With the release of the Durham report, we can confirm that democracy has, in fact, died, thanks in no small part to the Washington Post. The only remaining question is who killed it.
A June 23, 2017, Post feature article, complete with charts and color photos, holds some clues. “Early last August ,” the article opens breathlessly, “an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House.”
According to the Post, CIA honcho John Brennan sent an “intelligence bombshell” directly to Obama, an “eyes only” document with sourcing deep inside the Kremlin.
The Brennan document allegedly detailed “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.”
Reportedly, Putin was not just meddling in the campaign but was actively trying to defeat Hillary and elect Trump.
“In political terms,” insisted the credulous trio of Post reporters, “Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy.”
We now know from the Durham report the Post played a major role in the real political “crime of the century,” not in its exposure, but in its execution.
In fact, the Post got everything in the above article wrong, embarrassingly wrong. If the Post brass care about their reputation, they need to tell the world who wrecked that reputation and why.
The article cited above is a good place to look for answers. At the center of both the article and the Durham report is the leading suspect in the Post’s ruination, the CIA’s Brennan.
According to Durham, on July 26, 2016, Hillary Clinton approved a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers “to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.”
“Clinton Plan intelligence,” says Durham, “itself and on its face arguably suggested that private actors affiliated with the Clinton campaign were seeking in 2016 to promote a false or exaggerated narrative to the public and to U.S. government agencies about Trump’s possible ties to Russia.”
Durham notes, too, that “Clinton Plan intelligence was derived from insight that ‘U.S. intelligence agencies obtained into Russian intelligence analysis.'” If there was “sourcing deep inside the Kremlin,” as the Post insists, those sources were planting the seeds that became the Clinton Plan.
As Durham tells it, Brennan received the Clinton Plan in late July 2016. On Aug. 3, he met with President Obama, Vice President Biden, FBI Director James Comey and senior administration officials in the White House Situation Room.
This was the meeting, according to the Post, at which Brennan shared his “intelligence bombshell.” Durham’s account and the Post’s diverge on what that intelligence was.
“Specifically,” says Durham, “Director Brennan’s declassified handwritten notes reflect that he briefed the meeting’s participants regarding the ‘alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on 26 July of a proposal from one of her [campaign] advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.'”
If Brennan’s handwritten notes reflect what he actually said at that meeting, the Post’s source badly misled the reporters.
According to the Post, Brennan’s bombshell “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives – defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.”
Peter Strzok had opened the FBI’s investigation into Russia-Trump collusion four days before this meeting. Had Brennan been as forthcoming as his notes suggest, the FBI would have had no excuse to continue an operation that Durham excoriates for its lack of foundation.
But Brennan may not have been forthcoming. “When interviewed,” Durham reports, “Brennan generally recalled reviewing the [Clinton Plan] materials but stated he did not recall focusing specifically on its assertions regarding the Clinton campaign’s purported plan.”
“He recalled instead,” notes Durham, “focusing on Russia’s role in hacking the DNC.” Occam’s razor says Brennan may not have mentioned the Clinton Plan intelligence at all. Those present wanted to believe Trump was colluding with Russia. Brennan, it seems, did nothing to discourage their beliefs.
What the Durham Report proved beyond any doubt that is that the intelligence the CIA received about the Clinton Plan in late July 2016 was on target. Clinton and her cronies had, in fact, launched the most significant dirty trick campaign in political history.
In June 2017, the Post was still caught up in its own fictions, referring to what Durham called “Clinton Plan intelligence” as “the Putin intelligence.” As Durham proves decisively, there was no Putin intelligence.
Incredibly, not until Oct. 24, 2017, did the Post finally admit the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the creation of the centerpiece of the “Putin intelligence,” the Steele dossier.
That revelation caused no soul searching at the Post or elsewhere. In April 2018, the Post shared a Pulitzer with the New York Times for reporting that “dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign.”
The real payoff came in the 2018 midterms. Although by any metric things were going swimmingly in President Donald Trump’s America, the Democrats captured 41 seats in the House, their biggest gain in a midterm since the post-Watergate tsunami of 1974.
Lacking a real Watergate, the Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media had created one. The Mueller investigation sustained the illusion of collusion through November, and as a prize, the Dems got the House of Representatives.
Among the more amusing nuggets, in the June 2017 Post article is the scolding of Russia for “a troubling pattern of propaganda in which fictitious news stories … proliferated across social-media platforms.”
Russia, really? Are there no mirrors at the Washington Post?
Jack Cashill’s “Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities” is available for pre-order in all formats.
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