•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Did America’s top spy release Russian disinformation to help Trump?

01:05  02 october  2020
01:05  02 october  2020 Source:   vox.com

Democrats ask for investigation into election disinformation targeting Latinos in Florida

  Democrats ask for investigation into election disinformation targeting Latinos in Florida House Democrats are asking the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to probe the alleged widespread disinformation that appears to be targeting Hispanic voters in Florida, a key voting bloc that will play an outsized role in the battleground state.Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), who herself is locked in a tight reelection fight, and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, sent a letter to the FBI Wednesday sounding the alarm over reports of a spike in the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories in the Sunshine State over both Spanish-language social media pages and radio channels.

Trump says after FBI docs reveal agents bought liability insurance during Flynn probe. The news made a splash among the president’ s supporters and other Russiagate skeptics, one of whom observed that the timing of the events described in the declassified material dovetailed seamlessly with the timetable

Trump retweets Russian propaganda about Biden that US intel agencies say is intended to By retweeting material that the US government has already labeled as propaganda -- and doing so with the Trump ' s amplification of this disinformation comes as Biden is set to accept the Democratic

It sure looks like the guy who’s in charge of the entire US intelligence community is selectively declassifying unverified intelligence to make Democrats look bad ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. John Ratcliffe wearing a suit and tie: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on May 5, 2020, in Washington, DC. © Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on May 5, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Even worse: The intelligence, at least in the minds of some critics, may actually be Russian disinformation.

Here's what was true and what was false from the first debate

  Here's what was true and what was false from the first debate As Trump and Biden attempted to make their points on the debate stage in Cleveland, NBC News fact-checked their claims in real time.NBC News fact-checked their statements in real time. For full coverage, visit the debate live blog.

Trump praised pro - Russian leaders in Europe. On several occasions, Trump has praised controversial far-right European leaders who have been shunned by most US officials because of their close ties to Putin. Trump met at the White House with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a top Kremlin ally.

The Kremlin has played down U. S . media reports of a CIA spy inside Russia ' s presidential administration, calling it "pulp fiction".

In a letter sent on Tuesday to Sen. Lindsey Graham, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe — a former Republican congressman from Texas and a staunch ally of the president — declassified information relating to the FBI’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Here’s the core of the disclosure:

In late July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.

Trump's call for poll watchers sparks fears of voter intimidation

  Trump's call for poll watchers sparks fears of voter intimidation Election officials and voting rights experts are sounding the alarm over potential election chaos and voter intimidation in November after President Trump urged his supporters to monitor the polls on Election Day.During Tuesday night's presidential debate, Trump issued a call to his base to go to polling stations and make sure ballots aren't "manipulated.""I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that'sDuring Tuesday night's presidential debate, Trump issued a call to his base to go to polling stations and make sure ballots aren't "manipulated.

Trump was led to falsely believe that Rep. Adam Schiff was fed exclusive information that could help Democrats if released publicly. Trump decided to replace his top spy chief after his aide told Congress that Russia is interfering in 2020 to help Trump win.

My fear is there may be Americans that are unwittingly promoting that Russian disinformation campaign, and I think they need to be briefed so they don’t become, frankly, agents in effect of this disinformation campaign.

Let’s be clear about what this says: America obtained information that Russian spies believed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign fabricated ties between Trump and the Kremlin, but the US intelligence community couldn’t confirm whether that was true because Moscow may have just made it up.

In other words, Ratcliffe acknowledged he released material that would likely be harmful to Clinton and the Democrats — and helpful to Trump — without knowing its veracity.

But it gets worse: Recent news reports have revealed that Ratcliffe declassified the intelligence against the advice of nonpolitical, career US intelligence officials who feared his doing so “would give credibility to Kremlin-backed material,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Donald Trump v. Joe Biden Debate Turned Stomachs But Didn't Change Minds in This Battleground County

  The Donald Trump v. Joe Biden Debate Turned Stomachs But Didn't Change Minds in This Battleground County Last night's raucous presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden did little to change the minds of voters in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a county that the president won in 2016 after it went twice for Barack Obama.David Thole, of Wright Township, tuned in to the debate hoping to hear about the issues, especially from Biden, but was disappointed, like many Americans, with the dearth of civility as the candidates interrupted and talked over each other.

But Ratcliffe added that American intelligence agencies do “not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” Ratcliffe responded with a second statement claiming the intelligence was not Russian disinformation .

The Russian intel was about a plan 'to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security Ratcliffe acknowledged the U. S . ' does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Democrats howled and said it was Russian ' disinformation '.

As DNI, Ratcliffe doesn’t have to listen to his subordinates, of course. But the reporting further suggests that Ratcliffe, who fiercely defended Trump during the impeachment hearings as a then-member of Congress, prioritized Trump’s political interests over the interests of, well, the entire country.

The letter went public mere hours before Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off in the first 2020 presidential debate. And, intentionally or not, the disclosure had an immediate impact: During the debate, the president mentioned what Ratcliffe released. “You saw what happened today with Hillary Clinton, where it was a whole big con job,” he said.

All of this is deeply troubling and threatens to politicize the intelligence community at a time when untainted, clear information is at a premium. “He has declassified information for patently partisan reasons, and he has done so in an underhanded manner,” said John Sipher, who ran the CIA’s Russia operations during a 28-year career in the agency’s National Clandestine Service.

In one fell swoop, then, Ratcliffe may have tainted the reputation America’s spy agencies try so hard to build. “The damage to US intelligence will be difficult to undo for years,” said Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, DC.

‘All the red flags’: Political analysts warn of U.S. election violence in November

  ‘All the red flags’: Political analysts warn of U.S. election violence in November With President Donald Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power in the event that he loses the upcoming election and violent clashes already unfolding in a number of states, political analysts are uniquely fearful as November approaches. Asked last week to commit to conceding should the November 3 election go in favor of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump again cited unfounded claims about mail-in ballots leading to widespread voter fraud in justifying his reluctance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Donald Trump win the presidential election, a US intelligence report says. The unclassified report says the Russian leader "ordered" a campaign aimed at influencing the election. Moscow has not commented, but Russia has previously denied the claims.

intervened to help Trump and no proof that this has changed since DNI director James Clapper’ s conclusion on November 17th that Russia had no role in “This violates all protocols and it’ s almost as if people in the intelligence community are carrying out a disinformation campaign against the

“Among the worst sins of a professional intelligence officer”

Perceptions of the intelligence community as a whole are positive only when it’s seen as an apolitical entity offering unbiased, fact-based information to policymakers.

That information is typically presented only when America’s intelligence agencies have verified and placed it within a broader context to help government officials — from the president on down — make informed decisions.

Trump’s intelligence chief, who took the job after the impeachment hearings, broke that cardinal rule.

“Ratcliffe’s actions are among the worst sins of a professional intelligence officer,” Sipher told me. “They know that a single piece of information is meaningless without having the necessary context. To release one piece of information without providing context is unprofessional and damages the reputation of our intelligence community.”

To understand why that’s the case, it’s apt to use the metaphor of a puzzle here.

It’s hard to see the full picture by looking at just one of thousands of puzzle pieces. Once they’re mostly in place, the final image becomes clear and evident to all. The same, roughly speaking, goes for intelligence. One piece is good, but more pieces are better. And if spies can show a policymaker the entirety of the puzzle image, it’s easier for them to make informed decisions.

Fact check: Claim that Trump's positive COVID-19 test result is a 'con' has no basis in fact

  Fact check: Claim that Trump's positive COVID-19 test result is a 'con' has no basis in fact A claim suggesting President Trump will politically leverage his positive test result includes speculations that aren't proven. We rate the claim false.President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to confirm a positive COVID-19 test result.

That’s why many experts were surprised by Ratcliffe’s decision. It’s the job of intelligence officials to present as full a picture as possible to their intended customers, not just hand over a single piece and say, “Here you go, make of it what you will.”

Let’s go a step further: What if that singular puzzle piece isn’t from the set at all? What if someone purposefully slipped in a piece that looks like it fits but doesn’t? Well, the earlier that piece can be discounted and discarded as not being part of the actual puzzle you’re trying to put together, the better.

That’s what Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee did. The Clinton-related nugget Ratcliffe declassified didn’t feature at all in the panel’s five-part report on how Russia interfered in the 2016 election. That’s not to say the committee was unaware of the tidbit or dismissed it entirely, but it clearly didn’t fit into the overall picture.

This is partly why the administration’s critics immediately seized on Ratcliffe’s decision.

“It’s very disturbing to me that 35 days before an election, a director of national intelligence would release unverified” information coming from Russia, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the New York Times.

After all, it’s entirely possible Russia wanted the US to “find” that puzzle piece to mislead American spies. Russian hackers aimed to sow discord in the US during the 2016 election, and few things would ratchet up tensions more than having the government believe Clinton created an explosive conspiracy theory to beat Trump.

President Donald Trump and his staff have defied CDC coronavirus guidelines 23 times since Sept. 1

  President Donald Trump and his staff have defied CDC coronavirus guidelines 23 times since Sept. 1 Since Sept. 1, Trump and other key White House officials have violated CDC coronavirus guidance at least 23 times, according to a USA TODAY analysis.President Donald Trump and members of his administration have often flouted guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to a review of news events by USA TODAY.

Ratcliffe defended his decision hours after releasing the letter, saying in a statement the intelligence he declassified “is not Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the intelligence community.” He then provided a briefing on the sources behind the snippet just for Graham — and no Democrats — on Tuesday night, the Times reported.

Even if Ratcliffe is telling the truth about the intelligence, declassifying it obscured more than illuminated and clearly provided Trump and his allies a weapon ahead of the biggest event in the 2020 election season so far. And he did so even as multiple US agencies say Russia is once again interfering to aid the president’s reelection chances.

That’s not the work of an impartial intelligence chief. That’s the work of a crony.

Help keep Vox free for all

Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.

U.S. Intel Repeatedly Warned About Rudy’s ‘Russian Agent’ Pal .
At the end of an elegant dinner in May 2019 in downtown Kyiv, Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach handed a thick packet of papers to a former senior U.S. official he’d known for years. The packet was unremarkable in its presentation, the papers clipped on the top and crunched in the corners. The packet bore no insignia, title, or index page, and did little in the way of intriguing the former U.S. official. It wasn’t until months later that the official read through the pages. What was more remarkable was that U.S. intelligence had, for over a month, warned that Derkach was a stalking horse for the Russian security services and their attempts to interfere in American politics.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 1
This is interesting!