:

    Totally outside the Trump thing, hacking is done by every country (remember what was going on with Merkel’s phone taps). Getting indignant about the Russians doing it is silly, America has as many hackers, and probably better ones.

    However, that’s different than letting someone get away with it. I can’t see the electors ever putting in a Democrat; however, it is just possible (as in 1000 to 1 against, which is non-zero) that they’d put in a different Republican instead of Trump. Someone sane would be nice.

  62. michael reynolds says:

    We need to be at least as persistent at spreading truth as Republicans have been at spreading lies.

    No, of course most Trumpies don’t believe this. But we don’t need most Trumpies, we need the hold-your-nose voters. Don’t forget, we won the vote, we just lost the election – an election rigged by the Russian FSB in an act of war.

    My armchair general strategy would be:

    1) Hold the line hard on social issues with demonstrations and boycotts.
    2) Attack on corruption and Trump’s treason using media and social media.
    3) Follow California’s example of refusing to assist ICE, and use tech to thwart ICE raids.
    4) Never accept Trump’s legitimacy. He is legally the president, but not legitimately.

  63. Argon says:

    What all this also suggests is that computer security hygiene needs to be significantly improved within the RNC and DNC. Additionally, people need to learn how to communicate electronically with the assumption that they are using publicly open channels.

    In other words, we’re doomed because neither of these fixes will ever be successfully implemented. The US Mail is probably a safer channel.

  64. dxq says:

    Is Chaffetz still planning on holding years of more hearings on Hillary?

  65. Hal_10000 says:


    Thank you for illustrating the problem. As long as the Democrats see this issue entirely in terms of a means to get rid of Trump, it will not be taken seriously. That the Russians may have used propaganda to support Trump does not invalidate the results of the election. People still voted. There is no sign that any election results were hacked (WI’s recount is almost complete now).

    If Trump had any integrity, he’d want this investigate — either to rebut the assertion or to repudiate Putin (e.g., so you wanted me elected? Lots of good it will do you.) I agree that this is a critical test of the Republicans and what they will do in response to Trump. The early returns are not good.

    I should note that there is a long history here. The Soviet Union spent decades influencing American politics, particularly through the funding of “peace” groups. And for all their talk of electoral integrity, “Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy ASKED the USSR to influence the 1984 election. So the Democrats can spare me Captain Renault act.

  66. george says:

    I should note that there is a long history here. The Soviet Union spent decades influencing American politics,

    And vice-versa. You could argue it’d have been malpractice if either hadn’t; what responsible leader wouldn’t want to influence their nation’s rivals politics, while trying to stop that rival from influencing in return.

  67. ltmcdies says:

    @CSK: with no basement…don’t forget that bit

  68. Modulo Myself says:


    It’s not illegal to form a peace group.

    What’s unparalleled here isn’t that Russia was behind the publishing of stolen emails. It’s that nobody in the media or the right cared that stolen emails were being published or where they came from. Getting caught bugging the DNC did Nixon in–but if he hadn’t been caught he would not have dared planting these manuscripts in the media through some fake source.

  69. Modulo Myself says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    Well, it didn’t throw the election to Trump. Nobody on the right cared about the actual facts of what was happening, which is a big deal, because what the Russians were doing (as I see it) was basically what the Stasi used to do when they would send a letter to some poor dope in the mail with pictures of the dope and a woman who was not his wife in a hotel room. Or when they broke into his apartment and hid his car keys. They were trying to make people who would be serving in the Clinton administration uneasy about how secure their lives were going to be. That’s it. There were no smoking guns. The point was simply to make public what was private. It was a dirty trick but it wasn’t dirty or a trick because at least 46% of this country is for totalitarian politics.

  70. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Modulo Myself: Yeah, but if Trump will sit back and watch while Putin increases his influence/control over the Baltic States…

    (And Trump’s position will likely be “we should let Europe handle this, it’s not our affair.”)

  71. Modulo Myself says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Why does anybody think that Trump is going to sit by and watch? Because he owes money to a Russian bank? Trust me–Trump is coming to come out of this Sultan of Brunei rich. He does not care about his debts to a Russian bank.

    More importantly, why would Putin or any human being think that Trump is a man who has principles? Nobody has any idea how he is going to react when he’s called a pussy in the media for not going to war. All of these ideas Americans have about Putin come straight from the right-wing id, where everyone in the world has the exact same 3-inch dick that your average conservative white male has. Not true. The idea that a leader of foreign country is willing to do anything to get this basic imbecile into power, where anything might happen, rather than Hillary Clinton, a somewhat known entity with her own warlike tendencies, is ridiculous.

  72. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:


    but probably aren’t thrilled to have him in power.

    This idea was explored a few days after the election. One of the commenters here noted that the Russian press ran 2 headlines a few hours apart. The first was on the order of how elated Putin was that Trump would be the next President. The second was on the order of “dog finally catches truck–panics about what to do next.”

  73. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    There is more evidence for Pizzagate than for the Russian hacked the DNC.

    Congratulations. That was remarkably baseless and content-free, even by contemporary Republican standards.

  74. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We have to ask ourselves which is worse: hoping we can restrain the worst of a Trump presidency and risking a descent into fascism and the annihilation of American prestige and power in the world? Or all of us shooting at each other.

    The thing is that if we’re going to curb Trump’s worst excesses, we’re going to have to find broad coalitions to do it. The GOP will not do it. The Democrats are too feckless. No, the opposition will have to come from us, from conservatives willing to oppose Trump despite his GOP moniker and from liberals willing to do it smartly. We can’t afford ideological purity tests anymore. If you’re against Trump crushing liberty, you’re my ally. At least on that issue.

    The institutional restraints on the presidency have been in decay for a long time. It’s long past the moment to build new ones.

  75. stonetools says:


    The idea that the Russians directly hacked into the computers counting the votes was not an object of the CIA inquiry and is irrelevant to this discussion.
    If you read the article, the intelligence agencies are reasonably certain the Russians hacked into the DNC computers.( Although its not yet established, they likely hacked into Podesta’s computer as well) They then passed the results to Wikileaks which released the emails in a manner calculated to discredit Clinton and saw discord among liberal supporters who backed Sanders. Now I have been in contact with Sanders supporters online and I can tell you that many liberals proudly admit to sitting out the election or voting third party. The reasons? That Clinton was a “horrible candidate” who “stole the primary” from Bernie and was “corrupt.” So the Russian disinformation campaign worked. Was it decisive in the swing states? In a close election, everything matters. In Michigan alone , there were thousands of Bernie write in votes.
    As for the Republicans investigating him, it won’t happen. They are too busy salivating at their lifelong dream of wrecking the social safety net. As long as they have a free hand in domestic policy, they will give Trump a license to enrich himself however he wants. That’s the deal.
    Trump will also do his part to deliver the white supremacy state his supporters (and Bannon) want, so expect voter suppression to be cranked up to 11, tough times for Muslims, and lots more deportations of the browns.
    All of those reasons are why I want Trump cut off at the pass, before he visits misery on all those melanin-rich people ( like me) who are undoubtedly going to suffer under the Trump regime.

  76. Hal_10000 says:


    Yes, I know that the DNC hacks are separate from the alleged voting hacks. What I am saying is the DNC hacks do not justify the electoral college overturning the election. Voting hacks might have. That Russia may have helped Trump does not make his election illegitimate.

    All of those reasons are why I want Trump cut off at the pass, before he visits misery on all those melanin-rich people ( like me) who are undoubtedly going to suffer under the Trump regime.

    So the ends justify the means? Since Putin was trying to disrupt our political system, let’s go ahead and disrupt it ourselves? I think you massively underestimate how much worse things could get.

  77. MBunge says:

    If the CIA is saying the Russians conducted a propaganda campaign to influence the Presidential election, there absolutely should be a very public investigation into the matter. Yes, other foreign governments try and influence American politics, policy and elections, but hacking into private US computers to do so would seem to be something far beyond the norm.

    But I’m pretty sure that none of you thought the Wikileaks stuff was really hurting Hillary when it happened and I know the mainstream media gave those revelations far less play than the Trump sex allegations. So can we not have any more of this “Russians got Trump elected” nonsense.


  78. anjin-san says:


    I know the mainstream media gave those revelations far less play than the Trump sex allegations

    Really? You “know” this?

    Then it should be simple to prove it. Please do so.

  79. Ben Wolf says:

    The problem with secret assessments with secret evidence and secret analysts is complete unreliability. People will believe it only because they want to.

    To anyone who is willing to listen: when have such assessments done anything but serve the political agendas of those who produce them and those to whom they answer? And how many times have we been down this road with our intelligence agencies only to discover the intelligence was manufactured? There’s a many decades history of these organizations publishing fiction novels and filing them in the non-fiction section of the bookstore.

  80. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Ben Wolf: Secret? This is not secret.

  81. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Modulo Myself: I am not so sure that it did not throw the election to Trump. I think that the Comey letter as well as this bit of espionage did tamp down some of the anti Trump vote. No, Trump supporters do not care if their guy is unfit for office…if they did he would not have gotten the nomination in the first place. However, I do think that this hacking helped drive up Clinton’s already high negatives and that did have an impact. Either way, it was wrong and illegal and someone in a position to investigate this should do just that. After all, a crime was committed.

  82. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Hal_10000: The fact that Trump is obviously unfit for office would justify the Electoral College overturning the election results…but they won’t do it.

  83. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: That is not true. The pussy grabbing remarks made by Trump got a lot of attention for a short time. However, the wikileaks nonsense went on and on for weeks and months. Just look at the amount of time spent on Clinton’s emails vs the amount of time spent on Trump University. Same difference.

  84. Guarneri says:

    The CIA: this report is so secret we can’t show you. But boy, it looks like……

    The Post: well, there’s no proof, but the seriousness of the charge….

    The Administration: it’s so serious we have to have James Clapper head the investigation (snicker)….to ensure “integrity” you know. And we will show you “as much as we can.” (Belly laugh)

    OTB commenters: obviously Trumps in Putins pocket – a puppet, really – and the only solution is to install Hillary Clinton. That’s the wise view.

    Get it out of your system, people. Cleanse your head………like a good dump. There is only so much Xanax to go around.

  85. rodney dill says:

    I’m pretty sure all the details will be found on the private server that Putin keeps in HIS bedroom.

  86. george says:


    It does raise an interesting point though. If they lied about what was in those emails (which wouldn’t be unheard of, during the cold war both NATO and Warsaw Pact lied about what the other side was saying all the time), then the interference would be outright pernicious.

    However, if the emails actually were as leaked, then they interferrd by telling the truth. Which is kind of interesting when you think about it. We hate it because it helped Trump (who is a tragic accident waiting to happen – or perhaps better said, a train wreck that we see coming but can’t do anything about). But in general I’m not so sure revealing true information of this kind is pernicious – giving voters more information is good.

    What should have happened perhaps is someone hacking into the GOP servers and releasing choice emails as well. Its kind of entertaining to hear what the politicians are saying behind closed doors, and I’d argue, overall its a good thing.

  87. Pch101 says:


    As long as the Democrats Republicans see this issue entirely in terms of a means to get rid of Trump Obama and Clinton, it will not be taken seriously.

    I performed some necessary repairs on your comment.

    Pray tell, why do you think the GOP voted 50+ times to repeal Obamacare and held 11 hearings about Benghazi? Do you think that they did those things because they were trying to win over converts to their left?

  88. Pch101 says:


    So it’s OK to break into someone’s house, just as long as we take cool stuff.

  89. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @rodney dill: IIRC, you’re the IT guy, so hack Putin’s server and show us whatcha got.

  90. al-Ameda says:


    OTB commenters: obviously Trumps in Putins pocket – a puppet, really – and the only solution is to install Hillary Clinton. That’s the wise view.

    Can’t you Trump folks look at the bright side? At least this report was not undertaken during the later stages of the campaign – you know, like the stunt Comey pulled to sink Hillary’s campaign. A secondary benefit is that now we have a pretty good idea as to why Trump refused (successfully) to release his tax returns – most likely because his returns would have disclosed financial debt obligations to and with Russian banks and financiers.

  91. george says:


    So it’s OK to break into someone’s house, just as long as we take cool stuff.

    Seeing as we were happy to break into Merkel’s house and take stuff (cool or otherwise – remember the phone taping), I’d argue that the international standard is yeah, its okay.

    Its also not a great analogy, given that taking something from someone denies them use of it. In this case the Russians weren’t denying the DNC use of their emails (presumably they’re still on their servers), they were just allowing the public access to it. It’d be easier to feel righteous about it if breaking into other country’s secrets wasn’t something that we did all the time too.

    Or are you really arguing its good when we break into other countries’ secrets, but bad when they return the favor?

  92. Mikey says:

    @george: I don’t recall we did any hacking with the specific objective of getting Merkel to win, or lose, her bid at the chancellorship.

    All nations engage in intel gathering, that’s a given, but what Russia did is far beyond that. You are engaging in false equivalency here.

  93. Pch101 says:


    You are engaging in false equivalency here.

    In his case, it seems to be a lifestyle choice.

  94. george says:


    If someone breaks into my house, do I care what they plan on doing with what they take?

    However, lets put that aside, and lets just look at direct interference. The Washington Post had an article listing some of the history of the United States interfering with other countries elections:

    “″ rel=”nofollow”

    And that doesn’t even list things like our interference in Yeltsin’s election.

    Again I ask – why is it okay when we did it, but not when the Russians do it? And how is it false equivalency to equate the US interfering in other countries elections with the Russians interfering in ours?

    To continue with Psych’s analogy, this is like a habitual cat burglar complaining when someone breaks into his or her house. The break-in is still wrong, but its hard to stomach the hypocrisy.

  95. michael reynolds says:


    Or are you really arguing its good when we break into other countries’ secrets, but bad when they return the favor?

    Unless you are a committed pacifist and a genuine small ‘c’ communist, nothing else is possible. Yes, of course we value our lives and our property more highly than we value some other person’s right to them. Duh. Otherwise we’d have nothing because clever people less hung up on spotting hypocrisy would take it all.

    Who are you going to feed first? Your kid, or some kid in Somalia?

  96. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree, which is what I said earlier in this thread – every leader wants to control their nation’s rivals while not being controlled by them. This is completely understandable.

    However, getting indignant about that rival trying to do the same to us reeks of hypocrisy. Better to say that we do it to them, they do it to us, so we should work on our game and make sure we’re better at it than they are.

    Sometimes false equivalencies turn out to be true equivalencies. I’d rather we just said in the past (Yelstin for example) we outscored them, this time the Russians outscored us, so we’re going to work on our game, without all outrage.

    I guess, more than anything else, I remember the cold war and the shadow of nuclear war well enough that I’d prefer not to return to that. The major countries still have more than enough nuclear weapons and ICBM’s to destroy civilization, so why increase tensions over something we do ourselves?

  97. Pch101 says:

    Theft is good because Angela Merkel must be one of the most vacuous arguments that I’ve read in quite awhile, which is saying something.

    I fully expect Russians to spy on the United States. I don’t expect American politicians to applaud the Russians for doing it or to use said espionage to help their own campaigns. (Fruit from the poisonous tree, etc.)

    And I certainly don’t expect any American to claim with a straight face that stealing from his countrymen is a virtuous act.

  98. David M says:

    Mr. Trump’s transition office issued a statement Friday evening reflecting the deep divisions that emerged between his campaign and the intelligence agencies over Russian meddling in the election. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the statement said.

    It’s worth looking at that statement again. The Bush Administration didn’t like what the intelligence agencies were saying about WMD, so they cooked the intel. Trump doesn’t like what they are saying about this, so he doesn’t believe it.

    Is there a material difference? They both just believed what they wanted to believe, regardless of the evidence.

  99. george says:


    Theft is good because Angela Merkel must be one of the most vacuous arguments that I’ve read in quite awhile, which is saying something.

    You know, some time ago we agreed I had an IQ of 80, at best a grade six education, and was incapable of constructing a grammatically correct sentence. Given that, I’m curious that you bother replying to my posts. I can only assume its because you’re so bored that trading insults with another anonymous poster is better than watching some re-run on TV.

    Seriously, why bother with insults? Our lack of respect for each other is pretty clear even without them, so what do they add?

  100. Mikey says:

    @george: This is pure whataboutism. ‘Yeah, Russia did X, but what about America doing Y!” And along with that is an implicit but unsupported assertion of acceptance of Y.

    And of course we can get indignant when X is done to us. Because it’s completely unrelated to Y.

  101. Gustopher says:

    @george: I’m less offended by the actions of the Russians than the Republicans.

    Nations spy on one another, and run covert operations of one form or another. Nations have their own objectives and interests and try to pursue those interests.

    McConnell and the other Republicans have downplayed and ignored this. The CIA doesn’t jump to conclusions willy-nilly, and break with the FBI is about motivation and goals, not what the Russians are doing.

    Comey chose to sit on this before the election, but not the emails on Weiner-Wife’s hard drive (which had not yet been verified to be anything they hadn’t seen before). There’s little apparent consistency in these two decisions regarding releasing potentially inflammatory information before the election. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he’s got some ‘splaining to do.

    This should be investigated. Both the actions of the Russians, and the actions of the Republicans.

  102. stonetools says:


    Well, it wasn’t true. True would be releasing all the emails so we could have a complete picture of how the DNC treated both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns. What happened was that they dribbled some emails showing some DNC staffers b!tching about the Sanders campaign. That’s not truth; that’s disinformation. It was done deliberately in that manner in an attempt to create maximum distrust in Sanders supporters, who had already by then been fed a narrative-that Clinton was a corrupt criminal. That narrative had been started by right wing groups as far back as April 2015 ( see the book”Clinton Cash” , published by a right wing hack) and it was reinforced by anti-Clinton left wingers who backed first Warren, then Sanders. The anti-Clinton left swallowed that narrative whole and never fully reconciled with Clinton. When the Wikileaks stuff started coming out, it gave the anti-Clinton leftists the excuse they needed to sit out the election or vote third party, which they did in enough numbers to cost Clinton losses in the swing states.
    The idea that these Wikileaks disclosures were “true’ indicates the problem American media has in dealing with disinformation. Disinformation can be selective disclosure of accurate information ion support of a particular narrative. Most reporters think their job is done just reporting something, whether its true or not. Fact checking tends not to work against disinformation unless fact checking takes into account the narrative, which many fact checkers don’t.In this election cycle, MSM was duped into being a conduit for disinformation that poisioned the ,minds of many liberal voters against Clinton. The media needs to be better about resistance to that kind of manipulation.

  103. Pch101 says:


    The internet is filled with disinformation and bad ideas because there aren’t enough of us who dismiss it for the addled BS that it is.

    Dissecting it at length provides it with a false air of legitimacy, which only enables and encourages more of it.

  104. Terrye Cravens says:

    @george: George, we did not do this…there is no comparison to be made.

  105. Ben Wolf says:

    @Terrye Cravens: Right. Witholding names, evidence and leaking a secret report is a legitimate method for being succinct.

  106. Terrye Cravens says:

    @David M: No, Bush did not cook the intel…everyone believed Saddam had those weapons. After all, he had used them…and to this day no one really seems to know what happened to them. I can remember Bill Clinton saying that not only did Saddam have those weapons…mark my words…he will use them. That is a quote. And the UN weapons inspectors said that a presumption had to be made that the stockpiles were there. In fact, they did find wmd programs, which were also illegal and they found yellow cake as well. Sarin gas too. But the stockpiles Saddam had claimed earlier were never found so far as I know.

  107. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Ben Wolf: A report was made to leading members of both parties and the GOP did not want any of the details released at all. Go talk to McConnell, maybe he will let more come out.

  108. Ben Wolf says:

    Along with Amelia Mackay, the nation of Honduras has begun to confront a truth it has long suspected – that hundreds of its citizens were kidnapped, tortured and killed in the 1980s by a secret army unit trained and supported by the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The intelligence unit, known as Battalion 316, used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves.

    Newly declassified documents and other sources show that the CIA and the U.S. Embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture, committed by Battalion 316, yet continued to collaborate closely with its leaders.

    In order to keep U.S. dollars flowing into Honduras for the war against communism in Central America, the Reagan administration knowingly made a series of misleading statements to Congress and the public that denied or minimized the violence of Battalion 316.

    These are among the findings of a 14-month investigation in which The Sun obtained formerly classified documents and interviewed U.S. and Honduran participants, many of whom – fearing for their lives or careers – have kept silent until now.

    Among those interviewed were three former Battalion 316 torturers who acknowledged their crimes and detailed the battalion’s close relationship with the CIA.

    U.S. collaboration with Battalion 316 occurred at many levels.

    * The CIA was instrumental in training and equipping Battalion 316. Members were flown to a secret location in the United States for training in surveillance and interrogation, and later were given CIA training at Honduran bases.

    * Starting in 1981, the United States secretly provided funds for Argentine counterinsurgency experts to train anti-Communist forces in Honduras. By that time, Argentina was notorious for its own “Dirty War,” which had left at least 10,000 dead or “disappeared” in the 1970s. Argentine and CIA instructors worked side by side training Battalion 316 members at a camp in Lepaterique, a town about 16 miles west of Tegucigalpa.

    They don’t suddenly get reputable when a Democrat is in the White House.

  109. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Ben Wolf: I see, so the CIA says something you don’t want to hear and it is necessary to defame the agency. The point is more than a dozen intel agencies have concluded that Russia was interfering with the election..You can argue that if you want, or you can argue that it was not about helping Trump. The point is that it is Trump who is pushing to ignore all of this..he is not looking for the truth. He is not calling for an investigation to get to the bottom of it. He even said that this hacking could be some guy sitting in his bed and not a state at all…nothing to see here.

  110. Pch101 says:

    There is the nasty side of intelligence that tends to be subject of movies and exposes, but much of it involves fairly innocuous activities such as gathering data, conducting research, reading foreign media and making maps.

    I would not assume that the guys who are connecting battery cables to humans in dark basements in Latin America are the same guys who are following internet traffic back to its source and reporting their findings.

  111. Ben Wolf says:

    @Pch101: Yes, there’s a good-guy department and a bad-guy department at the CIA. Employees have it printed on their business cards. Anyone working with IT obviously is in the former because they look too much like the cast of Big Bang Theory to do anything wrong.

    @Terrye Cravens: How many intelligence agenices concluded we had a massive missile gap with the Soviet Union and the necessity of spying on and harassing Martin Luther King, Elvis and John Lennon?

  112. Pch101 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I would rely more on the CIA World Factbook as an accurate source of data than I would count on you.

    It’s not that I’m a fan of the CIA. I’m just willing to recognize that it does some things right.

  113. Gustopher says:

    @Terrye Cravens: it’s also worth noting that it was in Saddam Hussein’s interest for people to think he had WMDs, right up until the moment it wasn’t.

    The belief that he had WMDs was a deterrent. Not enough of a deterrent to balance the fear he would get more WMDs, mind you, but a deterrent. The opposite situation as the secret doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove.

    One of the lessons of the Second Iraq War was that rogue nations better get nukes fast, because a small pile of chemical weapons was not going to be deterrent enough. And now we have a nuclear armed North Korea, and Pakistan has increased their arsenal. Huzzah.

  114. Thomas Weaver says:

    Funny thing about this whole load of crap: The FBI can’t find a thing…and why all this when in 1984, Ted Kennedy asked the Soviets for help interfering with an election then…

  115. David M says:

    The FBI agrees on the source of the hacking, they only partially disagree on the motivation.

  116. Pch101 says:

    @Thomas Weaver:

    The Kennedy-Soviet story is BS generated by Rush Limbaugh.

    Politifact gave the story a “False” rating.

    Moral of the story: Don’t ever expect Rush Limbaugh to get it right.

  117. Mikey says:

    I never thought I’d see the day the party of Ronald Reagan would be making lame excuses for the actions of the Russian government actively interfering with an American Presidential election.

  118. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Weaver:

    Funny thing about this whole load of crap: The FBI can’t find a thing…and why all this when in 1984, Ted Kennedy asked the Soviets for help interfering with an election then…

    It is hard to believe but, you guys are actually slightly more credible when you’re making up stories like Hillary Clinton is running a child sex slave operation out of a pizzeria in D.C.

  119. george says:


    So, do you feel rebutted, or think that others will feel you to be rebutted, if I call you an idiot in return? I’d argue that what you write speaks for itself. If someone agrees with what you write, then my calling you an idiot won’t change their opinion. Neither will it if someone disagrees with what you write. The insult might be personally satisfying (though in a very attenuated way, given we’re just anonymous names on a forum), but adds nothing.

    There’s a reason insults are rarely used in scientific and engineering fields – they’re both unnecessary (what an idiot says is more than adequate to disqualify their thoughts) and harmful to the general discussion (trading insults is rarely a useful means of moving an analysis forward).

    Or, if you prefer, consider the saying: “If your opponent is making a mistake, don’t interrupt.” If I’m spouting nonsense (quite possible, in science you learn that even things we’re absolutely certain of might be mistaken – consider the recent discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, I would have bet my house against that several decades ago), it should be evident to all, and the best tactic would be to let me carry on, as what I say will discredit itself far more effectively than the trading of insults, which will mainly act to distract from my ridiculous ideas.

    Quite outside from our low opinions of each other, I’ve always been curious about why people bother with insults on an Internet forum. In disputes between people who know each other there is a (perhaps regrettable) emotional satisfaction to insults. But between anonymous strangers there’s no emotional element – neither of us has any reason to care about the other’s low opinion, nor will anyone of the other anonymous people reading. We’re all strangers. So what do you get out of it?

  120. george says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    We haven’t interfered in other countries’ elections? Really?

  121. george says:


    And of course we can get indignant when X is done to us. Because it’s completely unrelated to Y.

    I suppose that’s a personal reaction. For my part, I find it hard to get indignant about someone interfering in unwanted ways in my life if I’m simultaneously interfering in unwanted ways in their life. I think a more common (or at least, more understandable) reaction is to redouble the effort to stop them, but without the moral hypocrisy of indignation.

    We and the Russians have been interfering in each other’s gov’ts since at least 1917. Getting indignant about it is not only pointless, but dangerous, given that we’re both nuclear superpowers.

  122. george says:


    I agree the statements were deliberately exposed out of context – they were an attempt to influence the election. We’ve interfered with other countries internal affairs as well (including, or perhaps given the nature of our relations to them since the end of WW2, perhaps especially the Russians).

    However, the statements releases seem to have actually been true, as opposed to fabricated. The Russians could have made imaginary statements and passed them off as leaks (there’s been a lot of such fake news in this election, it probably helped Trump’s election); however, it doesn’t seem like they did so.

    Moreover, the DNC could have released the full context; the best means of combating misinformation of limited context is to release the whole context. This is what is being done, for example, against the various climate change deniers who will take a single result (ie a blizzard) as proof that the climate isn’t heating up. The climate scientists respond by giving a broader context, that shows how individual cold events fit into the larger picture of global warming.

  123. george says:


    I’m less offended by the actions of the Russians than the Republicans.

    I’m in complete agreement. What the Republicans are doing is siding with a rival against their country. I’m just arguing that the indignation against the Russians is pointless or worse.

  124. Pch101 says:


    If I offered some of the half-assed analogies that you are inclined to use and then doubled-down on them when others dismissed them as straw men, then yes, I would expect to be ridiculed.

  125. al-Ameda says:


    I’m in complete agreement. What the Republicans are doing is siding with a rival against their country. I’m just arguing that the indignation against the Russians is pointless or worse.

    I find this to be a, potentially, a very very interesting story.

    The Russians clearly hoped to influence our election, and they had a clear partisan political preference. They hacked both parties and that they chose to damage/compromise one Party – the Democratic Party.

    I’d love to see – but will not because Republicans control Congress – an investigation that merges Russian hacking with disclosure of Trump’s tax returns. I like the notion that there could very well be links between information in Trump’s returns and Russia’s decision to aggressively support Trump by hacking and potentially damaging the Clinton candidacy.

    That would potentially be a wonderful story.

  126. george says:


    I don’t mind being ridiculed on line – personal attacks invariably signify an inability to attack the argument itself, and in engineering and scientific circles its considered a good sign. If someone persists in say the ridiculous the approach is simply to ignore them. For instance, if I went onto a math forum and stated 2+2=5 I would receive one or two corrections, and if I persisted I would simply be ignored; no one would bother insulting me, my nonsense would be allowed to stand for itself. Similarly on physics forums people come by to argue against relativity and the second law of thermodynamics (generally with some idea of a perpetual motion machine); they are ignored rather than insulted, because insulting them is seen as an admission that their argument is hard to disprove.

    Now consider that you’ve said that I’m an uneducated idiot who is incapable of constructing a grammatically correct sentence, an assessment I’ve never argued against. Given that, don’t you find it odd that you waste time in replying?

  127. george says:


    I suspect there’s something in that; Michael Reynolds suggested it as well. I certainly agree that the hacking is something that the NSA and CIA should look into. However, it should be aimed at the Republican party, rather than starting another round of the cold war atmosphere between the United States and Russia.

    Of course Russia is going to try to interfere with our elections. Of course we’re going to try to interfere with theirs. That’s like two hockey teams trying to score goals on each other – its what they do. However, when some of your players are helping your opponents, you investigate your players, but without blaming your opponents for trying to take advantage of it.

    The last thing we need is the kind of anti-Soviet hysteria we had the last time around; it simply doesn’t help. Shore up our defenses against hacking, expose the Republicans, but without getting our population and the Russian population to see each other as someone who has to be destroyed.

  128. Pch101 says:


    If you want a more lengthy rebuttal, then you’ll have to earn it.

    On this thread, you’ve argued that stealing from politicians is good, so congratulations for achieving a rare feat of being vapid and amoral at the same time.

  129. george says:


    If you want a more lengthy rebuttal, then you’ll have to earn it.

    That’s exactly my point. If you go onto a physics forum and start arguing for perpetual motion machines you’ll be ignored – you haven’t earned a response.

    You feel that my comments here are on that level, and yet instead of ignoring me you respond. The responses are personal insults, but they’re responses none the less, and do nothing to counteract my comments, since an insult is simply an indication of personal dislike which means nothing.

    On this thread, you’ve argued that stealing from politicians is good, so congratulations for achieving a rare feat of being vapid and amoral at the same time.

    See, that’s better, you’re making a statement about my comment – that its amoral and vapid. I’d argue that my comment was actually that leaking personal correspondence isn’t stealing (its still a crime, but as it hasn’t deprived the original user of the material it isn’t theft – this is a fairly heavily debated issue in a wide range of digital communications), and sometimes is actually a public service (the whole wikileaks debate centers about that – its a long discussion without anything like consensus). However that’s besides the point, you’re still centering on what I said rather than personal statements about my lack of education and intelligence. Since you’ve said you don’t feel that stupid statements should be left unchallenged, doesn’t it strike you that you accomplished more with this statement than just calling me an idiot?

  130. Gavrilo says:

    I remember when the People’s Republic of China was illegally funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1996. I remember when both FBI Director Louis Freeh and the lead Justice Department investigator recommended a special prosecutor, yet Janet Reno refused. I remember how the Democrats in Congress had zero interest in any investigations, attacking the investigations led by Dan Burton and Fred Thompson. I remember when Bill Clinton said that the Chinese attempt to influence the election would not, in any way, alter his policy of openness with Beijing. I remember when Clinton later approved the transfer of sensitive missile technology to China.

  131. al-Ameda says:


    I remember when both FBI Director Louis Freeh and the lead Justice Department investigator recommended a special prosecutor, yet Janet Reno refused.

    I remember that Janet Reno appointed Kenneth Starr to be the independent special prosecutor and subsequently Bill Clinton was investigated for 5 years and impeached by a Republican House.

  132. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Ameda: And yet, not on charges related to the China influence issue… Hmmmm…

  133. Eric Florack says:

    Does anybody remember Ted Kennedy sending a letter to the Russians back in 1984 trying to delegitimize the election of Ronald Reagan?
    Does anybody remember the hell-raising that Al Gore brought to the table over his losing the election?
    There’s more to this list of course but you get the point I think. It’s impossible to look at the current situation without examining the history of the thing.
    And by the way let’s also remember that several laws were broken to provide the Russians with uranium. And now based on what Hillary Clinton’s people are saying it was the Russians that caused her to lose the election? I don’t think so.
    Even if we ignore this, does anybody really think that if the Russians were going to hack the election that they would allow Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote?
    I mean, look. Anybody who’s read anything I’ve written in the last year knows full well that I am no way a Donald Trump supporter. The fact of the matter is that absent Hillary Clinton’s criminality there is no way Donald Trump wins the presidency.
    And isn’t that the real Point here? We’re not just talking about covering up a political loss. We’re talking about muddying the water to prevent prosecution for criminality on a scale seldom seen at these levels of government previously.
    Stalin you see taught his lessons well.
    At the end of the day all this is about muddying the water so as to prevent effective prosecution. The Democrats know full well that there is a chance albeit a small one, that Donald Trump will actually have the stones to respond to the public outcry for Democrat blood.
    If you doubt me on this, ask George Zimmerman about the value of a narrative that is well entrenched before facts show up.

  134. Pch101 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Does anybody remember Ted Kennedy sending a letter to the Russians back in 1984 trying to delegitimize the election of Ronald Reagan?

    I remember posting a link to the Politifact article that rated that claim as “False.” It’s not far above you.

    You right-wingers are a gullible lot who could use some research skills. You go out of your way to be misinformed.

  135. davod says:

    “I remember posting a link to the Politifact article that rated that claim as “False.” It’s not far above you.”
    Politifact. Please. He didn’t put the letter in the post. Kennedy sent a personal messenger with the information.

  136. Pat McBride says:

    If indeed the Russians are guilty of disseminating the Wikileaks material, they have done the media’s job. They also evened the playing field per se..

  137. Eric Florack says:

    @davod: Democrats certainly are a GH ullable lot….Aren’t they?

  138. bob says:

    @CSK: The idiot who’s reporting this fake news will be gone and replaced

  139. Matt says:

    @Eric Florack: Al Gore gave up and pissed off a bunch of Democrats because he didn’t seem willing to fight for it. You’re delusional..

    The uranium mine deal was approved by 9 different government agencies and regulators. The company doesn’t even produce that much Uranium in the USA. The USA is a net importer of Uranium and none if it that is mined here is allowed to leave.

    You are either incredibly dumb and gullible or intentionally spewing forth bullshit that is barely related to reality…

    Either way it’s not worth my time to continue refuting your complete pile of poo.

    EDIT : My favorite part is how you try to frame Russia’s attempts at influencing the election as “hacking”. Pushing propaganda through mouth pieces like Wikileaks (which has been a Russian pawn for some time) social media and such isn’t “hacking” the election. They “hacked” emails and various other websites…