Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia

DEBKA

America’s intelligence chiefs may have been singing their swan’s song Thursday and Friday (Jan. 5-6) when they hurled allegations of election-meddling “ordered at the highest Kremlin level” against Russia at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington. The committee’s chair John McCain picked up the ball and declared that Russian hacking was “an act of war,” after hearing grim testimony from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the National Security Agency head Adm. Michael Rogers.

They disclosed that they had compiled a confidential intelligence report that demonstrated how President Vladimir Putin interfered in the US election campaign in favor of the winner, Donald Trump. They declined to divulge its contents but promised to release a shorter, censored version to the public next Monday, Jan. 9.
CIA chief John Brennan and Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson then proceeded to the White House to present the confidential report to President Barack Obama.

It will be put before President-elect Trump Friday.

The furious clamor keeping the alleged Russian hacking scandal on the boil is being orchestrated by the outgoing president and his intelligence chiefs to ramp up US-Russian friction to an eve-of-cold war pitch.

DEBKAfile’s Washington and intelligence sources find that the campaign is prompted by five motives:

1. The president-elect not only proposes to put relations with Moscow on a new and different footing, his transition teams are already at work with Putin’s advisers to chart areas of cooperation between the two powers, ready for the Trump administration to go forward when he moves into the White House on Jan. 20.

The most prominent area is the war on the Islamic State; another – the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. They are also exploring a joint US-Russian effort to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

2. Obama, who has decided to retain a team for monitoring Trump’s policies, has plunged into a dogged fight against his successor’s decision to reset US-Russian ties.

Battling to salvage a part of his “legacy” is, Obama, exceptionally for departing American presidents, is determined to cast a long shadow over his successors’ actions and policies.

In the next four years, Barack Obama will keep hammering at the Russian hacking affair in order to keep the flames high against Trump’s “Russian steps.”

3. It is important to note that Trump and his advisers, including designated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, don’t propose rushing into détente with Moscow or any sort of honeymoon. They are acting to restore relations to an even keel and end the disequilibrium of the past eight years, during which Obama just talked and Putin did what he wanted, especially in East Europe and the Middle East.

If the effort to restore balance to the relationship works, cooperation in common areas of concern might follow. But if not, the rivalry will continue, except that henceforth America will operate from a position of strength.

4. Working together in the war on Islamic terror will call for a large measure of cooperation between US intelligence agencies and the Russian secret services.
Sixteen years ago, after 9/11, Putin proposed this kind of cooperation to President George W. Bush in the fight against Al Qaeda.

In 2011, he stepped in again with an offer of assistance to Obama in the Libyan war.

Putin was rebuffed by both presidents rebuffed him. Donald Trump is the first US leader ready to seriously explore Putin’s intentions.

The US intelligence community is up on arms at this prospect, mainly because its clandestine branches were purpose-built to confront Russia, America’s historic Cold War enemy. It is hard for them to wrench the wheel round and head in the opposite direction at the bidding of the Trump administration.

5, Notwithstanding denials by administration officers, the president elect has every intention of overhauling the character and operational methods of America’s intelligence services. His overarching goal is to cut down the vast numbers off officers, analysts and computer operations, which turn out mountains of intelligence reports most of which he claims no one reads.

Trump plans to focus more on the product of secret agents in the field, and so save the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on desk staff and high-tech computer systems. His administration will prefer to rely more on human intelligence and less on technology-based input.

Trump encapsulated his approach to intelligence and computers in a remark to reporters on New Year’s day: “No computer is safe. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

 

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4 Comments

  1. Whatever Russia did, it was more to kill the Obama Legacy: Putin never forgave Obama for killing the Opel deal that Merkel had arranged with Russia, in 2009.

    And, to hurt the puppetmaster behind the DNC, because this is a proxy disinformation war between Putin and Soros.

  2. It is interesting to note how up-in-arms US officials are when the US is being cyber-attacked. I didn’t see any of this noise when the shoe was on the other foot and the US was messing around in the affairs of foreign governments, take Israel and the latest elections as an example.

    They should quit their whining and start to behave responsibly. They have certainly been doing their best to interfere in Russia for decades now, so why do they feel they have a right to complain when they get some of the same treatment?

  3. Trump must buy time to rebuild the US economy and the Arm Forces!
    In any scenario the Defense Industry is the winner but hopefully Trump/Mattis will manage to force the DI to do more with less.
    Then the US security services must be cleaned up and rebuild.
    The country went through 16 disastrous years!
    Cyber-security is URGENT. Where were Mc Cain and McConnell?

  4. And written on edible paper in digestible ink in a choice of flavors!

    “You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

    non-essential but amusing trailer from one of my favorite movies, “Wasabi”(2001) I am reminded of here at the end. Skip it if you are all business.

    https://youtu.be/l0BtQUa4EYI

Comments are closed.