The “All 17 Agencies Agreed” Myth

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Subject: The “All 17 Agencies Agreed” Myth
Date: Fri, 26 May 2017
From: Jeffrey Carr <greylogic.carr@gmail.com>

Founder, Suits and Spooks (suitsandspooks.com)
Author, “Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld” (O’Reilly Media, 2009, 2011)

The “All 17 Intelligence Agencies Concluded That Russia Is Responsible” Myth that originated with Hilary Clinton is wrong, has always been wrong, and was confirmed as wrong by former ODNI James Clapper in his May 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election [1].

SENATOR AL FRANKEN: “The Intelligence Communities [sic] concluded, all 17 of them, that Russia interfered with the election.”
GENERAL JAMES CLAPPER: “Senator, as I pointed out in my statement, there were only three agencies directly involved in the assessment (CIA, NSA, FBI).
SENATOR AL FRANKEN: “But all 17 signed on.”
GENERAL JAMES CLAPPER: “We didn’t go through the process. It was a special situation because of the time limit, and I knew who could contribute to it and it was a conscious judgment to restrict it to those three.”

Further, all anyone would have to do is look at the list of 17 agencies [2] and then ask yourself, did the U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence Agency really have sources and methods that would provide data relevant to an investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election?

What about the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence which concerns itself with nuclear weapons and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – did they drop what they were doing to evaluate Crowdstrike’s report on the DNC hack? I’m guessing no.

Or maybe the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence who has its hands full with money laundering by drug cartels and tracking terrorists through the global financial network decided to put all that on hold while they throw every available resource at determining if Guccifer 2.0 was just pretending to be Romanian but was really Russian!

Obviously not.

Finally, everyone on this list who has any background in working with a U.S. or foreign intelligence agency will agree with me when I say that assessments are called assessments because the facts aren’t known. When dealing with so many unknowns, there is never universal agreement among analysts at the same agency let alone different agencies.

NOTES:

[1] https://www.c-span.org/video/?427577-1/white-house-warned-general-flynn-compromised&live&start=8277 at the 02:18:27 mark.
[2] https://www.dni.gov/index.php/what-we-do/members-of-the-ic