Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Don's Tuesday Column

         THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   1/10/2017

           CIA, Russia—not all it seems

Regarding the charges, accusations and intelligence on “Russian hacking” in the election: The consensus seems to be that Russians hacked the emails of the Democrat National Committee and DNC/Clinton operative, John Podesta. Remember that in the history of intelligence agencies’ analysis, accepted “slam dunk” narratives today often become tomorrow’s “blown calls”.
A number of revelations have emerged from meetings and memos provided to Obama’s people, Donald Trump and appropriate Congressional committees. Aside from the damaging, even damning, email documents released by Wikileaks (founder Julian Assange has insisted, for what it’s worth, they did not come from the Russian Government), we find a not-particularly-shocking fact that Russia did for Russian interests what American CIA operations do for American interests: meddle in the political affairs of other, particularly adversarial, nations.
Let’s all agree that when our guys do it—it being the full range of clandestine activities deployed in foreign lands to protect America and undermine America’s enemies—it’s usually ok. “Usually” allows that some find such things to be reprehensible or illegal. However, we can all be outraged by and condemn those activities, methods and tactics when used by foreign actors against our fair nation. We all tend to cheer our team and boo the other teams. “Some” (meaning mostly Democrats) tend not to cheer our team and don’t always boo other teams.
Starting with the CIA, the record of “blown calls” is lengthy. In “Why Are the Media Taking the CIA’s Hacking Claims at Face Value?” James Carden of The Nation (preeminent voice of the left for decades) wrote, on December 15, “The high-profile anchors and analysts on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC who have cited the work of The Washington Post and The New York Times seem to have come down with a bad case of historical amnesia. The CIA, in their telling, is a bulwark of American democracy, not a largely unaccountable, out-of-control behemoth that has often sought to subvert press freedom at home and undermine democratic norms abroad.”
“Americans like the regime-change theorist Michael McFaul (later Ambassador to Russia from 2012-14) interfered in order to keep the widely unpopular Boris Yeltsin in power against the wishes of the Russian people. For its part, the CIA has a long history of overthrowing sovereign governments the world over.” According to the historian William Blum, the CIA has “attempted to overthrow or suppress over 70 governments, grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries, dropped bombs on people of 30 countries and attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.” Each of those actions might be arguable on the merits; The Nation’s progressive bent must be considered; vilification of the CIA is generally a leftist project.
“Consulting the CIA’s historical record, one is confronted by a laundry list of failures, which includes missing both the break-up of the Soviet Union (during the 1980s a CIA deputy director by the name of Bob Gates called the USSR ‘a despotism that works’) and the 9/11 attacks. In the years following 9/11, the CIA has been caught flat-footed by, among other things, the lack of WMD [DP: stockpiles] in Iraq (2003); the Iraqi insurgency (2003); the Arab Spring (2010); the rise of ISIS (2013); and the Ukrainian civil war (2014).
“More recently, CIA Director John Brennan made false statements before Congress over the CIA’s hacking into the computers of Congressional staffers.”
Roger L. Simon reminded us that the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, (who just testified to Congress for the Obama/Democrat/news media-preferred narrative of Russian hacking to elect Donald Trump), “blatantly lied to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on March 13, 2013.” Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper answered repeatedly with an emphatic “No.” Months later, Edward Snowden (who, together with WikiLeaks’ Jullian Assange, have questionable motives but invariably accurate disclosures) “revealed to the world that the NSA was collecting just such data on those millions of Americans via our cellphones.”
My informed theory is that Russia, Putin et al 1) didn’t think Trump would win any more than 95 percent of America’s pollsters and observers did; 2) set about, assuming a Clinton win, to meddle in our political contest by revealing embarrassing (to Democrats and Hillary) emails; and intended to 3) assure that, upon becoming President Hillary Clinton, they (the Russians) would have an American leader damaged and well aware that even more embarrassing and destructive revelations could be deployed if she didn’t play well with Putin.
It makes sense. What also makes sense is that Russia wanted to undermine faith in the integrity and results of our election; the efforts to undermine Donald Trump’s legitimacy by Democrats serves that exact purpose. Yes, the Democrats are the real Putin “useful idiots.”
           Carden: “In 1977, Carl Bernstein published an expose of a CIA program known as Operation Mockingbird, a covert program involving “more than 400 American journalists who…have secretly carried out assignments for the CIA.” CIA documents revealed that “journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations…One can see that there isn’t much need for a covert government program these days. 
           "The (Russian hacking/election interference) stories show that today too much of the media is all too happy to do overtly what the CIA had once paid it to do covertly: regurgitate the claims of the spy agency and attack the credibility of those who question it.”

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