On January 18th, 2017, McClatchy claimed that Donald Trump used Russian money to win the election. This was based on a probe conducted by the “FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence…” According to McClatchy, “Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”1
In December 2016, the Washington post began a relentless campaign to link Donald Trump’s election to Russian “hacking.” Other MSM sources CNN and MSNBC were quick to pick up on this story as well. However, when evidence for Russian “hacking” of the election did not show up, the narrative changed. No longer did they manipulate voting, now they were responsible for “influencing” voters with hacked information from the DNC and the Podesta emails. Multiple entities, including former ambassador Craig Murray and Julian Assange himself, came out against the MSM narrative. They claimed Russia did not provide the confidential emails to Wikileaks. Assange himself alluded that Seth Rich, a former democrat operative, was the one behind the DNC hack. Although Assange will not say who carried out the Podesta hack, there is absolutely no data to suggest a Russian source.
CBS’s Ben Swann previously covered the CIA allegations of Russian hacking, stating that 5 problems are evident with this claim. Swann pointed out that the CIA never officially released data showing a Russian hack. Rather, a leak came from rogue agents, and those leaks were provided to the Washington Post. By doing this, there is absolutely no accountability for the leaks; they can’t be traced to a particular agent or group within the CIA. Citing an anonymous source is always a convenient way of fabricating or exaggerating a claim. This is a problem that was evident in Washington Post’s fake news article about Russia hacking the U.S. electrical grid, which was debunked.
Swann correctly identifies that the CIA has a lengthy and sordid history of lying, most notably when then CIA Chief George Tenet’s proclaimed WMDs were hiding in Iraq, which led to a two trillion dollar war and thousands of dead American troops.2
Ironically, in 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee lambasted the CIA for promoting disinformation among the American populace. Now, many within the Senate have joined with the CIA narrative. Even Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have led a chorus of allegations stemming from the CIA’s report.
The new allegation published in McClatchy merely remodels the Play-Doh storyline and the token criminal used before: It’s Russia and Vlad the Bad, the meddlers, the ultimate trolls of American freedom and fair elections. There’s a new spin, though, since the others didn’t work. Forget when the MSM claimed Russia hacked the vote, hacked the electrical grid, and hacked the DNC. Maybe, just maybe, a breaking headline about Vlad’s transfer of millions of rubles to Donald’s campaign piggy bank will work…
1 Stone, Peter, and Gordon, Greg. “FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump.” McClatchy DC. 18 January, 2017.
2 Swann, Benn. “Reality Check: 5 Problems with CIA Claim That Russia Hacked DNC/Podesta emails.” CBS. 16 December, 2016.