In an assertion that has been accepted as truth by the fake news, Democratic Party hacks, and even some conservative commentators, FBI spook Robert Mueller declared in May that the Russian government engaged in “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
Journalist Aaron Maté exposed Mueller’s deceptive and misleading claims with the veteran FBI spook’s own words for a recent article published by Real Clear Investigations.
Maté draws attention to Mueller’s use of purposely vague descriptors indicating that he never really knew if Russians hacked Democratic Party emails and handed them over to WikiLeaks. Mueller writes that the Russian intelligence agency, the GRU, only appeared to steal “thousands of emails and attachments” from DNC servers in page 41 of his report.
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Another telling passage on page 47 states: “The Office cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.” This indicates that Mueller isn’t exactly sure how WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received the information, and his proposed timeline harms the credibility of his claims even further.
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Mueller’s account of the timeline indicates that Assange announced the release of the allegedly hacked emails before he initially communicated with the sources that allegedly provided them. Assange said that he had “upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton” on Jun. 12, 2016 while the supposed GRU-front DCLeaks made initial contact with Assange two days later. The DCLeaks account seemed to claim that they had additional content they wanted to share with Assange.
“What do you think about publishing our info at the same moment?” DCLeaks asked WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks also told Guccifer 2.0, another alleged GRU operation, to “[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” This also indicates that Assange had information that he obtained before talking to these alleged Russian intelligence sources.
Other language in the Mueller report indicates that the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 operations had contact with each other over Twitter that made the two entities not seem like a coordinated effort from the GRU. The Mueller report claimed that “the Guccifer 2.0 persona informed DCLeaks that WikiLeaks was trying to contact DCLeaks and arrange for a way to speak through encrypted emails.”
“Why would Russian intelligence cutouts running a sophisticated interference campaign communicate over an easily monitored social media platform?” Maté asked. “In one of many such instances throughout the report, Mueller shows no curiosity in pursuing this obvious question.”
Assange has repeatedly claimed that the Russian government was not his source for obtaining the DNC emails.
“The U.S. intelligence community is not aware of when WikiLeaks obtained its material or when the sequencing of our material was done or how we obtained our material directly,” Assange said in January 2017.
“WikiLeaks sources in relation to the Podesta emails and the DNC leak are not members of any government. They are not state parties. They do not come from the Russian government,” he added.
Mueller’s unwillingness to interview Assange for his report also raises questions, considering Assange was ready to comply with the request. According to reports, Assange “was willing to discuss technical evidence ruling out certain parties” accused of providing DNC emails to him with the Department of Justice. FBI Director James Comey allegedly gave a “stand down” order that ended any possibility of talks with Assange.
In perhaps the most startling detail currently known about the investigation into the emails, Comey explained to Congress in 2017 that the FBI “never got direct access to the machines themselves” during their investigation into the DNC’s servers after the information was released.
They instead relied on CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity contractor that was hired by the Perkins Coie, which also contracted the Fusion GPS firm responsible for the dubious Steele dossier. CrowdStrike has a suspect record, as they had to retract a claim that Ukrainian military hardware was hacked by Russian software. This is the same Russian software they would claim the GRU used to hack the DNC. Their founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a Russian National known for his intense hatred of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, a long-time whistle-blower against deep state corruption, explained that the NSA could have found the source of any hack that took place in the DNC.
“If this was really an internet hack, the NSA could easily tell us when the information was taken and the route it took after being removed from the [DNC] server,” said Binney, who does not believe NSA intelligence was used in the Mueller report based on Mueller’s use of the term “in or around” rather than giving specific time stamps for events that occurred.
In the legal case of Roger Stone, it was discovered that CrowdStrike actually redacted reports before they handed them over to the FBI. The feds simply trusted CrowdStrike’s assertion that “no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.”
Mueller also fails to list any hard evidence in his report connecting the activities of the Internet Research Agency, LLC (IRA) to the Kremlin. The IRA, funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, spent just $46,000 between 2015 and 2017 on social media posts. A report from the U.S. Senate showed that “roughly 6% of tweets, 18% of Instagram posts, and 7% of Facebook posts” by the IRA mentioned Trump or Clinton at all.
Facebook’s investigation into the operation explained that the IRA “had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government.” They only began to change their tune after “aides to Hillary Clinton and Obama” devised conspiracy theories to “explain what they saw as an unnatural turn of events” that catapulted Donald Trump into the presidency.
Mueller also provides no evidence in his report for the assertion that his “investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.” Mueller seems to take the conclusions from former CIA Director John Brennan’s intelligence community assessment (ICA) produced in January 2017 as if they are tangible evidence, but the ICA stated its conclusions were “not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”
The ICA was suspect from the start because it needed to be produced quickly before the Trump administration took office, which former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said is highly irregular while giving testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in June.
“Ordinarily, the kind of assessment that you’re talking about, there would be something that would take well over a year to do, certainly many months to do,” McCarthy said. “…[S]eems to me, in this instance, there was a rush to get that out within a matter of days.”
President Obama also refused to allow a bipartisan commission to look into alleged Russian interference, choosing to keep it a partisan matter and shield his top bureaucrats like Brennan from any scrutiny. Right now, Attorney General Bill Barr is investigating “the C.I.A. sources who helped inform its understanding of the details of the Russian interference campaign” to get some concrete answers about what exactly went on.
Maté notes that a document declassification could really help the public understand the role that CrowdStrike played in manufacturing the intelligence that drove Mueller’s investigation and the hastily-produced ICA under Brennan. President Trump has given AG Barr the authority to release those documents, but that is still pending as the investigation continues.
“If the U.S. government does not have a solid case to make against Russia, then the origins of Russiagate, and its subsequent predominance of U.S. political and media focus, are potentially even more suspect,” Maté wrote to conclude his analysis. “Given that allegation’s importance, and Mueller’s own uncertainty and inconsistencies, the special counsel and his aides deserve scrutiny for making a “central allegation” that they have yet to substantiate.”
Maté, who went into further detail exposing the questionable nature of the Mueller report in his exposé, is far from a right-wing demagogue. He is a journalist who writes for the left-wing magazine, The Nation and formerly hosted Democracy Now, a popular progressive talk show. This liberal journalist’s exhaustive take-down of the Mueller report and its flimsy premises show that Trump is correct in his characterization of the investigation as an “illegally started hoax.”
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