The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has issued the fourth volume of its bipartisan report examining Russian interference in the 2016 elections. This fourth volume specifically focused on reviewing the US Intelligence Community’s (IC) assessment of that interference. The SSCI, in this fourth volume, has validated the IC’s sources, methods, and findings. They also found that multiple intelligence disciplines were used to attribute the hacking to Russia, which debunks the conspiracy theory that someone created the computer evidence to frame Russia. In short, the US IC had multiple sources and used multiple methods to come to this conclusion. The SSCI found that the investigation was properly predicated and undertaken and that there was no political pressure placed on the analysts. The SSCI report noted that the Steele Dossier was not used by the IC as source material for its analysis and assessment and that it is only included in an annex because the FBI insisted it had to be based on the directive the FBI received to conduct its part of the investigation. Finally, and just as importantly, the SSCI has concluded that not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, they did so specifically to elect Trump president.
This report undercuts Attorney General Barr’s repeated lies about the investigation into Russian efforts in the 2016 campaign and its efforts to both support the President’s 2016 campaign to ensure his election and to make contacts with the campaign to do so. It also undercuts the basis that AG Barr has provided to US Attorney John Durham as the predicate for his investigation into whether senior Obama administration officials, including Director of National Intelligence Clapper, Director of Central Intelligence Brennan, and Director of the FBI Comey, as well as other senior officials such as Deputy Director McCabe, acted illegally in an attempt to prevent Trump from being elected president. The SSCI’s findings all confirm DOJ IG Horowitz’s own findings, which AG Barr has both misrepresented and ignored. I do not think that this will stop the bogus investigation that AG Barr has tasked US Attorney Durham with conducting.
Here are the findings (bold dashes indicate redacted materials – the big black bars didn’t copy and paste):
I. (U) INTRODUCTION
(U) The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence acknowledges the impressive accomplishment in drafting and coordinating the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), which was completed as a “Memorandum for the President” on December 30, 2016, – and a declassified version dated January 6, 2017, and made available to the public on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) website. The Committee’s review focused on the highly compartmented “Memorandum to the President.”
II. (U) FINDINGS
1. (U) The Committee found the ICA presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidentialelection. On the analytic lines of the ICA, the Committee concludes that all lines are supported with all-source intelligence, although with varying substantiation. The Committee did not discover any significant analytic tradecraft issues in the preparation or final presentation of the ICA.
(U) The ICA reflects proper analytic tradecraft despite being tasked and completed within a compressed time frame. The compact time frame was a contributing factor for not conducting formal analysis of competing hypotheses.
(U) The differing confidence levels on one analytic judgment are justified and properly represented. Those in disagreement all stated that they had the opportunity to express differing points of view. The decision regarding the presentation of differing confidence levels was the responsibility of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan and the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Admiral Michael Rogers, both of whom independently expressed to the Committee that they reached the final wording openly and with sufficient exchanges of views.
(U) Multiple intelligence disciplines are used and identified throughout the ICA. Where the Committee noted concerns about the use of specific sources, in no case did the Committee conclude any analytic line was compromised as a result.
(U) In all the interviews of those who drafted and prepared the ICA, the Committee heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions. All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object to content, and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic process.
2. (U) The Committee found that the agencies responsible for the !CA-CIA, NSA, and FBI, under the aegis of ODNI-met the primary tasking as directed by President Obama, which was to assemble a product that reflected the intelligence available to the Intelligence Community (IC) regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.
3. (U) The Committee found that the ICA provides a proper representation of the intelligence collected by CIA, NSA, and FBI on Russian interference in 2016, and this body of evidence supports the substance and judgments of the ICA.
– Regarding FBI, the ICA states, in its “Scope and Sourcing” introduction, that “[w]e also do not include information from ongoing investigations.” – The Committee found that the information provided by Christopher Steele to FBI was not used in the body of the ICA or to support any of its analytic judgments. However, a summary of this material was included in Annex A as a compromise to FBI’s insistence that the information was responsive to the presidential tasking.
4. (U) The Committee found the ICA makes a clear argument that the manner and aggressiveness of the Russian interference was historically unprecedented. However, the ICA and its sources do not provide a substantial representation of Russian interference in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, as the Committee understands was part of the President’s original tasking.
5. (U . . – ) The Committee found that the ICA did not provide a set of policy rec~ations on how to respond to future Russian active measures, which was part of the tasking the President conveyed to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper. The ICA did include, in the compartmented version, an unclassified section independently produced by OHS, FBI, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “OHS/FBI/NIST Recommendations : Options to Protect and Defend US Election Infrastructure and US Political Parties.”
(U) The absence of policy recommendations was deliberate, due to the well-established norm that the IC provides insight and warning to policy makers, but does not itself make policy.
6. (U) The Committee found the ICA would benefit from a more comprehensive presentation of how Russian propaganda-as generated by Russia’s multiple state-owned platforms-was used to complement the full Russian influence campaign.
(U) Open source collection is a long-standing discipline for CIA and other elements of the IC, and open source reporting is used throughout the ICA to support specific analytic assertions. However, open source reporting on RT and Sputnik’s coverage of WikiLeaks releases of Democratic National Committee (DNC) information would have strengthened the ICA’s examination of Russia’s use of propaganda. On this point, the Committee finds that Annex – of the ICA — “Open Source Center Analysis: Russia: Kremlin’s TV Seeks to Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US,” published December 12, 2012-should have been updated to provide a summary of Kremlin propaganda in 2016, thereby making a more relevant contribution to the ICA. An update to this assessment was not produced by the Open Source Enterprise until after the publication of the ICA.
7. ———————————————————————————————————————————————– The role of social media has been a significant focus by the Committee and is discussed in a separate volume of this report.
Someone is going to need to do a welfare check on GG and the Intercept crowd. Whomever it is should demand both hazard and danger pay!