1/12/17, "Pulling a J. Edgar Hoover on Trump," Robert Parry, Consortium News
Trump is fending off a U.S. intelligence leak of unproven allegations
that he cavorted with Russian prostitutes, but the darker story might be
the CIA’s intervention in U.S. politics, reports Robert Parry."
"The decision by the U.S. intelligence community to include in an
official report some unverified and salacious accusations against
President-elect Donald Trump resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J.
Edgar Hoover’s playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very
derogatory information about you that I’d sure hate to see end up in the
In this case, as leaders of the U.S. intelligence community were
pressing Trump to accept their assessment that the Russian government
had tried to bolster Trump’s campaign by stealing and leaking actual
emails harmful to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Trump was confronted with
this classified “appendix” describing claims about him cavorting with
prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
Supposedly, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA
Director John Brennan included the unproven allegations in the report
under the rationale that the Russian government might have videotaped
Trump’s misbehavior and thus could use it to blackmail him. But the U.S.
intelligence community also had reasons to want to threaten Trump who
has been critical of its performance and who has expressed doubts about
its analysis of the Russian “hacking.”
After the briefing last Friday, Trump and his incoming administration
did shift their position, accepting the intelligence community’s
assessment that the Russian government hacked the emails of the
Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta.
But I’m told Trump saw no evidence that Russia then leaked the material
to WikiLeaks and has avoided making that concession.
Still, Trump’s change in tone was noted by the mainstream media and
was treated as an admission that he was abandoning his earlier
skepticism. In other words, he was finally getting on board the
intelligence community’s Russia-did-it bandwagon. Now, however, we know
that Trump simultaneously had been confronted with the possibility that
the unproven stories about him engaging in unorthodox sex acts with
prostitutes could be released, embarrassing him barely a week before his
The classified report, with the explosive appendix, was also given to
President Obama and the so-called “Gang of Eight,”
members of Congress responsible for oversight of the intelligence
community, which increased chances that the Trump accusations would be
leaked to the press, which indeed did happen.
The stories about Russian intelligence supposedly filming Trump in a high-end Moscow hotel with prostitutes have been circulating around Washington
for months. I was briefed about them by a Hillary Clinton associate who
was clearly hopeful that the accusations would be released before the
election and thus further damage Trump’s chances. But the alleged video
never seemed to surface and the claims had all the earmarks of a
campaign dirty trick.
However, now the tales of illicit frolic have been elevated to
another level. They have been inserted into an official U.S.
intelligence report, the details of which were leaked first to CNN and
then to other mainstream U.S. news media outlets.
Trump has denounced the story as “fake news” and it is certainly true
that the juicy details – reportedly assembled by a former British MI-6
spy named Christopher Steele – have yet to check out. But the placement
of the rumors in a U.S. government document gave the mainstream media an
excuse to publicize the material.
It’s also allowed the media to again trot out the Russian word
“compromat” as if the Russians invented the game of assembling
derogatory information about someone and then using it to discredit or
blackmail the person.
In American history, legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was
infamous for using his agency to develop negative information on a
political figure and then letting the person know that the FBI had the
dirt and certainly would not want it to become public – if only the
person would do what the FBI wanted, whether that was to reappoint
Hoover to another term or to boost the FBI’s budget or – in the infamous
case of civil rights leader Martin Luther King – perhaps to commit
However, in this case, it is not even known whether the Russians have
any dirt on Trump. It could just be rumors concocted in the middle of a
hard-fought campaign, first among Republicans battling Trump for the
nomination (this opposition research was reportedly initiated by backers
of Sen. Marco Rubio in the GOP race) before being picked up by Clinton
supporters for use in the general election.
Still, perhaps the more troubling issue is whether the U.S.
intelligence community has entered a new phase of politicization in
which its leadership feels that it has the responsibility to weed out
“unfit” contenders for the presidency. During the general election
campaign, a well-placed intelligence source told me that the
intelligence community disdained both Clinton and Trump and hoped to
discredit both of them with the hope that a more “acceptable” person
could move into the White House for the next four years.
Hurting Both Candidates
Though I was skeptical of that information, it did turn out that FBI
Director James Comey, one of the top officials in the intelligence
community, badly damaged Clinton’s campaign by deeming her handling of
her emails as Secretary of State “extremely careless” but deciding not
to prosecute her – and then in the last week of the campaign briefly
reopening and then re-closing the investigation.
Then, after the election, President Obama’s CIA began leaking
allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin had orchestrated the
hacking of Democratic emails and provided them to WikiLeaks to reveal
how the DNC undermined Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign and what Clinton
had told Wall Street bigwigs in paid speeches that she had sought to
keep secret from the American people.
The intelligence community’s assessment set the stage for what could
have been a revolt by the Electoral College in which enough Trump
delegates could have refused to vote for him to send the election into
the House of Representatives, where the states would choose the
President from one of the top three vote-getters in the Electoral
College. The third-place finisher turned out to be former Secretary of
State Colin Powell who got four votes from Clinton delegates in
Washington State. But the Electoral College ploy failed when Trump’s
delegates proved overwhelmingly faithful to the GOP candidate.
Now, we are seeing what looks like a new phase in this “stop (or
damage) Trump” strategy, the inclusion of anti-Trump dirt in an official
intelligence report that was then leaked to the major media.
Whether this move was meant to soften up Trump or whether the
intelligence community genuinely thought that the accusations might be
true and deserved inclusion in a report on alleged Russian interference
in U.S. politics or whether it was some combination of the two, we are
witnessing a historic moment when the U.S. intelligence community has
deployed its extraordinary powers within the domain of U.S. politics. J.
Edgar Hoover would be proud."
Thursday, January 12, 2017
It's a historic moment when the U.S. intelligence community has deployed its extraordinary powers within the domain of U.S. politics to change the outcome of an election and the will of voters after the fact. J. Edgar Hoover would be proud-Robert Parry, Consortium News ('The intelligence community' is no doubt being cheered on by its pals, the Establishments of both Democrat and Republican parties, each of which is dedicated to preventing voters from having the candidate of their choice)
Posted by susan at 9:42 PM