The Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Hacking

I’ve worked through the Steele dossier. Now I’ll look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions In Recent US Elections.” In the continuing and ever-changing story of the Donald Trump administration’s relations with Russia, I want to work through, carefully, what we know and don’t know. Far too much remains in the latter category to connect the dots.

The ICA covers similar territory to the Steele dossier. The question of Russian hacking of the election is of concern both to the funders of the Steele dossier and to American citizens generally. In addition, the Steele dossier was available to the authors of the ICA. Since the publication of the ICA, we have learned that the FBI wanted to pay Steele to continue his investigation for them. Read More

The Steele Dossier

In early January, BuzzFeed published a set of documents describing information acquired by a private intelligence firm. The dossier had been in the possession of the FBI and intelligence organizations since late summer and was the basis for several news stories and Congressional comment.

The information was on Russian connections with Donald Trump’s campaign. It consists of reports from various sources on conversations by campaign operatives and Russian officials. The sources are not identified, but some seem to be privy to conversations at high levels within the Russian government. Read More

Links – February 15, 2017

The Trump circus in the White House continues. You have undoubtedly seen more than enough articles about Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor because of his (not fully explained) telephone conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, or maybe it was because he lied to Vice President Michael Pence, or maybe it was because someone leaked about the whole mess to the media.

So I won’t link to much of that; in any case, I am working on posts relating to it and the question of just how connected the White House is to Russia. Flynn is the third to resign from Trump’s service for too much connection to Russia, along with Paul Manafort and Carter Page. You have probably seen news reports about calls for an independent investigative body to look at the whole mess. Read More

Michael Flynn’s Phonecalls

The Washington Post and the New York Times published stories last night with more information about Michael Flynn’s phonecalls to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Not long ago, it appeared that those phonecalls might have been no problem.

The phonecalls came after President Obama expelled members of the Russian embassy to the United States in retaliation for Russian hacking of the US election. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made a statement indicating that there would be a reciprocal expulsion of Americans; this is standard diplomatic practice in such situations. But within a day, and after the phonecalls, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would suspend that standard, not expelling any Americans.   Read More

Links – February 6, 2017

It’s hard to know how to deal with every day’s tsunami of Trump news. On the one hand, much of it affects US foreign relations and some the nuclear part of that. On the other, the administration lies and backtracks so much that it’s tempting to blow off much of it. The sheer volume of leaks, much of it on gossipy trivia, is tempting as a focus. The leaks themselves, as well as much of their content, indicate that White House operations are chaotic, and the bureaucracy is mostly resisting the crazier demands. Steve Bannon is much too influential, and President Trump isn’t reading what he signs.

There are hundreds of articles that I might link by the standards I’ve used in the past. But I don’t have that kind of time, and neither do you. It’s not a bad idea to check the New York Times or the Washington Post daily; both are doing a good job of covering the chaos. (Yes, I would complain about their campaign coverage too, but there are too many other things to do now.) I’ll try to present articles that help with thinking out how to deal with a presidency gone wrong, and foreign policy news that may be getting lost in the furor. Maybe some fun, too.  Read More

Links – January 31, 2017

Donald Trump’s government is taking up all the oxygen in the news. In a way, rightly so. But we have to keep ourselves sane and focus on the issues we can do something about. So I am continuing to look at the Russian connections. I’ll post when I have something ready. In the meanwhile, with an apology for too much Trump, here are some links.

One more fact: My yarn store had some more-or-less pink yarn that will go into some people’s pussyhats. It was all they had, and they said that the distributor didn’t know when they’d have more pink. Good job, ladies! 👍 Read More

Trump and Russia – The Multiagency Investigation

There were plenty of clues before the election that Donald Trump and his associates had more ties to Russia than any other presidential candidate for the past fifty years. But the media chose to ignore them in favor of a Hillary Clinton email server that might have been vulnerable to hacking. Not actually hacked, just vulnerable. Oh, and her staff’s recipes for risotto after emails were hacked from the Democratic National Committee server, probably by Russia. Read More