When Andrew Klavan refers to a story in the New York Times on his daily podcast he always adds the qualifier “a former newspaper”. They seem determined to prove him correct. In their zeal to control the narrative, they are beclowning themselves, again. Clearly they assume everyone takes the view that history started in November of 2016.
RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA
Yesterday the paper breathlessly reported a leak from a classified briefing of Congress about election interference. We are clearly back to the RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA portion of the narrative and they learned nothing from Bolton’s book leak. However, the rest of the demented press dutifully picked up the story as well as their spin. However a reading of the actual text leaves questions.
First, their subtitle makes it clear the culture of leaking is far from fixed.
One has to wonder how many of Eric Ciaramella’s friends have the cellphone number of a Times reporter, but I digress. However, since many of them now work for failed screen writer and Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, this continued drip out of hearings in front of said committee is hardly surprising. Especially since the frustrated bard can’t help but tweet about the exact same issues leaked to the Times. Weird, yet almost thoroughly predictable at this point.
Second important point, the Democrats could not weaponize this briefing fast enough despite the framing of President Trump’s concerns as unfounded. Third thing to note is the text of the story hardly matches the headline. Here is how this “new information” was characterized in the body:
History Didn’t Start Yesterday
Does anyone think this is new information? Russia has been interfering in our domestic politics since the end of World War II. We lived through a national nightmare beginning in 2016 because the Clinton campaign and the DNC injected Russian disinformation into our electoral and law enforcement processes. Reporting on Russian interference online demonstrated they sought to increase division through posts. The majority of these ads were purchased after the election according to Facebook executive Rob Goldman.
The only place “Putin wanted Trump” appeared was as one of the 4,357 reasons Hillary says she lost. And of course the “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was cobbled together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as Obama was packing his bags. However, after a lengthy investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not make the case in court for interference in 2016 being tied to Putin or the Russian government. Yet that narrative persists today ignoring the actual testimony of the social media companies and others.
Like John Durham, I am acutely interested on how this “assessment” was made. Especially since left-wing heroine and Russia expert Fiona Hill took a different view. If you begin reading on page 386 of the transcript she is clear in her response to Representative Raskin. Russia’s goal is to amplify divisions in our politics. Race, religion and corruption are all examples she gives of information the Russians and others, such as China, will exploit to keep us angry and fighting. On page 399, she explicitly states:
I firmly believe he was also targeting President Trump, and he was targeting all of the other campaigns as well. And I think that that was the mistake when the 2016 investigations were launched, not to take it from the point of view what Russia was doing to target Americans, no matter who they were in the system.
Hill’s view is supported by hacking attempts aimed at the RNC in the same timeframe as the DNC. These have been dutifully ignored or erased from public memory. However:
RNC emails were stolen through the same spearphishing scams used against Democrats,” a senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the investigation told RealClearInvestigations. “In fact, prominent Republicans were targeted and similarly victimized by the disclosure of sensitive emails during the campaign.
The New York Times notes that Republican objections to the newest assessment were made during the classified hearing.
None of these objections are wrong. Several Twitter users added additional commentary:
Or a Bloomberg, a Buttigieg or a Biden. Any of the Democrat contenders have far less aggressive foreign policy views on countries like Iran. Many have vowed to cut military spending. And just about all of them want to implement policies that would impair our recently acquired energy independence in homage to Gaia.
One also has to wonder why this “briefing” was given and why the leak of the contents of a classified briefing happened in such close proximity to outgoing Director of National Intelligence being replaced by Acting Director Richard Grenell. One of the first priorities for Acting Director Grenell and his assistant Kash Patel needs to be closing down the leak factory currently operating in the halls of D.C. The preemptive “bombshell” by the Times is clearly seeking to discredit any of the work these two men do.
The Last Paragraphs
As is typical with The New York Times, the last paragraphs of a long read is typically the most accurate. They count on their readers being lazy and just ingesting a horribly misleading headline.
So it looks like Dr. Hill and Rob Goldstein were probably the most accurate in their assessments of Russian activities in 2016. It also appears The New York Times is doing the Russians’ work for them by selecting a narrative that does exactly what our intelligence agencies have warned about. Serving up a whispered narrative from unethical staffers to serve as a cudgel for their own political target, the President. Meanwhile, lawmakers await the details that support the “intelligence” community’s preferred narrative.