Our spy agencies fight each other nonstop, but woe to the pol who provides common cause by insulting them in public
Six weeks before the inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s budding administration has been thrown into crisis by revelations of clandestine Russian interference in our election. None of the issues is new—if you read my column you knew about them months ago—but Trump’s reaction to them has opened the door to unprecedented conflict in Washington before he even moves into the White House.
Trump has repeatedly pooh-poohed allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the election, dismissing them as foolishness. Such memorably cavalier brush-offs—for instance suggesting in September that the culprit behind the theft of Democratic National Committee’s emails wasn’t Moscow, rather a “400-pound guy” on a bed somewhere—drew guffaws from his supporters but have now landed Trump in serious trouble.
The game-changer came late last week, with a report that the Central Intelligence Agency has assessed that efforts by the Russian intelligence services to influence our election were motivated by a desire in Moscow to throw the election Trump’s way. The Intelligence Community has long considered Wikileaks to be a Kremlin front and by the summer, when that vaunted “privacy organization” was getting down to work depriving Hillary Clinton and the DNC of any privacy they possessed after EmailGate, it was patently obvious to anybody acquainted with Russian spycraft that Julian Assange was doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding. Russian spy agencies can be subtle, but there was nothing subtle about this operation.
There is simply no debate anymore inside the IC whether Moscow employed Wikileaks as a front to disseminate emails which had been purloined by Russian intelligence. American intelligence and our spy-allies possess considerable classified evidence, from multiple sources, that Putin employed disinformation to confuse American voters in 2016.
Read the rest at The Observer…