I was tremendously impressed by the news broken by The Intercept, confirmed by NBC, and run by many outlets (but not Breitbart), that President Trump had the good sense, awareness and moxie to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with former NSA official William Binney to discuss a report by Binney and a group of former intelligence professionals that directly challenges the whole "Russian hack" story. Bottom line: it was a "leak" from the inside, not a "hack" from the outside.
Of course, such analysis blows up the political narrative we are supposed to accept by rote: "The Russians" cyber-invaded the DNC and John Podesta's email account to help Donald Trump win the election; thus, the narrative goes, Trump's election was "delegitimized."
Further reflection is discouraged; demands for evidence are ignored. Never mind that "Russian hacking" is a narrative set by Podesta and Robby Mook within 24 hours of Hillary Clinton's defeat; never mind it was a DNC contractor, not the FBI or any or official agency, that determined it was the Russian government that extracted thousands of DNC (also Podesta) emails and placed them, via Wikileaks and other outlets, in the public domain; never mind any of the other data points that link up into questions that no one should be asking because the Intelligence Community has spoken...! (Insert collective glare & pursed lips of perjurer and former DNI James Clapper, Communist Party voter and former CIA Director John Brennan, and longtime Clinton fixer and ex FBI director James Comey.)
Now back to Trump, Binney and the CIA.
It has been excruciating to watch President Trump isolate himself inside a White House where he is all but alone when it comes to wise and savvy ones committed to the America First agenda. We hear accounts of how his information, his news, are severely limited; how his meetings are, in effect, monitored by his COS. The Oval Office itself sounds more and more like a neoclassical cage with the Swamp lapping at the edges. In this extremely important case, however, Trump seems to have cut straight through to the Binney report. Most important, instead of just tweeting about it, he actually called on CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with Binney for a briefing, and it happened.
This, in our current context, is great and heartening news.
The Intercept explains:
In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.
A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging. The Intercept’s account of the meeting is based on interviews with Binney, the senior intelligence source, a colleague who accompanied Binney to CIA headquarters, and others who Binney told about the meeting. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.
Binney said that Pompeo asked whether he would be willing to meet with NSA and FBI officials to further discuss his analysis of the DNC data theft. Binney agreed and said Pompeo said he would contact him when he had arranged the meetings.
Next, The Intercept seems to go on Deep State defense:
It is highly unorthodox for the CIA director to reach out to someone like Binney ...
It is particularly stunning that Pompeo would meet with Binney at Trump’s apparent urging, in what could be seen as an effort to discredit the U.S. intelligence community’s own assessment ...
It is possible Trump learned about Binney and his analysis by watching Fox News ... In August, Binney appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show ...
Oh no -- not that. Anything but that ...
Recovered, somewhat, The Intercept continues:
Binney said he is not sure how Trump found out about his analysis.
However the meeting came about, the fact that Pompeo was apparently willing to follow Trump’s direction and invite Binney to discuss his analysis has alarmed some current and former intelligence officials.
“This is crazy. You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor,” said one former CIA officer.
No, we're not pushing a political campaign masquerading as "intelligence" based on thinnest evidence, are we?
Binney’s claim that the email theft was committed by an insider at the DNC also helps fuel one of the more bizarre conspiracy theories that has gained traction on the right: that the murder of a young DNC staffer last year was somehow connected to the data theft.
Note to The Intercept: Julian Assange has all but confirmed this, mentioning Seth Rich by name in a discussion of the significant risks his sources take. More recently, Donna Brazile writes that she was haunted and also frightened after Seth Rich's murder in the summer of '16, fearing that maybe "the Russians had played some part" in the unsolved crime -- although, come on, Donna, if the Russians hacked the DNC, remotely, themselves, why would they consider Seth Rich or anyone else on the inside any kind of threat, especially one requiring something as extreme as assassination?
Speaking of the late Seth Rich:
Binney said he mentioned the case of Seth Rich to Pompeo during their meeting. ...
Sure must have been an interesting conversation.
As The Intercept story goes on, however, it starts to sound more and more like a Clapper or a Brennan type talking.
I'll just quote one more chunk that seems particularly hand-fed.
The meeting raises questions about Pompeo’s willingness to act as an honest broker between the intelligence community and the White House, and his apparent refusal to push back against efforts by the president to bend the intelligence process to suit his political purposes.
Instead of acting as a filter between Trump and the intelligence community, Pompeo’s decision to meet with Binney raises the possibility that right-wing theories aired on Fox News and in other conservative media can now move not just from conservative pundits to Trump, but also from Trump to Pompeo and into the bloodstream of the intelligence community.
At the very least, this is one bizarre way to twist a meeting between Pompeo and Binney, a 30-year NSA official and former director of the agency's World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, who resigned after 9/11 to become a whistleblower on the US government's unconstitutional domestic surveillance programs. It is simply not rational, let alone fair, to describe his report as "right-wing conspiracy theories aired on Fox News" -- unless the goal is to smear all concerned, except the hallowed and infallible "IC."
In a follow-up by the Washington Examiner (there is still nothing at Breitbart), we learn that Pompeo was not impressed, at least not officially. That is, perhaps he is worried about Seth Rich's murder, too. Or maybe he really is the creature of the Deep State that he has already appeared to be. Who knows?
The Examiner reports:
CIA Director Mike Pompeo still believes Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee, the agency said Tuesday amid reports that Pompeo met a skeptic at President Trump’s urging.
William Binney, who worked more than three decades at the National Security Agency before stepping down as technical director in 2001, met with Pompeo on Oct. 24 to discuss a July report he co-authored suggesting DNC emails were leaked, rather than hacked.
“I thought it was a pretty good hourlong meeting,” Binney told the Washington Examiner. “He said that the president said I should talk to you for facts.”
Binney believes U.S. spy agencies “took a wild ass guess” in January when they blamed Russia for hacking the DNC and that "if they had any evidence, they would show it." The report he co-authored says download speeds make it likely someone leaked DNC files after downloading them locally, rather than hacked them over the internet.
“He just wanted to know the facts that we could explain to him,” Binney said about the meeting. “It seemed to me that was his entire objective. In other words, he wasn’t getting the facts from the intelligence agencies.”
Pompeo, however, was unswayed. “The Director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.
Boyd declined to confirm that the meeting happened, but the Intercept, which first reported it, cited an unnamed official confirming that it happened at Trump’s request. ...
(Isn't this routine -- we decline to confirm or deny that a meeting happened or didn't happen because we're so hush hush we can't hear or not hear anything or nothing -- getting a little old? After all, We, the People, do pay you guys. The least you could do is confirm one lousy meeting.)
The Examiner offers a few more intriguing details (from Binney) of the meeting.
During the meeting, Binney said the CIA director asked him if he also was willing to meet with the FBI and NSA, but that meetings have not yet been scheduled. Two special assistants to Pompeo took notes, he said.
Binney brushed off Pompeo’s Tuesday statement standing by the January intelligence assessment blaming Russia, saying, “he’s an ex-politician, right? He’s in the government and a member of it. So I’m sure he feels he has to stand by until he can prove otherwise.”
In addition to discussing the report focused on download speeds, Binney said he mentioned to Pompeo claims made by others contrary to the official account.
Binney said he told the CIA director that WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange claimed no government was involved in sharing the DNC files and that Assange-associated former U.K. ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray claimed to have participated in a physical handoff of files in the woods behind American University. Binney said he also raised the theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich had some involvement, though Binney said he’s not sure if there’s anything to that scenario.
I bet the "IC" just couldn't wait for Binney to leave the building. Another moment or two and the whole construct might have come down in a heap.
Where does this all go, if anywhere? Does Trump have any follow-up in mind? Does he have a new director in mind? (Hey, how about Binney ...?) Are things moving behind the scenes?
I am wondering if this Law Newz story is part of a similar trend in unfolding Trumpian strategy. The story reports on the forced resignation late last month for unknown reasons of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente. Lefty Harvard Law Prof Lawrence Tribe has expressed his concern via Twitter that the resignation of Boente, whose position is fourth in line to the AG, had something to do with setting up Robert Mueller's firing. If ever a compromised public official required firing, it's Robert Mueller and ASAP, although that is not what Tribe is getting at in his tweet.
Let's hope and pray Trump is setting up something. Otherwise, it seems certain that the Swamp will set Trump up. And there goes the whole America First enterprise.