Who Leaked the Podesta and DNC Emails? A Look at the Other Side
by Gaius Publius
"I know who leaked them [the DNC emails to WikiLeaks]. I've met the person who leaked, and they are certainly not Russian and it's an insider. It's a leak, not a hack; the two are different things."
—Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan
There's a full-court press in the press to tag the Russians in general and Putin in particular with ... some say "interfering with," some say "hacking" ... the recent U.S. presidential election. The push to tag Russia is so aggressive, including accusations from President Obama, that it makes one suspicious.
After all, from the highest reaches of the U.S. government we learned that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that we even "knew where they were," and every major news outlet in the country, including NPR and PBS, parroted the announcements as certainties. Is there any question that our government is fully capable, even eager, to propagandize its people for its own purposes? Then joke about how easily we were fooled?
George Bush joking at the White House Correspondents' Dinner that he can't find Saddam's WMDs. Guess who the audience was laughing at? Yep; us.
That question — Are we being propagandized by unproven declarations that "We know that Putin hacked the U.S. election to make Trump president" — is not proof. Nor in fact does anything offered by any of the government or media personalities making that assertion constitute proof. To paraphrase Sgt. Schultz, "We know nothing."
So my suggestion is this. When you hear about Putin, as you will constantly until the inauguration, keep an open mind until you see evidence. Even when Obama makes the case. No proof, no case.
What Might Be Happening Here?
To give that suggestion credence, I'll offer just these morsels. This is obviously a much larger topic, even for an outlet that's as space-unlimited as this one. The problem is that I know your time is not unlimited, especially during the Season of Merry and Bright. So, morsels for now, but tasty ones.
Morsel One — Watch the video above. It's clear, brief and accurate. It proves nothing, but presents the reasons for doubt about the "accepted story." I put quotes around the last phrase for a reason: The story really isn't proved, just accepted as if it were proved.
Note again the quote from Craig Murray, former U.K. ambassador to Uzbekistan. He asserts (note, this also isn't proof, but a counter-assertion) that he's met the person who sent the DNC leaks to WikiLeaks, and it's not the Russians.
Morsel Two — Murray also claims to have evidence about who leaked the Podesta emails. The following comes from a (surprisingly careful) Daily Mail article, somewhere near the middle:
In Podesta's case, his account appeared to have been compromised through a basic 'phishing' scheme, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.Note that the paragraph above deals with the Podesta leaks, not the DNC leaks, which are two separate events.
U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly told members of Congress during classified briefings that they believe Russians passed the documents on to Wikileaks as part of an influence operation to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump.
But Murray insisted that the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians, and were given to the whistleblowing group by Americans who had authorized access to the information.
'Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,' Murray said. 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.'
He said the leakers were motivated by 'disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.'
Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.
The article makes clear that Murray is an associate of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, and that there was some controversy around his ambassadorship, though he was cleared of whatever charges were levied against him. A reading of the passage above could mean he was the person who received the Podesta emails and passed them on to WikiLeaks, though that's not clear. Finally, Murray also makes clear that he doesn't know who the source of the Podesta leaks is, though he's also likely to have been told something about the source from the intermediary.
Again, assertions, but are they any weaker than the assertions coming from Obama, the Democratic Party, and every mainstream media personality in the country?
Morsel Three — James Clapper says the connection to Russia is "not strong". That's right, former top U.S. intelligence official and known liar-before-Congress James Clapper has testified that the evidence tying the hacks to Russia isn't "strong." Translation, the evidence is weak:
So, what do you make of that? A known perjurer and intelligence chief saying the opposite of what his former colleagues are saying. Is he lying again? Or are they? Do you feel you have enough information yet to sort this out?
I hope the answer to the last question is ... no.
(Update: I'm reminded by Marcy Wheeler via email that elsewhere Clapper claims to be certain of Russia's involvement. Still, assertions.)
Morsel Four — Why Might This Be Going On? I'll offer four quick explanations for all of this, any of which could be right:
1. One possibility is that everything Obama and the press are saying is true, and every counter explanation is false. It's just that no proof is offered.
2. Another is that the Democratic Party, the media and the intelligence community — via unsourced leaks — is propagandizing the nation in order to "delegitimize" the Trump presidency. This doesn't mean that the Trump presidency will prove to be legitimate — it won't — but this charge won't be the basis as I see it. Still, it's the basis on which the Democrats, including Obama, want to hang its anti-Trumpian hat.
3. A third — there are groups within the intelligence community at "war" (or at least at "odds") with each other, not regarding the facts, but regarding the outcome each group's assertions want to bring about. One group, perhaps, is more friendly to the incoming Trump administration than the other.
After all, it's pretty clear that there were opposing groups within the FBI that had political agendas and acted on them (note I said "groups"). And it's a whole lot easier to cast blame on a known foreign devil like Putin — the way Henry V led England to attack France to deflect from rebellion at home, for example — than to publicly admit to the level and degree of domestic manipulation that went on during the 2016 presidential race, and face those consequences.
4. Finally, under both Obama and Clinton, competition with Russia over oil and gas exports to Europe was (under Obama) and would be (under Clinton) of primary importance for domestic producers, particularly of natural gas. Is it in the interest of the non-Exxon part of the U.S. carbon fuel industry to continue to sabotage Russia and Putin? Of course it is. Just as it's in Exxon's interest to prop Putin up. (Note that Exxon is not a U.S. company under any real definition; it's been amply documented that Exxon acts like a nation unto themselves with a "foreign policy" often at odds with U.S. foreign policy.)
And of course, Putin, through all this tarring and feathering, could indeed be worth tarring and feathering in the minds of even energy-hungry Europeans. After all, if Putin is also "interfering in" European elections, they will have ample reasons of their own to reject economic ties with him.
Wheels within wheels. Which ones are moving? Maybe most of them. But again, the bottom line for us is to remember those WMDs our government told us it knew about, especially when we hear similar unsourced and unsubstantiated assertions inclined to stampede us toward their preferred conclusions.
Does our government really care about us, or just itself and its many, often uncoordinated pieces? The answer should be obvious. The U.S. government has its own agenda, which may not be ours or connected to anything we recognize as fact-based. Also and especially, that can be true even when the government is run by the so-called "blue team."
Is the Trump Election"Legitimate"?
I want to watch this more carefully, since it matters. Was the 2016 U.S. presidential election legitimate, in the strict sense of "lawful"? Of course it was. If Mayor Daley's ballot box stuffing in 1960 didn't delegitimize John Kennedy's presidency, and if all of the ballot box stuffing throughout American history didn't delegitimize any of those elections, this one, so far, is legitimate (legal).
It's even legitimate when it comes to the Electoral College and the popular vote. After all, if Clinton had won the College and lost the popular vote, wouldn't she this minute be saying, "Hey, fella, you knew the rules going in. You win the College, you win. You lose the College, you lose. Deal with it."
So in my view, yes, the Trump election is legitimate (legal). But will his presidency be legitimate in the literal sense once he takes office? I highly doubt it. Trump will be in violation of the Constitution as soon as he triggers a charge covered by the Emoluments Clause, and with Republicans in control of Congress, the only constitutional redress is unavailable. This calls the entire government into question, since the situation it creates perverts the Constitution to support a purpose forbidden by the Constitution.
A constitutional coup, in other words, and totally illegitimate, since the founders contemplated the exact opposite. If this occurs, the coup in North Carolina will be replicated on the national stage, with, shall we say, "interesting implications." The phrase "consent of the governed" may turn up in a year or so.
More on this as it develops. Welcome to interesting times.