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Russiagate’s Unasked Questions

Call me confused. Last week’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on possible Trump associates’ collusion with the Russian government, which featured FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, provided very little new information even as it confirmed troubling revelations that had already appeared in the media.

If the FBI began its investigation of team Trump in late July—after the nomination process but before the election—and the Trump campaign office was located in Trump Tower, doesn’t that confirm that Donald Trump is right when he insists that his office was “wiretapped” during the summer even if his word choice was not apt? And given that former Central Intelligence Agency head John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) chief James Clapper have been most frequently cited as the Obama administration’s possible bag men in arranging for the generation, collection, dissemination, and leaking of information disparaging to Trump, why weren’t they also being questioned?

For the overall vapidity of the proceedings, I’ll go with Politico [1] on what were plausibly the high points. In an article that could have been written before the actual event transpired, Politico editors concluded that: Comey is no Trump lackey; that Trump’s words matter; that Republicans are mostly interested in leaks; that Democrats can smell blood; and that the investigation could take a while.

But as a qualifier for those observations, which really don’t tell us much, one might be better served by paying attention to the comment of Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who observed in his opening remarks: “Let me be clear, I’ve been saying this for several weeks. We know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

Two days later Nunes elaborated [2]: “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on U.S. individuals involved in the Trump transition. Details about U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports.”

Pat Buchanan made the same point [3], noting in addition that only two crimes are known to have been committed: first, someone hacked into email accounts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and those of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, and second that someone in the national security apparatus leaked to the media either a highly classified transcript or a summary thereof relating to a series of conversations between soon-to-be national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Buchanan accepts that the Russians did the DNC hack. Although no evidence has been produced confirming that judgment, I agree with him that everything else is speculation. He also notes that Comey and former DNI James Clapper agree that, in spite of eight months of investigation, no evidence has been developed that ties any Trump campaign official to inappropriate behavior with the Russians.

The issue of Russiagate itself appears to be receding as it becomes clearer that there is little or no danger of exposing any Manchurian candidate-type collusion, even though inquiries will undoubtedly drag on into the summer. Last week, President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Even former CIA acting director Michael Morell, an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter who once described Donald Trump as an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” has now recanted and conceded that [4], “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all.”

Regarding the FBI investigation itself, someone in the White House had to authorize such a highly sensitive initiative as it is difficult to conceive that the Bureau would undertake such a task on its own without any political cover. Comey, for his part, failed to provide a roadmap and refused to either confirm or deny whether the White House knew or authorized the investigation of the Trump associates—just as he would neither confirm nor deny whether President Obama had received a copy of the transcript of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations. Indeed, the FBI Director spent most of his time refusing to confirm or deny anything [5].

Comey’s words are significant. One should recall that he is both a lawyer and the head of a federal police agency that has been under fire. He said [6], regarding Trump tweets claiming that former President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, that “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” adding that “no individual”—not even a president—can unilaterally order a wiretap. NSA Director Mike Rogers also testified that [6] “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity.” Comey would not state whether or not an investigation of intelligence community leaks to the media, most notably the Flynn phone calls, were being investigated.

The comments “I have seen nothing” and “I have no information” are not the same as saying something did not occur. And we now have confirmed that there was, in fact, an investigation starting well before the election. As interviewing Trump associates or their alleged Russian contacts during an electoral campaign was presumably not an option, any investigation into whether Trump’s team had been colluding with the Russians would involve electronic surveillance of communications into and out of the campaign committee offices in Trump Tower.

If there is confusion, it appears to come from use of the word “wiretapped,” with its implication of a concealed microphone or transmitter inside the building, as Nunes noted. But that is no longer how electronic surveillance is done. The Bureau and/or the NSA would have been able to intercept phones and internet communications remotely from communications servers or from special facilities that tap directly into the telecommunications switching facilities—something that they do routinely in both criminal and national security cases. The recording of the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador may have been obtained in that fashion, whether by the Obama administration, presumably either covertly or with the consent of the White House, or by the British.

Meanwhile, holes are beginning to appear in the claim that the Russians were behind the DNC hacking. The FBI was not allowed to examine the Democratic party servers that were allegedly targeted and the reports on accountability came from a contract security company called CrowdStrike, which claimed that the malware used against the DNC was related to malware employed by the Russians in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government, no friend to Russia, as well as a highly reputable British think tank, are now claiming [7] that the allegation is untrue, as is the narrative built around it. Take away the CrowdStrike report and there is no publicly available evidence whatsoever that the Russians were behind the hacking. This is not to say they didn’t do it, but it is yet another indication that verification of claims is lacking.

♦♦♦

Last week, Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano was suspended [8] after claiming that British intelligence was involved in a possible plot to bring down Trump. One might note that the New York Times itself revealed the possible British link on March 1, when it reported [9] how the “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking.” The article confirmed European intelligence service involvement in the Trump-Russia investigation, but somehow the possibility that a foreign agency might have collaborated with rogue elements in the United States to pursue a certain objective has somewhat fallen out of favor.

The foreign angle is intriguing. Contrary to FBI Director Comey’s claims, the U.S. president can authorize surveillance [10] of anyone using the authorities he already has. But if one is engaging in politically-inspired underhandedness, it is far better to use misdirection in doing so. A foreign connection can be an enabler. This can be accomplished by routing the desired information through friendly liaison services, especially those among the “five eyes”—Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Mike Rogers’ lawyerly response [6] to allegations about British involvement in the snooping on Flynn and possibly others was, “I’ve seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity, nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity.” Again, it was the wrong answer to the wrong question, which should have been, “Did the British provide any information related to the investigation of Trump and Russia?” And, “If so, what was it, where did it come from and how was it conveyed?” The British, for their part, have denied any collaboration, issuing a statement [11] that, “Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct wiretapping against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.” Again, since no one might actually have been asked to initiate a surveillance—only to hand over material already collected—the response can be seen as technically correct but somewhat evasive.

There are some rules in place at NSA and FBI, which can be circumvented, for collecting information on American citizens. But the British obviously have no problem in doing so. They also have access to most NSA collected material as well as their independent resources from GCHQ and MI-6, both formidable intelligence organizations. In practice, friendly intelligence services share information without always going through the bureaucratic loops involved in normal liaison. Agreements on sharing intelligence are routinely violated to allow liaison partners to obtain information that would be constitutionally or legally protected in their own countries. GCHQ would have had considerable information on Trump and it certainly ought to have enjoyed particularly good access to the phone calls made by Flynn from the Dominican Republic on networks used by Cable and Wire, a British company. And then there is the Christopher Steele “dossier” [12] on Trump, which, for all its faults, was clearly prepared with some access to UK intelligence files.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, describes [13] how he has been

led to believe that maybe even the Democratic Party, whatever element of it, approached John Brennan at the CIA, maybe even the former president of the United States. And John Brennan, not wanting his fingerprints to be on anything, went to his colleague in London GCHQ, MI-6 and essentially said, “Give me anything you’ve got.” And he got something and he turned it over to the DNC or someone like that. And what he got was GCHQ MI-6s tapes of conversations of the Trump administration perhaps, even the President himself. It’s really kind of strange, at least to me, they let the head of that organization go, fired him about the same this was brewing up. So I’m not one to defend Trump, but in this case he might be right. It’s just that it wasn’t the FBI. Comey’s [also] right, he wasn’t wiretapping anybody.

Wilkerson is referring to the highly unusual abrupt resignation of the Director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan, which took place on January 23. The British Official Secrets Act has meant that there has been little speculation in the UK media about the move, but I and others have wondered [14] if it is somehow connected to possible collaboration with U.S. intelligence officers over Donald Trump.

So there remain more questions than answers when it comes to Russiagate, possible campaign associates’ collusion with Moscow, and the alleged connivance in some circles to delegitimize the Trump presidency. For those who enjoy the continuing soap operas there will certainly be much more to come. But as the two political parties strive to promote their own respective narratives of criminal leaks versus possible treason (neither of which might prove to be demonstrable), the American public might be in for a long, hot spring and summer as the propaganda machines grind and spit out their non sequiturs.

I personally believe, based on what I have observed and read, that no Trumpster did anything indictable; that the Russians were indeed behind the DNC hack but were not trying to destroy our democracy; that Brennan arranged with the Brits to obtain the surveillance information, which he then leaked; and that Obama knew all about the investigation of Trump and probably worked with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to have the Justice Department initiate it. But what do I know?

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

37 Comments (Open | Close)

37 Comments To "Russiagate’s Unasked Questions"

#1 Comment By John S On March 27, 2017 @ 7:28 am

” But the British obviously have no problem in doing so.”
They ought to, doing so would violate the terms of the Five Eyes treaty.

Mr. Giraldi overlooks one possibility in his summary of possible ways in which information about DJT may have been gathered: through incidental collection gathered via a FISA warrant granted to monitor the communications of a Russian bank.

#2 Comment By Jim Bovard On March 27, 2017 @ 8:34 am

Excellent analysis. Hopefully the pundits and editorial writers will pay attention & cease saber rattling.

#3 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 27, 2017 @ 10:02 am

Judge Napolitano said: “The statutes authorize the President of the United States to order the surveillance of any person in the United States – without suspicion, without probable cause, and without a warrant – meaning he doesn’t have to go to a court to do it. So he can order the NSA, which already has the digital version of our phone calls, to transcribe the digital version into a transcript and give it to him. But if he does that, there’s a record of the order. So three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA. He didn’t use the CIA. He didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use Department of Justice. He used GCHQ. What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database. So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this.”

[15]

Philip Giraldi believes that Larry Wilkerson’s sources have it right: That rather than President Obama, “that Brennan arranged with the Brits to obtain the surveillance information, which he then leaked.”

Whether it was President Obama or CIA Director Brennan who asked GCHQ for the surveillance information, going the GCHQ route meant that there was no “record of the order” – there were “no American fingerprints on this.”

#4 Comment By Tim D. On March 27, 2017 @ 10:20 am

… Trump asked on live television for the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails and pass them off to our gullible media. For all his faults, Trump understands our political system better than many. His administration doesn’t need knee-deep ties with the Kremlins to collude with them, or the other far-right, nationalist nutjobs in other countries (e.g., France).

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 27, 2017 @ 10:29 am

Minor correction: Cable and Wireless

#6 Comment By john On March 27, 2017 @ 10:47 am

BS, Trumps tweets created the image of Obama in a baseball cap and tool belt rummaging around in the electrical closet at Trump tower.

What we have now learned is “The Russian embassies phones are bugged” so if you talk to the Russians you are on tape.

That is quite a different thing.

#7 Comment By RANDALL BAUGHMAN On March 27, 2017 @ 10:51 am

Whistling past the graveyard. I recall Chris Wallace, at the within-the-hour release of hack emails that followed Trump’s “p—y-grabbing” boast, saying “The timing of this release certainly seems designed to counter the release of the tape”.

#8 Comment By Joe F On March 27, 2017 @ 11:02 am

I do not agree with the basic assertion that because they have not yet ended an investigation that has taken over 6 months means they have no evidence, they haven’t even conducted one interview as of yet, so way too early to say it is a dry hole. Secondly, it seems pretty clear how Trump officials may have turned up on surveilled calls. They were speaking to individuals being watched by IC, which shouldn’t necessarily cause alarm as many transition officials (Trump and Obama) would likely have these conversations as part of their job, but Flynn was different because of his interfering with policy before they took office. As far as the assertion that the only illegal act was someone leaking the call about Flynn falls short because it excuses Nunes behavior of discussing the existence of a FISA warrant, a revelation which itself could be criminal and his sharing of sensitive information with the target of a potential criminal investigation. Occam’s Razor seems appropriate here and this post seems to try to work around what is currently known to arrive at the conclusion that there is nothing here and everyone should move on, except finding the leaker of the Flynn call, which is exactly the wrong way to go. Let the investigation finish and evaluate the merit of their findings

#9 Comment By Jim Bovard On March 27, 2017 @ 11:32 am

I especially appreciated the deft use of semicolons in the final paragraph. Reminds me of how David Hume carved graphs that beautifully captured the ideas behind the great political controversies of English history.

#10 Comment By JonF On March 27, 2017 @ 12:06 pm

Left out of this rather breathless attempt to “prove” Trump allegations is a more obvious possibility: federal agents, in the course of routine surveillance of foreign agents in the US, stumbled upon contacts between them and members of the Trump campaign.

#11 Comment By Mary On March 27, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

The whole piece is just disinformation through and through. Not a single REPUBLICAN member of the House Intelligence Community (including Devin Nunes) expressed any doubts that Russia had hacked the DNC and John Podesta. This is also the unaninmous conclusion of the CIA, NSA, and FBI. You have to be an accomplished conspiracy theorist to doubt this conclusion, even just going by public evidence alone. And “Russiagate” is not going away. Nunes compromised himself by discussing his investigation with its target rather than the committee (this may qualify as obstruction of justice) — as a result, the pressure for a special prosecutor or independent commission is only growing. And it’s false that there are only two crimes. 1) Sessions lied under oath about meeting with Kislyak. 2) Flynn violated the Logan act by discussing sanctions before he took office, lied about it to Pence and everyone else (including 3) probably the FBI, which is a criminal offense), and 4) also violated the constitution by accepting $33,000 from Russia Today for his attendance at the event where he sat next to Vladimir Putin. And 5) Manafort appears to have accepted illegal payments from Ukrainian friends of Putn.

I would be happy to provide links to coverage of all of these stories to those who haven’t been following along, if you want. But for the author of this piece, I think you need to start with the basic fact that Russia did indeed hack the DNC and Podesta, and there is no one in either political party who disputes this, because the evidence is very clear:

[16]

#12 Comment By icarusr On March 27, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

Article already dépassé – check Kushner ties to Russian bank.

But good try :>

#13 Comment By Ben Stone On March 27, 2017 @ 2:40 pm

I agree with “john”. Trump’s ill-advised shoot from the hip Tweet clearly implied a ridiculous hyperbolic scenario where Obama was basically clipping wires in the Trump Tower basement.

And anyone trying to “clarify” that for us is a cultist fool.

#14 Comment By collin On March 27, 2017 @ 5:05 pm

Of course Comey said very little but does anybody have any idea what the Heck Nunes is doing the last two weeks? Without the Healthcare Bill, it would have been bigger news and his behavior is bewildering to say the least. Anyway I still Russia story boils to:

1) There is lots of smoke and Trump’s campaign and administration can’t shut up or stop leaking. This is no a competent or dedicated crew.
2) The legality of of ties suspected with Manafort, Flynn or Stone are concerning and may have broken minor laws.
3) Trump is not getting impeached but this still does not end well for Trump. Having key campaign people tied so much to Russian becomes like HRC e-mails for critics.

#15 Comment By Junior On March 27, 2017 @ 5:23 pm

Great article!

In my opinion, what was truly learned from the hearing wasn’t what was said, but what WASN’T said. The fact that not one of the Republicans asked directly about whether there was any surveillance being conducted on Trump speaks VOLUMES, especially Nunes not asking specifically about surveillance after he made it such a point to include in his opening statement the difference between wiretapping and surveillance. It was also very telling that when Schiff asked Comey and Rogers about it, he stuck to EXACTLY the wording of Trump’s tweet so that they could deny antiquated wiretapping instead of surveillance.

Another question not specifically asked was whether they are aware of any foreign entities conducting surveillance on Trump, as Mr. Giraldi points out.

“Take away the CrowdStrike report and there is no publicly available evidence whatsoever that the Russians were behind the hacking. This is not to say they didn’t do it, but it is yet another indication that verification of claims is lacking.”

And add also to this the “Umbrage” program revealed by Wikileaks which proves that hacks can be made to appear to come from foreign entities, and the case for “Russia did it” becomes even more unverifiable.

As much as the MSM would like to brainwash people into believing that he is, Trump is NOT a stupid man. Does anyone hear actually think that he didn’t know that Obama would be using every dirty trick in the book to spy on him? Do you really think that he or even Flynn for that matter, who knows EXACTLY the capabilities of our IC, would have been doing anything illegal over a phone or computer?

It is my belief that Trump set this whole thing up as a way to bring down the Obama operatives in the Deep State. I think that Flynn fell on his sword on purpose to help Trump do this. One of my main reasons for my belief is the November meeting that Rogers of the NSA had with Trump a week after Trump won. Rogers did not tell anyone about his plans to have this meeting and right after it Ash Carter and Clapper were calling for Rogers to be fired. With Trump keeping Rogers on after the election and Rogers apparent cooperation according to Nunes now, I wouldn’t doubt in the LEAST that Rogers would have made Trump aware of the illegal surveillance at that meeting if Trump didn’t ALREADY know or at the very least suspect about it. I believe that the whole Flynn thing was set-up to bring everything to light. I also believe that the Republicans at the hearing were told not to ask Rogers and Comey specifically about surveillance so that they could later unload on Brennan and Clapper instead.

I believe that my theory has some sound reasoning behind it though I know that it may seem far-fetched to some who probably think that I should have pitched it to Steven Spielberg instead of posting it on TAC 😉 but I ask you, is it any less crazy than what has already occurred in the past year? Seems pretty tame to me. 🙂

#16 Comment By Whine Merchant On March 27, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

“I personally believe… But what do I know?”

Well, from your article I know that you are a conspiracy monger and prone to Trumpian pseudo-logic. Genuine ‘wink-wink’ and best-defence-is-an-offence support for a president who appears to disengage his frontal lobes when sending out bizarre tweets.

#17 Comment By James Collins On March 27, 2017 @ 7:32 pm

If you’re going to speculate before an investigation of evidence reaches conclusions, you may want to consider the timeline of curious events over the last 12 months, as well as the 6 Trump associates with interesting connections to Russia. There’s more smoke every day. [17]

#18 Comment By Andrew Nichols On March 28, 2017 @ 12:11 am

Meanwhile, holes are beginning to appear in the claim that the Russians were behind the DNC hacking. The FBI was not allowed to examine the Democratic party servers that were allegedly targeted and

And they have made NO attempt whatsoever to interview Craig Murray who received the information to pass to Wikileaks.

#19 Comment By Brother Nathanael Kapner On March 28, 2017 @ 2:35 am

John McAfee, creator of the anti-virus, says that Russia did NOT “hack” the DNC.

SEE: [18]

#20 Comment By stinky rafsanjani On March 28, 2017 @ 5:20 am

this is not a duplicate comment

1. yes, the embassy is monitored. all embassies are monitored. they know it. we know it. flynn (former head of dia) knows it. every non-encrypted call or email is collected and analyzed in real-time.

2. flynn was fired for allegedly misleading pence as to the content of the calls. we are “told” he was discussing sanctions which he denied. transcript conveniently not released.

3. the rooshins are NOT responsible for the dnc “hack.” there was NO hack that led to release of emails. that was a LEAK, an inside job. note that every intel agency….russian, chinese, israeli, french, AND us “hacked” into the dnc servers. (and hillary’s, in case you forgot!) that is their job.

#21 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 28, 2017 @ 8:01 am

I think this is called covering your tracks.

One has erred and simply doesn’t have it in them to admit it.

Never mind the damage left in the wake of faux accusations.

#22 Comment By The Colonel On March 28, 2017 @ 9:49 am

the problem with the investigation as it’s proceeding is that every utterance of firm conviction without evidence is taken as confirmation of everyone’s worst scenario.

whether or not any actual facts emerge is really beside the point.

#23 Comment By Benign On March 28, 2017 @ 10:48 am

Julian Assange stated quite emphatically that the source of the DNC hacks was not Russia. What about that do you not understand? I trust Julian Assange to tell the truth more than the US government. Nice trolling, just enough doubt left to keep the issue alive.

#24 Comment By Michael Kenny On March 28, 2017 @ 1:13 pm

Does any of this matter? “No evidence” counts in a court of law. It doesn’t count in the court of public opinion. The President of the US must not only be clean, he must be seen to be clean. No evidence of guilt is not proof of innocence and, in the eyes of the public, Trump must prove his own innocence and that of his cohorts. As long as Trump or any of his people are suspected of disloyalty to the US, claims that there is “no evidence” will merely reinforce suspicion. Trump needs to make a clean break with Putin, particularly in regard to Ukraine and NATO. Certainly, he hasn’t yet done anything favourable to Putin and has done quite a few things which are very unfavourable to him but his continued verbal equivocation undermines the value of such conduct as proof of his loyalty, all the more so as it has encouraged Putin’s American supporters to believe that Trump can somehow be “turned” and will ultimately give them the capitulation to Putin that he are hoping for.

#25 Comment By Ken Hoop On March 28, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

I see you are probably British, Mr. Kenny.
I’m hoping Scotland goes independent and leases its bases to Russia.
I also hope this magazine’s founder, Pat Buchanan gets it wish that NATO be dismantled.
Nothing would serve the U.S. better than leaving Europe.
Nothing would serve Europe better than a grand deal and amity between Paris-Berlin and Moscow.

#26 Comment By Richard Steven Hack On March 28, 2017 @ 6:19 pm

I’ll reiterate what I’ve said here before:

1) There was NO DNC “hack”. There was a LEAK.

2) The Democrats became aware of the leak months before it was revealed.

3) On the suggestion of Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American with ties to the Ukraine Embassy and in turn to right-wing nationalist Ukraine parties who were in turn connected to Ukrainian hacker collectives, the DNC called in CrowdStrike, headed by an anti-Putin Russian emigre who is a member of the Atlantic Council, a rabid anti-Russian organization. The goal was to cover up and muddy the waters on the LEAK by blaming it on a HACK by Russia, in line with the general anti-Russia tone of the Clinton campaign.

4) CrowdStrike did one of two things:

a) They falsified the “evidence” of a hack which never occurred to point at Russian hackers, OR

b) They “validated” the “evidence” of a Russian hack which was in fact conducted as a “false flag” operation by Ukrainian hackers who left behind false indicators pointing to Russia.

5) CrowdStrike also used their $150,000 no-bid contract with the FBI and the fact that one of CrowdStrike’s officers is a former Assistant Director of the FBI to convince the FBI not to examine the DNC servers. This violates the basic rule of computer forensic investigation: you absolutely HAVE TO see the servers. The FBI abdicated its reponsibility to investigate this Federal crime to an organization known for its anti-Russian bias.

6) There is ZERO non-circumstantial, non-spoofable evidence pointing to Russia hackers. EVERYTHING CrowdStrike has produced as “evidence” has been debunked as circumstantial and spoofable. In other words, the probability that “Russian hackers” – let alone a Russian intelligence agency – would have left ANY of that evidence is almost zero.

7) Unlike what Phil says, this is not “speculation”. The notion that the Russians hacked the DNC and left behind ridiculous amounts of “evidence” is worse than speculation – it’s nonsense. Anyone with serious knowledge of the computer security or intelligence fields should know this.

8) Instead of Russia influencing the election via hacking, the situation is the exact opposite. It is the Ukrainians who tried to influence the election by setting up a false flag operation to blame Russia. This was almost certainly done with the collusion of the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and CrowdStrike.

9) I’m disappointed that Phil has bought into a bill of goods regarding Russia guilt on this issue.

10) Trump needs to investigate this situation. If it can be proven that the DNC, the Clinton campaign and CrowdStrike colluded with Ukrainian nationals to influence the US election using fraud on this level, the lot of them could be sent to Federal prison.

#27 Comment By Benign On March 28, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

Michael Kenny proposes that an executive’s foreign policy should be responsive to unsubstantiated rumors and slander. That’s the ticket!

#28 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 28, 2017 @ 9:24 pm

“Trump needs to make a clean break with Putin, particularly in regard to Ukraine and NATO.”

The current President didn’t have anything to with NATO”s and EU miscalculations. The Ukrainians never should have been encouraged to topple their democratic system. They should have been reminded that democracy can be a slow pain in the derriere. That less bureaucracy is more. That less violent turnover is healthier. That the popular will does have a place, but it also has a time. Democracy is not a cure all. It may be the worst possible system for some states.

i love Brits. I have generally consider them more reasoned that we in the US. But this obsession with Russia is baffling. I don’t understand it in the US either.

#29 Comment By Tom On March 28, 2017 @ 11:27 pm

Assange has made it clear that a foreign actor was not the source of the DNC emails leaked to Wikileaks. Does Mr. Girardi not believe Julian Assange who has a 10 year record of accuracy in his release of originally sourced material.

#30 Comment By MrsDK On March 29, 2017 @ 6:19 am

This article, to quote a man who knows, is arrant nonsense.

And to anyone who trusts Assange more than your fellow citizens who give their lives to protect you — please be aware that you are the dupes of foreign intelligence services.

#31 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 29, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

“And to anyone who trusts Assange more than your fellow citizens who give their lives to protect you — please be aware that you are the dupes of foreign intelligence services.”

I am simply waiting for a case as opposed to a lot of accusations. I am even waiting for a plausible scenario as to what the Russians did.

There’s no evidence the Russians hacked the DNC. People believe that, but, there’s not much of a case. And if they did so, how that would impact the election. Suppose the Russians gave them advice. What’s the crime. What’s the interference. Suppose, I get election advice from a firm in Tasmania. Unless, there is evidence that they obtained information fraudulently and gave to me and I knew they had obtained it illegally — it’s a so what.

Sec Clinton wasn’t defeated by secret data. Her record and the issues were on the record and expressed openly. Even the Julienne Assange info was hardly to have reached most voters.

But it never fails among the powerful and connected, start losing an argument or lose an argument and the accusations seem to suffice. All that education, supposed intelligence, and the best response is a personal attack. Never mind the accuracy, the context, the truth and relevance.

Have a case make it. If the country’s in peril, and you know it make the case. Stringing matters out for theater and point making defeats the purpose of Russian threat to our democracy.

#32 Comment By Richard Steven Hack On March 29, 2017 @ 9:34 pm

I’ll add that in addition to Julian Assange, Craig Murray has revealed that he knows who the leaker is because Murray was one of the intermediaries who transmitted the leaked data to Wikileaks.

Has Phil forgotten this – or does he have reason to think Murray is lying? By all accounts I’ve seen, Murray is considered an ethical individual.

People who believe the statements of the CIA, NSA and other KNOWN AND PROVEN LIARS are the ones being EASILY duped by intelligence agencies.

#33 Comment By Anti-Empire On March 30, 2017 @ 4:12 pm

If Trump’s wording “wiretap” was inappropriate, then so was the wording of the NYT in their top of page one headline on Jan. 20, a wording that appeared in the article.
Otherwise a superb article.

#34 Comment By MB On March 31, 2017 @ 1:31 pm

Lemme see, how does it go, what do we know?

Well first off, we know because we are told by our NYTimes betters that Russia hacked the elections.
Then it was Russia that hacked the DNC servers.
(Funny that. Delusions of grandeur, anyone?)

And we come to find out the DNC hacked Bernie’s candidacy. Hmmm.
(Speaking of the electoral college and “democracy”, what’s all this about the DNC superdelegates appointed by the same with your average Dim voter only electing 50% of the delegates?)
As well the DNC hacked the media auditions phony “debates” along with the editorial staffs of the WaPo and NYT. Hmmm.

Then the latest I heard yesterday was that according to the hearings, Natasha and Boris hacked Twitter.
Well, I’ll be.
Maybe that will convince the D there’s got to be a better way to conduct fireside twitchats. Sharing a bully pulpit with Boris is definitely not the way to Make America Hate Russia Again.

How do we know anything about the United Surveillance States of Amerika and our electronic praetorian guard?

Because the whistleblowers, Assange, Snowden, Manning, Binney and others have told us that with Stellar Wind, the Patriot Act, Carnivore, Prism and FISA essentially the 4th Amdmendment can be sidestepped and the war on the Constitution Terrur/Druggs can be won.

The Russians are guilty until proven innocent along with you too, little grasshopper, so shut up and let those that know better run things into the ground.
You know, like the media and the DNC.

Yeah, I wonder about the present admin, which often enough seems to have a debilitating case of ‘shoot yourself in the foot in your mouth’ disease, but they did after all win the election two against one, so by default they’re gonna get the nod.

#35 Comment By MM On June 8, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

Randall: “I recall Chris Wallace, at the within-the-hour release of hack emails that followed Trump’s ‘p-y-grabbing’ boast, saying ‘The timing of this release certainly seems designed to counter the release of the tape.”

He may have said that, but the facts don’t bear out that sequence of events. Which is why it became a talking point that Secretary Clinton continues to repeat to this day. In fact, the timing was the other way around

Per the managing editor at Real Clear Politics:

[19]

“Clinton also accused WikiLeaks of timing the release of the first batch of John Podesta’s emails to coincide with the release of the “Grab ‘Em By The P—Y” tape. It should be well known for those who witnessed the events of 2016 that the WikiLeaks dump was not timed to coincide with the Access Hollywood tape, but in fact it was the other way around. It was well-known at the time that WikiLeaks was planning to dump files about the Clinton campaign ‘by the end of the week.’ Certain parties had been sitting on the Access Hollywood tape for more than a year, before releasing it on the Friday afternoon which ended the week in which WikiLeaks had promised to publish. For Clinton’s assumption to be true, WikiLeaks must have been aware of the Access Hollywood tape before it was released, which seems impossible. On the other hand, WikiLeaks publicly stated many times that they were going to release a bombshell about the Clinton campaign, which would have served as a warning to release a counter-tape.”

#36 Comment By connecticut farmer On June 8, 2017 @ 1:46 pm

Interesting. Several questions arise:

1.) We hear the word “Russians”. But “who” are the “Russians?” The government? Or individuals not connected with the Russian government at all?

2.)Apropos of the now-infamous meeting between Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix: What did Bill Clinton know and when did he know it? And what did Loretta Lynch know and when did she know it?

#37 Comment By Just Dropping By On June 8, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

Why is the TAC front page suddenly filled with old Giraldi stories? If somebody wants to do a line-up of “Russiagate” articles, they should add another sidebar to the front page.