Comparing the Intelligence Community Assessment and the Steele Dossier

Now that I’ve surveyed what’s in the declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Hacking (ICA) and the Steele dossier, it’s useful to compare them.

The dossier contains more information, but it hasn’t been confirmed. Specific names and meetings are cited in the dossier but not in the ICA; the dossier also contains incidents not in the ICA. The fact that similar information appears in both documents may be confirmatory or may come from the same sources. The ICA is opaque about sources, so it is not possible to evaluate those possibilities.

I’ve listed the ICA findings and correlated similar findings from the dossier below. Document numbers and dates are given for the dossier findings.

ICA Finding Steele Dossier
Putin ordered the campaign. (high confidence) Putin directing operation, wants to cause discord in West, return to 19th C “Great Power” politics. (080, 20 Jun 2016)
The goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Hillary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. (high confidence) Well-developed “conspiracy” of cooperation between Trump campaign and Russian leadership to defeat Clinton. Paul Manafort and Carter Page, others, are intermediaries. (095, no date)
This campaign significantly escalated directness, level of activity, and scope of effort over earlier disinformation campaigns. (high confidence) No comparisons to earlier activity included.
Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for Donald Trump. (high confidence) Russian regime has been supporting and cultivating Trump for at least five years. (080, 20 Jun 2016)
Putin and the Russian government aspired to help Trump’s election chances when possible (CIA and FBI: high confidence; NSA: moderate confidence) Several reports (095, no date; 94, 19 July 2016; 097, 30 July 2016; 130, 12 Oct 2016; 136, 20 October 2016;) give details of Trump campaign aides working with the Kremlin on campaign issues.
Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign; when Clinton’s chances seemed to improve, the Russian campaign focused more on undermining her. The discussion of the approach to the two candidates focuses on the time after Paul Manafort left the campaign and the possibility of Russian influence became public. That improved Clinton’s chances. Discussions over the basic strategy within campaign (097, 30 July 2016) and the Kremlin (100, 5 August 2016; 111, 14 September 2016; 130, 12 October 2016) became heated, and Sergei Ivanov, who had led the activity, was replaced with Anton Vaino (135, 19 October 2016).
Moscow used covert and overt activities in the campaign, including cyber activity, and efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid trolls. Approaching US citizens of Russian origin to recruit for cyber operations. FSB provides money, has been successful in installing malware via cheap Russian IT games (086, 26 July 2016).

Three elements: Agents/facilitators w/in Democratic Party itself; Russian émigré and associated offensive cyber operators in US; state-sponsored cyber operators in Russia (095, no date).

Mechanism for transmitting this intel involves “pension” disbursements fo Russian emigres living in US as cover, using consular officials in New York, DC, and Miami. Tens of thousands of dollars involved (095, no date).

Agreed that Romanian hackers, others, would stand down. Ivanov’s team responsible for hackers (166, no date).

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties. Not mentioned.
Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and to release DNC emails obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks. (high confidence) Russian regime behind leaks of DNC emails to Wikileaks for plausible deniability. (095, no date)

Wikileaks release of DNC emails moved voters from Sanders to Trump (102, 10 August 2016).

More hacked emails in pipeline to Wikileaks, but best material already out (130, 12 October 2016).

Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards, although not to those involved in vote tallying. Not mentioned.
Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. Focus is mainly on emails and kompromat against Clinton.
Moscow will apply lessons learned from this campaign aimed to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

Confidence in judgments has increased since early November 2016.

Conclusions of the intelligence group; no parallel in the dossier.



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