A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director
The Role of the CIA’s John Brennan
In its lengthy feature article on FBI Director James Comey, The New York Times disingenuously evades the new evidence from the British press that nails former President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan for using the “Trump dossier” as weaponized fake intelligence, which he wielded to spearhead an interagency task force to investigate Trump during and after the election campaign. The Times article’s sole mention of Brennan suppresses any mention of its own reporting by three of the same reporters on January 19 about the six-agency, anti-Trump task force or working group (and naturally there is no investigative reporting to dig into the task force’s scandalous operations).
But, of course, that was the same New York Times article, in its January 20 print edition, that headlined the “Wiretapped…Trump Aides.” The Times wants to forget all about that, now that President Trump has made the Obama “wire tapping” an issue.
The timing and use of the “Trump dossier” suggests that Hillary’s agents during the campaign panicked when Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, that he would soon release emails from within the Hillary campaign—unauthorized and uncensored—not official State Department releases redacted to protect Hillary.
It seems as if Hillary’s backers hired someone to throw together any sleazy garbage that they could use to blunt the impact, or even nullify the potentially disastrous effects of the Hillary/DNC emails, which as far as they knew could come out any day or any minute from WikiLeaks. The first Christopher Steele report in the “dossier,” with the vilest allegations of all, was rushed out in record time, dated barely a week later, on June 20.
From their perspective of defending Hillary, it had to be something on Trump so foul, so disgusting, that no one would pay any attention to what the WikiLeaks emails from Hillary said or disclosed. Hence, the first “Trump dossier” report concocted on or before June 20 tried to claim Trump hired prostitutes to “golden shower” (urinate on) the former Obama bed in the Moscow hotel (or as we have seen, “someone” said “someone else” said Trump “may” have done so, and it “may” have been taped, maybe in “some year” or other, etc. Our words in quotes).
The Hillary funders evidently did not count on the “Trump dossier” being so repulsive that even the most hate-filled major media, such as The New York Times and CNN, could not stomach publishing it or risking lawsuits from a billionaire like Trump. So they simply drew attention to the document without reproducing it, at first only by veiled allusion.
As the election approached, the increasingly frantic media began leaking out more and more from the sickening “dossier.” (NYT, July 29; Yahoo News September 23; Mother Jones October 31; Washington Post November 1, Newsweek November 4, Salon November 4, etc.)
In addition to Comey, who took the bait, we have evidence that Obama’s CIA director John Brennan was involved in spreading the allegations, briefing Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (who turned around and lambasted Comey), and using it and illegal NSA-GCHQ wiretap data to set up an interagency task force to investigate Trump. Such CIA-led actions were in violation of the CIA charter forbidding them from carrying out any law enforcement, police or internal security functions (50 U.S. Code 3036(d)(1)). (AIM Special Report, April 17)
Trying to make something out of nothing, the illegal intelligence agency leaks suggest that the CIA has found some minor “aspects” in the “dossier” that are “corroborated” by intercepted wiretap communications. But these turned out to be pseudo-corroborations of long-known matters of public knowledge (such as alleged Trump adviser Carter Page’s “secret” visit to Moscow, actually openly reported in the press on July 7).
In fact, essentially the same story indicating that a few business meetings in the “dossier” were “confirmed” by intercepted communications—but not important facts—ran in Yahoo News on September 23, 2016.
So this is old fake news, designed to magnify and exaggerate trivia to suggest the opposite of what was actually known, which was that nothing incriminating or wrongful about Trump associate’s business activities with Russia had been found—no “smoking gun.” (AIM, Febrary 20 and April 17, 2017; cf. Washington Post November 1, 2016; and CNN)
Leftist media are so desperate that the slightest (fake) “corroboration”—or pseudo-corroboration—is trumpeted as a major victory, with blaring headlines: “Trump Russia dossier key claim ‘verified’” (BBC); “The Trump ‘Dossier’ Is Looking More Credible All the Time” (Mother Jones).
This silly hoopla was due to the “dossier’s” claim that a Russian diplomat named “Kulagin” (misspelled) was actually a spy involved with the (fake) Trump-Russia operation. U.S. intelligence confirmed he was a spy named Kalugin (correct spelling), but conveniently didn’t happen to confirm the Trump conspiracy. (Republican operative Roger Stone wryly commented: “If 007 [Steele] wants to be taken seriously, he ought to learn how to spell.”)
In fact, most Russian “diplomats” are spies, and agent Steele, with a heavy background in counter-Russian intelligence operations, would easily be able to spot spies just looking at a diplomatic biographic registry (as any well-informed civilian student of intelligence can do). Or he could call a friend at MI6 or the FBI. This is a bogus “corroboration” that doesn’t corroborate the relevant point—the alleged collusion of Trump with Russia.
What Did Hillary Know?
Jennifer Palmieri, a senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, made an amazing confession about media manipulation when she explained the “lessons we campaign officials learned in trying to turn the Russia story against Trump” last year. That is exactly what the Democrat-controlled media cohorts have done and continue to try to do—turn the Russia story against Trump.
In a Washington Post column, Palmieri urges Democrats to continue to “relentlessly” push the Russian angle as evidence of impeachable “treason” by now-President Trump that “undermines our democracy,” etc. This despite the gross hypocrisy of normally pro-Russian “progressive” Democrats always screaming “McCarthyism” at the slightest hint of complaint about their own fawning Russian sycophancy.
Instead of objective reporting, reporters and news analysts should have done more protective “watchdogging” of Hillary in the campaign, Palmieri wrote in her postmortem afterthoughts about Hillary’s defeat. Her account reflects the Hillary campaign’s knowledge of the “Trump dossier” and its helpful influence on their campaign to “turn the Russia story against Trump,” as we will see.
Palmieri’s account is confirmed by the inside account of the “doomed” Hillary campaign by pro-Hillary journalists who say the campaign wanted to “really build the case that Trump was actually in league with Moscow” to get elected, not just unknowingly getting help from Russia from afar. (Allen & Parnes, Shattered, chapter 18.) Thus, they wanted to push the conspiracy theory of the “Trump dossier.”
This was a clue that the use of the “dossier” was a partisan political trick all along. The Washington Post, whose owner Jeff Bezos has a glaring conflict of interest through his financial relationships with the Trump-hostile CIA and NSA, could be counted on to promote the partisan propaganda claims of the Hillary campaign even though it was skeptical of the “dossier” as evidence.
The Post used the “dossier” as a guide, or roadmap, for claiming a Russian conspiracy with Trump—some 150 articles in the Post have covered or mentioned the “dossier” to date—while at the same time pooh-poohing the “dossier.”
According to Palmieri, by July-August of 2016, the Hillary campaign was hearing from Obama’s national security officials that the “shocking” report indicated that “Russia had probably undertaken an effort to ‘recruit’ Trump” as an agent and that “Russia may have been conspiring with Trump or his allies behind the scenes to win the election for him.” This is clearly the echo of the “Trump dossier.”
Palmieri admitted, “Frankly, it sounded kind of wacky…it sounded too fantastic to be credible,” but suggests it was nonetheless background input used even in the Hillary-Trump debates, for example. Clearly, the “dossier” fabrication went overboard in its shocking allegations, too far to be credible for many. But if initially composed in a panic to anticipate and blunt the imminent release of the devastating DNC/Hillary emails, it makes sense as the product of excessive zeal by political disinformation flacks.
Hillary’s campaign chair John Podesta and his George Soros-funded Center for American Progress seem to have gotten the “Trump dossier” last year but also found it too salacious and unworthy of open publication. Instead, the Podesta Center used the “dossier” as its clandestine roadmap to researching anti-Trump material.
None of the Podesta Center “research” actually involved investigating or critically analyzing the “dossier.” No retraction or correction has been made to their web article in the four months since it was posted on December 21, even after Newsweek exposed some of the “dossier’s” biggest frauds and after Bob Woodward christened it the “garbage document.”
Without identifying Steele or the “dossier,” Podesta’s people simply recycled the “dossier” from the Yahoo News report of September 23, 2016, as if all true. The Podesta group cites the November 4, 2016, Newsweek article titled, “Why Vladimir Putin’s Russia Is Backing Donald Trump,” which was an obvious regurgitation of Steele’s “Trump dossier” (later Newsweek wised up some, as mentioned above, but the Podesta group ignored that fact).
With the FBI and CIA playing their respective roles, an interactive fake-news echo chamber emerged between the anti-Trump media and their allies in the intelligence agencies. Using “official” and anonymous sources to suggest some form of authenticity for highly dubious information and gossip, each echoed the other, and another, and another.
The unethical media have shown they are determined to destroy the Trump administration using what one of their own heroes admits are “garbage” allegations. There is not a lot that can be done about this kind of reckless reporting, except to expose their motives, refute their fake facts, and try to hold journalists accountable.
But in regard to the intelligence community, President Trump has to understand that the incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and partisan political activities must be rooted out.
What’s more, as the CIA’s legendary James Angleton knew, America’s national security depends on identifying, purging and prosecuting the moles. Comey is clearly not up to the job.
Related AIM Special Reports
British Role Confirmed in Trump Spying Scandal
Just Who Was the Russian Agent After All?
Watergate-style Wiretapping Confirmed
A Watergate-style Threat to the Democratic Process
How CNN Recycled Last Year’s Fake News
(column) on February 20, 2017