MEMORANDUM FOR: The President-elect
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Attempts to Sucker You Into Russia-Bashing
Dear President-elect Biden,
“Fool Me Once …” You may recall that President George W. Bush could not remember the last part of that aphorism. No matter. It turned out that – on Iraq – Bush was not fooled by bad intelligence. Rather, he and Vice President Dick Cheney were determined to attack Iraq and asked malleable former colleagues of ours to manufacture intelligence to “justify” that catastrophic war.
It was so bad that Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller described prewar intelligence as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.” James Clapper, who was in charge of imagery analysis, admits in his memoir that the Bush/Cheney pressure to document a rogue WMD program in Iraq was so intense that “intelligence officers, including me, were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.”(Emphasis added).
That coterie of “intelligence officers” – first and foremost CIA Director George Tenet and his protégé Michael Morell – were able to pull the wool over the eyes of enough members of Congress to grease the skids for unnecessary war. Many of the latest crop of intelligence leaders bubbled up to the top for services rendered under the malleable Tenet, and seem to have adopted his flexible attitude toward truth.
It is a safe bet that some of them are responsible for the recent “anonymous” leaks feeding the current media frenzy about what we shall call “Russian hacking 2.0”.
We urge you not to rise to the bait – the more so, since Russia is the target this time around.
‘Russian Hacking 1:0’ – a Proven Fraud
You may be unaware that horse’s-mouth testimony given on Dec. 5, 2017 to the House Intelligence Committee gave the lie to claims – still widely taken as gospel truth by consumers of major media – that there is persuasive technical evidence that Russia hacked the DNC emails that WikiLeaks published on July 22, 2016. There is no such evidence.
We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity wrote to the president before the Iraq war to let him know that our former colleagues were playing fast and loose with the “intelligence,” which was conjured up to “justify” the invasion. With that painful experience behind us, it was not difficult to spot the lies about Russia “hacking” the DNC emails.
Four years ago we warned, in somewhat technical – but easily understandable terms – why the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC would have been impossible without the National Security Agency detecting it. We were helped by revelations from Edward Snowden, the expertise of two former technical directors at NSA (members of VIPS), and, not least, by applying the principles of science, which – thank goodness – are impervious to political pressure. See our MEMORANDUM of Dec. 12, 2016.
Proving a Negative
It proved difficult, of course, to prove a negative, particularly in the face of copious commentary and pseudo-analysis bereft of supporting data – for example, the evidence-impoverished, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” of Jan. 6, 2017.
We had to wait two and a half years, from Dec. 2017 to May 2020, for the House Intelligence Committee to publish the sworn testimony of Shawn Henry, head of the DNC-hired cyber security firm CrowdStrike. (For reasons best known to ex-FBI Director James Comey, the FBI deferred to CrowdStrike to perform the forensics on what Sen. John McCain was calling an “act of war” by Russia.)
In short, three years ago Mr. Henry admitted under oath that there was no technical evidence that Russia, or anyone else, hacked the DNC and exfiltrated those damaging emails.
What he said in his sworn testimony appears to be as close as one can get to proving the negative on this very key issue. If this is news to you, please check with your advisors. It may be not too surprising that the major media have suppressed that news since May. We would be disappointed to learn, though, that no one saw fit to tell you of Shawn Henry’s testimony.
As far as we can tell, you have been careful to avoid joining – lemming-like – the “Russians-did-it-again” chorus. For fresh insight on the current media frenzy, you may wish to skim through an article published Friday morning on “Russian Hacking 2.0” and what seems to be afoot.
We are hoping that you will continue to avoid putting your foot in the mousetrap being laid for you to make it more difficult for your administration to deal in a sensible way with Russia. There are a whole lot of people – in intelligence, the media, and the weapons industry who are determined to get you off on the wrong foot with President Putin – for reasons that will be obvious to you.
We stand ready to support you with objective, tell-it-like-it-is analysis. Our record speaks for itself. Links to VIPs’s earlier memoranda, starting with our same-day critique of Colin Powell’s UN speech shortly before the war on Iraq, can be found at: https://consortiumnews.com/VIPs-memos/ .
FOR THE STEERING GROUP: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
- William Binney, Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
- Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (ret.)
- Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
- Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist and a Technical Director (ret.)
- Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; Presidential briefer (ret.)
- Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)
- Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
- Kirk Wiebe, Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)
- Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPs) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com. Reprinted from Consortium News with permission.