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Obama implies US intelligence community ‘doesn’t know’ how Wikileaks obtained DNC and Podesta emails

US President Obama’s comments about Wikileaks in his farewell press conference cast doubt on earlier claims that Russia provided DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks.

Alexander Mercouris

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US President Obama in what was supposed to be his final press conference as President (it turns out he may be giving another one tomorrow morning) made a very interesting comment about the role of Wikileaks in the publication of the DNC and Podesta emails, which appears to cast doubt on the whole story of Russian interference in the US election.

It has been a central claim in the whole Clinton leaks story that after hacking the DNC’s and Podesta’s computers Russian intelligence passed on their stolen emails to Wikileaks as part of a ‘dirty tricks’ Russian operation to swing the US Presidential election to Donald Trump.  Supposedly this operation was ordered by no less a person than Russian President Putin himself.

The US intelligence community in the two reports which it has published has failed to say how Russian intelligence passed on the stolen DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks, and has not provided any evidence it actually did so.  Our old friends “the anonymous officials” are reported to have told the US news media ‘off the record’ that the US intelligence community has identified the Russian officials responsible for ‘directing’ the stolen emails to Wikileaks.  However this is not the same as saying that the US intelligence community actually knows how it was done.

This is crucial because it is the publication of the emails, not the hacking of the DNC’s and Podesta’s computers, which is the heart of the scandal.

Hacking the DNC’s and Podesta’s computers is electronic espionage carried out from afar which is something all the Great Powers – including of course the US – routinely do.  It was the making of the emails public which is the grounds for saying that Russia interfered in the election.

Wikileaks themselves, Julian Assange, and former British ambassador Craig Murray, all insist that Wikileaks did not obtain the emails from Russia.  Craig Murray says he has direct personal information as to how Wikileaks obtained the emails, and that it was not from Russia.  He has said they came from an American source.

This is what Obama had to say on this subject in his press conference

I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.

This comment has been taken by some to be an admission that the US intelligence community does not know how the Russians transmitted the stolen emails to Wikileaks.  Moreover the fact Obama speaks of “the DNC e-mails that were leaked” is being treated as an admission that Wikileaks obtained the emails through an insider leak, not a hack.  If true that would demolish the whole Russian theory.

I don’t go quite that far.  Obama’s words are far from clear, a fact which incidentally is characteristic of his interviews and press conferences, which are extraordinarily verbose and difficult to follow.  However on the face of it, all Obama is admitting to is that the US intelligence community does not know whether or not Wikileaks was aware that it was being used by Russia.  As for his use of the word “leaked”, that looks to me like no more than a slip.

Having said that, if the US intelligence community does not know whether or not Wikileaks was aware that it was being used by Russia, then that implies that the US intelligence community does not know whether or not Wikileaks was aware that the ultimate source of the stolen emails was Russian intelligence.  If so then that in turn implies that the US intelligence community does not know how Russian intelligence supplied the stolen emails to Wikileaks, which in turn implies that the US intelligence community doesn’t actually know how Wikileaks obtained the emails.

Obviously this is a chain of inference, but in light of Obama’s words it is a reasonable one.

Recently a group of US intelligence veterans has publicly called on Obama to order US intelligence to publish its evidence that it was Russian intelligence that was ultimately behind the publication of the stolen DNC and Podesta emails.  This same group of intelligence veterans has repeatedly questioned the theory that Russian intelligence was involved, arguing that the publicly known facts are more consistent with the emails having been leaked by an insider rather than published as the result of a Russian hack.

In their letter the intelligence veterans make these points

We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, “we-assess” judgments by the intelligence agencies. Otherwise, we – as well as other skeptical Americans – will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those – like Mr. Trump – who wish to deal constructively with them……

……we will not be shocked if it turns out that they can do no better than the evidence-deprived assessments they have served up in recent weeks. In that case, we would urge you, in all fairness, to let the American people in on the dearth of convincing evidence before you leave office.

As you will have gathered by now, we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the “intelligence” evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact “certitude” – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

(bold italics added)

Obama’s comment at his press conference – with its strong implication that the US intelligence community does not in fact know how Wikileaks obtained the DNC and Podesta emails, and that the whole hysterical campaign about Russian interference in the election is based on nothing more than a chain of inferences – shows the wisdom of the doubts the US intelligence veterans express in their letter.

This is especially so given that in the light of what Julian Assange and Craig Murray have repeatedly said about the provenance of the emails, the inferences upon which the US intelligence community has made its assessment – which has formed the basis for the whole hysterical campaign – are almost certainly false.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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