Much of the official support for longtime insider came from “Russiagate” fabricators.
By Phil Giraldi
As the presidential campaigns wound down there was a lot of emphasis paid on obtaining endorsements from groups that might well have brought out their memberships to vote a certain way. President Donald Trump correctly observed that his opponent Joe Biden was not endorsed by any police union or public safety organization in the United States, and the Democrats struck back with letters signed by hundreds of former intelligence and national security officers who supported the Biden-Harris ticket and also debunked alleged “conspiracy theories” relating to their campaign. Indeed, The Washington Post, which has kept count of the endorsements, reckons that there were no fewer than 780 national security figures who support Biden-Harris, 12 times the number that endorsed Trump. They attributed the difference to a recognition of the president’s “incompetence.”
Trump’s endorsement by police officers is easy enough to understand, as those who serve most particularly in urban areas with Democratic administrations no longer feel they have the backing of local and state governments in situations where force needs to be applied to maintain order. There are reports from a number of cities that resignations and early retirements of policemen are at record levels, to include the departure of a large percentage of new hires who no longer see policing as a desirable profession. Those disgruntled and otherwise frustrated officers almost certainly saw supporting Trump as the better of the two presidential options since he at least talked the talk on maintaining law and order while the Democrats instead pandered to looters, arsonists, and rioters for months.
The most recent list of those who signed on for Biden-Harris included many senior officials who were plausibly involved in the completely illegal attempts to derail the Trump candidacy in 2016 even before it had gained any real momentum. Their latest attempts were crafted as a letter designed to debunk the recent reporting by the New York Post relating to emails providing details of Hunter and Joe Biden’s apparent unseemly involvement with the Ukrainian oil company Burisma. The signatories include John Brennan, possibly the architect of the “Russiagate” scam, and also James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, as well as former CIA Directors Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden. Other senior officers who are signatories from the CIA include Acting Directors Michael Morell and John McLaughlin. There are 50 signatories in all, many of whom have been openly anti-Trump ever since he ran against Hillary Clinton.
The letter, dated October 19, included the usual hysterical “Russiagate” inspired boilerplate about how it is “Perhaps most important, each of us believes deeply that American citizens should determine the outcome of elections, not foreign governments. All of us agree with the founding fathers’ concern about the damage that foreign interference in our politics can do to our democracy . . . our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case. If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this. There are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.”
The letter concluded that the “arrival on the U.S. political scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his time serving on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The letter goes on to make a number of claims, none of which is supported by hard evidence, and it summarizes its argument employing two basic assertions. First assertion: “Such an operation would be consistent with Russian objectives to create chaos in the United States [to] help the candidacy of President Donald Trump.” Second assertion: “Such an operation would be consistent with some of the key methods that Russia has used in its now multi-year operation to interfere in our democracy.”
In the letter, the 50 experienced CIA officers who, it might be observed, were not necessarily applying objective analysis to anything they assert given their desire to remove Trump, conceded that, “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails . . . are genuine or not, and we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” They are basing their case on what they want to believe the Russians are thinking while also throwing out unsustainable propaganda about how the Kremlin is out to interfere in and destroy “our democracy.” Even if there is some truth to the accusations, Russia just might be defending its own interests, surely a novel idea in Washington.
So, one has to ask, why write the letter at all if you do not have answers to those key questions regarding the integrity of the documents and Vladimir Putin’s intentions? Clearly your own intention was to influence the election, which is precisely what you are accusing the Russians and the New York Post of doing. Once upon a time, former senior government national security officials kept their mouths shut when presidential elections would roll around. Now it is seemingly a competition over who can make the most outrageous claims. Predictably, the Democratic Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, he of the shifty demeanor who did so much to disgrace himself during the impeachment hearings, jumped on the bandwagon to assert that the U.S. intelligence community has confirmed that the Hunter Biden emails were and are all a Russian disinformation operation.
There have inevitably been serious and completely credible objections raised to the intelligence officers’ analysis. The White House counter move to the dissidents came quickly. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe responded to the claims made by saying, “It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence. Unfortunately, it is Adam Schiff who said the intelligence community believes the Hunter Biden laptop and emails on it are part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Let me be clear: The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress.” It is “simply not true.”
One should perhaps take any utterance coming out of the government with a grain of salt due to the high stakes involved with the current election and the predilection of senior officials to lie whenever necessary, but there is no reason to doubt Ratcliffe, as his statement includes no weasel wording or wiggle room. Unfortunately, no one is paying much attention to the real damage being done by the battle of endorsements. Hundreds of former national security officials getting into the game of pronouncing who is the best choice for the country is not a good development, particularly as those officials are most often playing politics just like everyone else involved in this drama without any real regard for the damage they might be doing to the credibility and durability of our system of government.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. His other articles appear on the website of “The Unz Review.”