Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The CIA Had Evidence - And Didn't Share It

The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.

The briefings indicate that intelligence officials had evidence of Russia’s intentions to help Mr. Trump much earlier in the presidential campaign than previously thought.


It was not until early December, a month after the election, that it became publicly known in news reports that the C.I.A. had concluded that Moscow’s motivation was to get Mr. Trump elected.

So how is the CIA not also complicit in that effort?
The former officials said that in late August — 10 weeks before the election — John O. Brennan, then the C.I.A. director, was so concerned about increasing evidence of Russia’s election meddling that he began a series of urgent, individual briefings for eight top members of Congress, some of them on secure phone lines while they were on their summer break.


In an Aug. 25 briefing for Harry Reid, then the top Democrat in the Senate, Mr. Brennan indicated that Russia’s hackings appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election, according to two former officials with knowledge of the briefing.

The officials said Mr. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election.
So how are eight top members of Congress, including Harry Reid, not also complicit?
In the August briefing for Mr. Reid, the two former officials said, Mr. Brennan indicated that the C.I.A., focused on foreign intelligence, was limited in its legal ability to investigate possible connections to Mr. Trump. The officials said Mr. Brennan told Mr. Reid that the F.B.I., in charge of domestic intelligence, would have to lead the way.

Days later, Mr. Reid wrote to James B. Comey, director of the F.B.I. Without mentioning the C.I.A. briefing, Mr. Reid told Mr. Comey that he had “recently become concerned” that Russia’s interference was “more extensive than widely known.”


By the campaign’s final weeks, Congress and the intelligence agencies were racing to understand the scope of the Russia threat.


In the briefings [to House and Senate Intel Committee members in August and September], the C.I.A. said there was intelligence indicating not only that the Russians were trying to get Mr. Trump elected but that they had gained computer access to multiple state and local election boards in the United States since 2014, officials said.
Jesus Christ. Surely there are Constitutional emergency measures to delay elections until they can be secured.

One thing that still sticks in my mind, though, is that the public has never seen actual incontrovertible evidence of Russia's alleged attempts to interfere in the elction. Sure, they probably did, but we haven't seen the evidence. We've seen things that are claimed to be evidence, but there were always alternative explanations. The CIA interferes in elections everywhere. Including here. How can we be sure who's doing what?
Mr. Reid fired off another letter on Oct. 30, accusing Mr. Comey of a “double standard” in reviving the Clinton investigation while sitting on “explosive information” about possible ties between Russia and Mr. Trump.

“The public,” Mr. Reid wrote, “has a right to know this information.”
I must say, I have to agree with Reid on this one.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

No comments: