November 12, 2017

MSNBC’s Reid Still Thinks 17 Intel Agencies Backed Russia Election-Meddling Report

With Twitter doubling its character limit to 280 from 140, the establishment press can now cram twice as much fake news into a single tweet. MSNBC’s Joy Reid did exactly that in a Saturday morning tweet by mischaracterizing the scope of the intelligence community’s assessment of “Malicious Cyber Activity” relating to the 2016 presidential election, and by falsely claiming that President Trump said that he personally believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s contention that there was no such meddling.

Here is Joyless Joy’s tweet (HT Twitchy):


Well, ma’am, “to be clear,” it was never “17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.” It was three or four, depending on whether one includes the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in addition to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency in the report-publishing group.

The New York Times and the Associated Press made that crystal clear in a “correction” and a “clarification,” respectively, the outlets issued in late June.

First, the Times, as noted at a related NewsBusters post (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

Now, the AP:


At that late-June NewsBusters post, Kristine Marsh noted that the Times was over seven weeks late in posting their respective “correction” and “clarification” (as, obviously, was AP):

Obama appointee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper contradicted the media’s narrative when he testified May 8, saying only “three” intelligence agencies actually made this assessment, not 17.

Sadly, it’s not altogether unreasonable that Reid would still believe the “17 agencies” lie.

That’s because the Associated Press, apparently because it issued a “clarification” and not a correction, has failed to revise many other stories carrying the bogus “17 agencies” claim — even when carried in dispatches filed during the period covered by the clarification, and even, in one instance, after the clarification was issued.

The following report dated June 22, which is within the April 6 – June 29 period covered in the clarification, is still present at the AP’s main national web site, and still peddles the “17 agencies” myth — twice:


Additionally, a still-available dispatch published on June 30, the day of the AP’s clarification and the day after its April 6-June 29 scope, insists that the assessment was made by all 17 agencies:


Beyond that, neither the Times nor the AP have recognized that there was a considerable degree of irregularity in those three agencies’ input and their ultimate assessment:

This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.

Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies (The other 14 “were kept in the dark.” — Ed.) to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure.  The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization.

You don’t say?

What can be said is that the Associated Press and the New York Times are utterly disinterested in ensuring that their stories accurately reflect the historical record — and that’s before investigating how many subscribers’ sites are still carrying AP stories containing the “17 agencies” lie. This doesn’t excuse Joy Reid’s ignorance, but it may go a long way towards explaining it.

As to Reid’s second claim, Trump’s most recent statement makes it clear that she is wrong here as well.

Answering a reporter’s question to clarify things once and for all — as if he hasn’t already — Trump said the following:


PRESIDENT TRUMP: What I said — I’m surprised that there’s any conflict on this — what I said there is that I believe he (Putin) believes that, and that’s important for somebody to believe. I believe that he feels that he and Russia didn’t meddle in the election.

As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I’ve worked with them very strongly. There weren’t 17, as was previously reported. There were actually four, but they were saying there were 17, there were actually 4.

But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.

In case fever swamp visitors here can’t discern the actual meaning of the actual words Trump used, The President said that Putin believes what he’s saying. That is not the same as Trump believing it. Additionally, Trump saying that he trusts his current intel leaders isn’t the same as saying he trusts the arguably cooked intel with shaky to non-existent evidence produced by people in the previous administration. Remember, that work was done outside of normal channels and was directed by Obama administration officials who were all shown or have been shown to be very dishonest about very important matters:

  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who in Senate testimony claimed the NSA was “not wittingly” collecting data on Americans, when they had been for years.
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan, concerning his agency spying on Congress in 2014.
  • Former FBI Director James Comey, who “personally directed the leak to a reporter of a memo he kept regarding that detailed a conversation he had with President Trump”).

Longtime left-leaning blogger Ann Althouse observed that Trump’s answer was “a lot more nuanced than what you read in the mainstream news reports,” as in “Clearly stated nuance. You don’t usually get that.”

The press, which thrived on seeing absurd nuances in former President Obama’s remarks for eight years, now can’t recognize nuance, or for that matter the clear meaning of English words. It’s as if they turned off their nuance detectors on January 20, and replaced them with distortion enhancers.

Cross-posted at



  1. Please help me clarify for myself anyone: was that old report the one that claimed they could charge five (I think that was the number) Russians for “hacking” the DNC or was that something else?

    Also, I seen a few reports claiming at the much ballyhooed Donald Trump Jr. meeting with the Russian lawyer that a second dossier with info on Clinton Foundation donors that was paid for by Fusion GPS was offered/given to Trump but everywhere I’ve seen says the claim they had info on Clinton was a pretense and the lawyer had no dirt on Clinton. Where the heck are these supposed second Fusion GPS dossier reports coming from?

    Comment by zf — November 12, 2017 @ 5:48 pm

  2. Concerning your first question, I’ve never been aware that the intel community (and DOJ) thought it could charge specifically named Russians for the (alleged) hack.

    As to 2nd dossier, if by that you mean “dirt on the Clintons and their foundation,” the latest is that Fusion met with the people who met with Donald Trump Jr. both before and after that meeting, that Fusion prepared the info which was supposedly to be used, and that people with connections to Fusion were even among the attendees:

    REPORT: Fusion GPS Met With Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya BEFORE AND AFTER Trump Jr. Sit Down

    The Plot Thickens=> Memo Presented by Russian Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting Was Written by… FUSION GPS

    Gateway Pundit’s posts are sourced to Fox News and Reuters.

    Comment by Tom — November 12, 2017 @ 6:21 pm

  3. #2, Thanks. As for the first part, where I got that from was Fox News on Saturday. They were talking about the side meeting with Putin and Trump. The chryons while they chatted were stating to the effect that there was a CIA report and the report said the CIA had enough info to indict 5 (or so) Russian individuals who had hacked the DNC and that they gave the emails to WikiLeaks. I was surprised and thought that was odd as I’ve seen no proof there was a hack and that it was Russia, let alone that they had actual proof of any individuals involved. Reading this post made me think the report mentioned in the Chryon might be the old one, as I recall there was misreporting on Saturday that the CIA had made new statements in response to Trump’s Putin comments when in fact they had simply reiterated what they had said before. It’s confusing and I’m not normally a dense person.

    On the second issue to be clear: the story I thought was true was that the Russian lawyer claimed she had dirt on Hillary. Donald Jr. and others met her in Trump Tower but then she said she didn’t have any info on Clinton and actually wanted to talk about adoptions. Trump people told her they didn’t want to and then left. This account is not accurate then?

    Comment by zf — November 12, 2017 @ 7:05 pm

  4. I think that account is still accurate. I believe that the goal was to pull of some form of entrapment, and it didn’t work, but I obviously can’t say that for sure.

    Comment by Tom — November 12, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

  5. Please note that both Brennan and Clapper appeared on a show to counter Trump’s off the cuff remark about Putin saying he didn’t order any interference in the US elections. Now why do you suppose both Brennan and Clapper jumped on that so quickly??? Sounds like they were being super sensitive and possibly reacting out of guilt to protect themselves. Why would I say that? Well, we need only to refer back to Brennan’s own comments on first seeing the Golden Showers Dossier. He was so concerned about what he saw in it that he… ordered an investigation into it and sent info to the FBI.

    Obama’s political appointee to the CIA ordered an investigation whose sole reason was to investigate a political opponent to Obama and his chosen successor Hillary Clinton…

    …It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer. Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.
    Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians. Mr. Brennan did not name either the Russians or the Trump people. He indicated he did not know what was said.
    But he said he believed the contacts were numerous enough to alert the FBI, which began its probe into Trump associates that same July, according to previous congressional testimony from then-FBI director James B. Comey…

    …As Mr. Brennan described his actions to the House committee: “I wanted to make sure that every information and bit of intelligence that we had was shared with the bureau [FBI] so that they could take it. It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the bureau.
    “I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred,” Mr. Brennan added.
    Eleven months later, there is no official public confirmation that Trump people colluded with the Russians on hacking…

    bolds mine

    Brennan’s faux concern was the cover to use the CIA’s imprimatur and resources to enhance the Golden Showers Dossier by acting as if it might be true. A government agency was used to send “tidbits” of info to the FBI. This is how an agency of the government is politicized by political hacks like Brennan, he used an duped his underlings.

    Now let’s think about that for a minute… wait for it… wait for it…

    When the analysts at the CIA and others reviewed the report, did they know or acknowledge that it was commissioned by Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC???? No???? What? No???? You mean the Intelligence Community who made the report in January 2017 saying that Russians were interfering in the US elections didn’t know Hillary paid for that report? Wait, What???? Who do you believe? The IC who so blindly accepted the Golden Shower Dossier as true, possibly ignorant of the funding source of the Dossier and saying the Russians hacked the DNC OR Wikileaks Julian Assange who says Seth Rich (leaked) provided him with the data on a thumb drive???

    Trump is absolutely correct in describing Brennan and Clapper as political hacks. They abused their office by trying to put their thumbs on various scales to make Trump look bad and more importantly make Hillary look less crooked/corrupt.


    As a side note, it’s not looking good for the CIA analysts when they “apparently” can be duped by Democrats into producing a report with political underpinnings. OR it could be far worse…they weren’t duped and produced the report knowingly. If it is the former, the SVR is having great fun dealing with rank amateurs, if the latter, the SVR knows that anytime they want to dupe the CIA, they just need a Democrat cut out to feed them misinformation. Either way it’s not pretty. Guys, as professionals you need to move past the shame of being played by your then boss Brennan, and take the criticism positively. NSA, we know you are listening, conceal your smile while passing on this criticism.

    Comment by dscott — November 13, 2017 @ 8:03 am

  6. I’m just going to assume the bizarre “we have individual Russians we could indict for hacking the DNC” was a claim in that old (questionable) report. If this was new information/a new claim the MSM would be going berzerk right now with delight.

    Comment by zf — November 13, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

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