January 7, 2017

The (U) 2016 Election Report From ODNI

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:46 am

odni-u-report-coverOn January 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)  released its unclassified background report entitled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”.

The (U) background report makes it very clear that the Russian Federation government at the direction of President Vladimir Putin mounted an information campaign intended to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in the United States.

That revelation has provided the breathless headlines for many skewspaper articles and broadcast skews blather which would have us conclude that this has never happened before and that the United States of America has never and would never engage in anything so nefarious as to try and influence who controls other nations’ governments.  Both conclusions are wrong.

Long before the Soviet Union dissolved, it had been using influence campaigns to try and influence western elections.   It hasn’t stopped.  If the incoming cast of Republican clowns think that Putin and his intelligence services (SVR, FSB, GRU) haven’t been laying the groundwork to disrupt the Trump administration using similar and even more aggressive tactics, then those Republicans need to re-read the report and be drug tested regularly. (It’s not only the Russians.  The People’s Republic of China,  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and several of our allies have the ability and very probably the will to do much worse.)

What the Russians did in the 2016 election campaign was attack the vulnerabilities of several electronic storage media to gather information for their influence campaign.   Those vulnerabilities were known or should have been known to the systems’  administrators.   For the past eight years efforts by the Intelligence Community to beef up counterintelligence (CI), including offensive CI operations, were largely rebuffed by President Obama.

The report offers no evidence the Russians successfully manipulated votes via cyberattacks.

As for any misplaced belief that the United States would never do unto someone else what the Russians did unto us, ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the efforts by President Obama and his henchmen at State Department to get Netanyahu ousted in 2015.   Go back even further to the 1973 support by President Richard Nixon for the Chilean coup ousting President Salvador Allende and to the numerous efforts under President John F. Kennedy to remove and even kill Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro.

The links in the first paragraph provide a pretty good primer for those wanting to know more about how the Intelligence Community assesses threats and how it provides information to decision makers.  It also hints at what worked in preventing the Russians from doing what our skews media wish had happened:  actually manipulating the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.


  1. Seriously, who didn’t attempt to influence the outcome of the election? The media? Wall Street? Big business tycoons? Even local elections have elements of this type of influence, at a smaller scale.

    What resonates with me is that the Russians (or whomever) hacked into the DNC’s email server and exposed the fraud committed by the DNC and Clinton campaign. Yet that’s not an issue with the Clinton fanatics. They point fingers at the Russians for exposing the fraud, which is a job that the American media should have otherwise done, if they weren’t already in bed with the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

    Still, it puzzles me that the Russians (and other parties not exposed) would want Trump as President. To me, Clinton would have been the better bet. She’s demonstrated a high level of corruptibility and would be far easier to bribe and influence than the unpredictable, uncontrollable Trump. So I don’t fully understand Russia’s motives, unless Clinton somehow backstabbed Putin and he was merely seeking revenge.

    Comment by Dan Gookin — January 7, 2017 @ 9:25 am

  2. Talk about spin. Really, anybody who has followed political events over the past few years from sources other than the so called mainstream media, knew about and were talking about all the stuff that has been breathlessly released by ODNI as something new. Putin was after Clinton solely because of revenge over her beating on him during his 2011 election. That is my spin.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — January 7, 2017 @ 11:44 am

  3. Dan,

    You’re correct.

    This type of influence operation is perpetual, yet apparently because it adversely affected Clinton’s campaign, it got a good deal more attention from the myopic media. If the Republicans think that the Russians haven’t run the same kind of op against them and don’t have similar dirty laundry lined up to air, they’re as dangerously ignorant as the Democrats.

    The OPM penetration in 2015 did a great deal more harm. It revealed information that hostile intel case officers can and will use to assess and control human intelligence sources for years to come, but it received much less skews media “analysis” and reporting.

    The skews media are the propaganda arm of the DNC. Wittingly or unwittingly, they will serve Russia and the PRC well for the next four years.

    Comment by Bill — January 7, 2017 @ 11:59 am

  4. Gary,

    You’re also correct.

    The political parties call it “opposition research.”

    I think there was an overemphasis on the role “cyber” whatever played in it in 2016. Data was stored in digital media, and the Russians used fairly straightforward means of getting at it. It was the various states’ diverse methods of voting that prevented the Russians from actually manipulating the vote results. If we ever go to all-electronic online voting using a federally-administered system rather than continuing to let each state control its own voting, it will make it much easier to not only manipulate the vote but also to use the techniques Russia used in 2016 to undermine the public’s confidence in our government agencies and even in our vote.

    Comment by Bill — January 7, 2017 @ 12:09 pm

  5. Finally, some rational and intelligent discussion about this subject. Thank you!

    Comment by Stebbijo — January 7, 2017 @ 2:29 pm

  6. Stebbijo,

    Thank you.

    Rational? Intelligent? Well! We can’t have that! It must’ve been an Albanian intelligence operation to penetrate OpenCdA and plant deceptive information.

    But now that the Department of Homeland Security has declared the US election system to be “critical infrastructure” and under the ever-watchful and all-seeing eye of Uncle Sugar, we have nothing to worry about. Tra-la-la-la-la.

    Comment by Bill — January 7, 2017 @ 8:05 pm

  7. In an October 1939 broadcast on the BBC, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

    The last sentence in that excerpt from his address explains Putin.

    Comment by Bill — January 9, 2017 @ 3:51 pm

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