CANARD–a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report. That’s how Merriam Dictionary defines the term and it certainly seems to be a dandy word to describe the claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election and that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agree.
As John Durham’s investigation of the origins of Russia gate continues to chug along, I thought it would be helpful to revisit the huge canard–i.e., that Russia tried to tip the 2016 election to Trump.
I nominate Hillary Clinton as The Queen of the Canard. We now know, thanks to John Durham’s indictment of Hillary’s lawyer, Michael Sussmann, that Hillary and her campaign adopted and implemented a political smear in the summer of 2016 to portray Donald Trump as a proxy of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This lie did not stop with the election of Trump in November 2016. In May 2017, during an interview by Walt Mossberg at the CODE conference, Hillary still was eager to feed the lie that Russia ensured Donald Trump’s victory and cited “17” U.S. intelligence agencies as her evidence:
Hillary: Now, the question is, where and how did the Russians get into this? And I think it’s a very important question. So, I assume that a lot of people here may have — and if you haven’t, I hope you will — read the declassified report by the Intelligence community that came out in early January.
Mossberg: This is 17 agencies …
Hillary: Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through paid advertising we think, they did it through false news sites, they did it through these thousand agents, they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed. So that was the conclusion. And I think it’s fair to ask, how did that actually influence the campaign? And how did they know what messages to deliver?
Hillary was knowingly liying, but she could feign fconfusion about this supposed fact given by pointing to the joint statement issued 7 October 2016 by the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security:
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
But this was a lie. It was not a legitimate judgement of the U.S. intelligence community and did not reflect the views of 17 separate U.S. intelligence agencies. Why?