NEW YORK — The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a seven-page report documenting its initial findings in its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, affirming a U.S. Intelligence Community report alleging the Russian government specifically sought to aid Donald Trump’s election chances.
Below, in no particular order, are three major problems with the Senate Select Committee’s initial report, which was released on Tuesday.
1 – The Committee admits it had to rely upon intelligence agencies for the accuracy of the information collected for its findings.
The summary report states (emphasis added):
The Committee finds that the Intelligence Community met President Obama’s tasking and that the ICA is a sound intelligence product. While the Committee had to rely on agencies that the sensitive information and accesses had been accurately reported, as part of our inquiry the Committee reviewed analytic procedures, interviewed senior intelligence officers well-versed with the information, and based our findings on the entire body of intelligence reporting included in the ICA.
2 – The Committee concludes the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to aid President Trump’s election chances was reached in a “professional and transparent manner.” This conclusion is contradicted by an extensive Republican House Intelligence Committee report, and the narrative of Russia seeking to get Trump elected was partially challenged by the recently released book of James Clapper, who served as director of National Intelligence under the Obama administration. It was Clapper’s agency that released the Intelligence Community report.
The January 6, 2017 U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) report found the Russian government sought to aid Trump’s “election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
In the IC report, the NSA assessed the conclusion that Putin favored Trump and worked to get him elected only with a classification of “moderate confidence,” while the FBI and CIA gave it a “high confidence” rating.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found:
The difference in confidence levels between the NSA and the CIA and FBI on the assessment that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances” appropriately represents analytic differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner.
However, the Republican House Intelligence Committee’s 250-page report on alleged Russian collusion released in April concluded a yearlong investigation finding no evidence that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
One section of the report finds that the IC assessment of Putin’s strategic intentions for allegedly interfering in the U.S. election to aid Trump “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft” and contained “significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence” in the judgments, including the failure to “be independent of political considerations.”
As Breitbart News reported, Clapper’s recent book describes numerous shifts in Russia’s alleged attitude toward Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
At first, Clapper writes that Russia simply opposed Hillary Clinton and didn’t favor one Republican presidential candidate. After Trump seemed initially poised to possibly win, Clapper relates an alleged Russian propaganda effort to aid Trump’s victory in order to defeat Clinton. Toward the final stretch of the presidential campaign, with Trump’s poll numbers falling, Clapper wrote that Russia shifted its position away from aiding Trump and focused mainly on opposing Hillary, even allegedly providing Green Party candidate Jill Stein with more favorable coverage.
3 – The Senate Intelligence Committee’s initial finding that the anti-Trump dossier was not a factor in the IC’s analysis is at odds with descriptions from both Clapper and former National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.
The Committee’s summary report states:
The FBI had a collection of reports a former foreign intelligence officer was hired to compile as opposition research for the U.S. election, referred to as the “dossier,” when the ICA was drafted. However, those reports remained separate from the conclusions of the ICA. All individuals the Committee interviewed verified that the dossier did not in any way inform the analysis in the ICA – including the key findings – because it was unverified information and had not been disseminated as serialized intelligence reporting.
The FBI was one of three agencies that authored the IC report.
As RealClearPolitics.com documents, former National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers wrote in a classified letter that the dossier played a role in the IC’s assessment and a dossier summary was included in an initial draft appendix:
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
Clapper also conceded during a CNN interview that the IC assessment was able to corroborate “some of the substantive content of the dossier,” implying that the dossier itself was a factor.
“I think with respect to the dossier itself, the key thing is doesn’t matter who paid for it,” Clapper said. “It’s what the dossier said and the extent to which it was — it’s corroborated or not. We had some concerns about it from the standpoint of its sourcing which we couldn’t corroborate.”
“But at the same time, some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community assessment which from other sources in which we had very high confidence to it,” he added.
The dossier was produced by the controversial Fusion GPS firm, which was paid for its anti-Trump work by Trump’s primary political opponents, namely Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) via the Perkins Coie law firm.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.