MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Media Working On Mousetrap For Summit
Summary: With your meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva just three days away, mainstream media are barely reporting – and at times distorting – olive-branch remarks by Putin, and are at pains to "accentuate the negative". We are particularly concerned over the incessant media commentary on "Russian hacking", which seems to be aimed at mousetrapping you into an ill-advised confrontation with Putin. Revelations since the last summit in July 2018 – including testimony under oath to Congress – give President Putin some very high cards. Should things get acrimonious, he might decide to put them into play.
Putin’s interview by NBC’s Keir Simmons Friday is a case in point. Little media attention has been given to Putin’s most salient remark (the language itself was given a sloppy, voice-over translation into English). Putin highlighted the welcome difference he sees in you in contrast to former President Trump. You, he said, are "a different kind of person, and I very much hope that … there will not be any impulsive acts from him" ("him" meaning you). The NBC translator rendered the Russian, more ambiguously and somewhat misleadingly, saying Putin was very much hoping "there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting president".
Similarly, speaking on Russia’s Channel 1 on June 4, Putin called you "an experienced, balanced, and ‘akkuratny’" politician. U.S. news services lazily translated that Russian word "akkuratny" into "accurate". But the word means "cautious". The (invidious) comparison, of course, is with the highly impulsive, incautious Trump. Putin added that he hoped that those qualities would have a positive effect at the summit. These remarks grabbed no headlines in the Western Establishment media, which continues to demonize Putin and "all his works and all his pomps".
Putin incurs some risk in going out on such a cordial limb before the summit. He is fully aware that important Russian politicians and personalities will pounce on him for having been naive in assuming a readiness on your part to do business, should the summit be a bust. Thus, to an extent, Putin may have been mirror-imaging when he pointed recently to the political pressures any US president faces in trying to improve relations with Russia. Putin conceded that "to a certain extent, Russia-American relations have become hostage to internal political processes in the United States itself." It would be a mistake to think that Putin does not have to deal with similar domestic pressure.
The NBC report on the Putin-Simmons interview featured the de rigueur bromide about Trump’s "shocking" behavior at the July 16, 2018 summit in Helsinki (former CIA Director John Brennan called it "treasonous").Therein hides an unambiguous warning to you that you must not succumb to the wiles and snares of "devil" Putin, but rather hew to the party line.
Trump’s most grievous sin at Helsinki was his open distrust of the narrative promoted by US intelligence and its media allies that Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence to hack into the DNC server and exfiltrate emails highly embarrassing to Clinton, in order to help Trump win. How dare Trump shed doubt on this article of faith! How dare anyone cast aspersions on US intelligence "assessments" – even if they are evidence-free!
Just two weeks before that summit, former Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock wrote a review of the evidence, such as it was. This, and the body of analysis prepared by VIPS on this neuralgic issue, may have contributed to Trump’s "shocking" departure from orthodoxy.
By dwelling on Trump’s unacceptable performance, the media is warning you, sotto voce, that you’d better not back down from the duly authorized Democratic Party/U.S. intelligence/major media/evidence-impoverished story about Russian interference in the 2016 election, its cornerstone being alleged Russian hacking of the DNC emails.
Verdict Is In: Russian Hacking of DNC a Proven Fraud
We titled our first Memorandum to you (as president-elect) "Don’t Be Suckered on Russia". We draw from some of it below, on the chance you did not get to see it:
You may be unaware that horse’s-mouth testimony given on Dec. 5, 2017 to the House Intelligence Committee gave the lie to claims that there is persuasive technical evidence that Russia hacked the DNC emails that WikiLeaks published on July 22, 2016. There is no such evidence.
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 VIPs Memorandum of Dec. 12, 2016.
Proving a Negative
We had to wait from December 5, 2017 to May 7, 2020, for the House Intelligence Committee to publish the sworn testimony of Shawn Henry, head of the DNC-hired cyber security firm CrowdStrike. Establishment media has now ignored Henry’s testimony for more than a year. (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.)
Mr. Henry admitted under oath that there was no technical evidence that Russia, or anyone else, hacked and exfiltrated those damaging emails from the DNC. We hope, but cannot be sure at this point that you have been briefed on this.
If you plan to confront President Putin with allegations of hacking into the DNC emails, it is altogether likely he will cite the testimony of CrowdStrike head Sean Henry and ask you what evidence you are relying on.
As we reminded you in our December 20 Memo, 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. A confrontation over this neuralgic issue of hacking, on which so much other "Russia-gate" accusations depend, would suit them just fine.
FOR THE STEERING GROUP: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
- William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (ret.)
- Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPs)
- Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
- Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
- John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; CIA Presidential briefer (ret.)
- Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & CIA political analyst (ret.)
- Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
- Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
- Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former US 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.