I told you so. In 2018, I wrote: “How long will the investigation into the 2016 cyber-intrusion into the Democratic National Committee servers remain open and ongoing? Perhaps forever. Because that’s how long the Department of Justice needs to thwart congressional oversight of the embarrassing details of the dubious origins of the investigation.”
Of the many reforms that need to happen in the wake of the Justice Department’s inexcusable interference with the peaceful transfer of power from Barack Obama’s to Donald Trump’s administration, one of the most urgent is reigning in the Justice Department’s ability to protect itself from scrutiny and oversight by placing a matter “under investigation.”
The Russia collusion hoax poisoned intelligence, diplomacy, and journalism for three years as professionals sacrificed their credibility and independence on the altar of “get-Trump.” As evidence continues to trickle out, a picture is emerging that shows the debacle was a hoax from the very beginning.
Let’s start with the claim that started it all, that we “know” Russia stole Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks. The media assigned the term “conspiracy theory” to any questioning of the flimsy evidence blaming the Russians for the DNC email theft. Of course, blaming the Russians was always the opposite of the truth.
We didn’t “know” the Russians stole the DNC emails. The DNC’s subcontractor, CrowdStrike, did not follow its own recommended procedures in fingering the Russians. CrowdStrike “mitigated” the intrusion before a third party could verify its assessment, in violation of its own recommended procedures. The mitigation efforts trampled evidence making it impossible for anyone to reconstruct CrowdStrike’s analysis.
Now we have learned that the House, for years, has concealed a 2017 transcript of a shocking admission from CrowdStrike: that while it found malware on the servers it suspected being of Russian origin, it could not verify that the emails were actually taken using that malware. The Russians denied stealing the emails. Wikileaks denied getting the emails from the Russians. Furthermore, as I noted in 2018, the same law firm (Perkins Coie) that hired Fusion GPS to frame President Trump for colluding with the Russians also hired CrowdStrike to investigate whether the Russians stole the DNC’s emails.
So it’s time to ask the question again: Is it possible that the DNC and/or CrowdStrike would falsely accuse the Russians of cyber-espionage? The answer is yes, and there have been not one, but two subsequent cases in which the Russians were falsely accused of hacking.
The first came almost immediately after the DNC email hack that CrowdStrike pinned on the Russians. In December of 2016, CrowdStrike accused the Russians of hacking software used by the Ukrainian military to control artillery. But that analysis was savagely discredited from several corners. CrowdStrike was forced to walk back several of its accusations. Keep in mind, that CrowdStrike accused precisely the same Russian hacking figure, Fancybear, of hacking both the Ukrainian artillery and the DNC servers.
The second came in 2018 during the Alabama senate race. As reported by the New York Times, Democratic operatives “created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians,” and linked “the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter.” Astonishingly, Democratic operatives admitted, “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.”
We now learn that the intelligence community politicized the intelligence to reach the conclusion that Russia preferred Trump over Clinton. In retrospect, it made little sense at the outset. The Russians had already invested millions of dollars in the Clintons, apparently in exchange for access and official actions by Clinton while she served as Secretary of State. Trump, on the other hand, did express interest in warming relations with Russia but remained (and remains) an unpredictable wild card who did not have a history of using political office to “pay for play” with foreign interests.
I’m not the only one who smelled a rat. Shortly before special counsel Robert Mueller released his report, I asked a friend of mine what it would contain. “One of two things,” she texted back, “lies, or nothing.” Matt Taibbi put it differently: “Russiagate is this generation’s WMD.”
There’s one important difference, however. The Bush Administration probably got carried away in an echo chamber of self-reinforcing politicized intelligence. George W. Bush likely didn’t know that his intelligence was wrong. In contrast, the Russia collusion hoax conspirators got to the bottom of any legitimate investigation in January 2017, almost four months before Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel.
Viewed in hindsight, we can now understand that Mueller was never appointed to find anything. His purpose was tokeep the leaks and smears coming for two years while shielding the conspirators from congressional and presidential oversight.
But our greatest disgust must be reserved for the man charged with overseeing intelligence community abuses, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Not only did he fail to address any intelligence abuses with hearings or oversight, he also collaborated with the bad actors. And he kept the real evidence of Trump’s innocence secret while lying about it to the American public. No wonder he delayed releasing the CrowdStrike transcript until now.