If the US "intelligence services" were worried about Russian trolls, a phrase appearing 6 times in the joint report which concluded - without presenting any evidence - that Russia’s "undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrated Secretary Clinton, and harmed her electability and potential presidency" and that the "Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump", it may have an entire nation of trolls at its hands now.
The reason: as none other than the NYT admits, "the absence of any concrete evidence in the report of meddling by the Kremlin was met with a storm of mockery on Saturday by Russian politicians and commentators, who took to social media to ridicule the report as a potpourri of baseless conjecture."
Some examples: Alexey Pushkov, a member of the defense and security committee of the Russian Parliament’s upper house, ridiculed the American report as comparable to C.I.A. assertions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: “Mountain gave birth to a mouse: all accusations against Russia are based on ‘confidence’ and assumptions. US was sure about Hussein possessing WMD in the same way.”
He continued his criticism on Twitter, adding that "the U.S. democratic process was undermined not by Russia, but by the Obama administration and mass media, which supported [Hillary] Clinton over [President-elect Donald] Trump."
He proceeded to slam Obama as responsible for the Republicans' growing trust of Putin, stating that "the danger to democracy is within U.S. itself."
The Russian politician also criticized the Obama administration's allegation that Putin caused a decline in Russo-American relations, calling such a position "complete nonsense." "Obama took the course to isolate and undermine Russian positions, and Putin is to blame."
Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian parliament's upper house, added fuel to the fire, saying the U.S. intelligence community made unfounded allegations of Russia-sponsored hacker attacks, in favor of the outgoing US presidential administration and made a fool of itself.
Speaking to RIA Novosti, the senator said that the allegations "simply make no sense. The main reason is that no one can interfere with the electoral process in such country as the United States," he pointed out. "Acting in favor of the outgoing presidential administration, the US intelligence community laid itself open to ridicule."
Other Russians agreed such as Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of RT, a state-funded television network that broadcasts in English, who is cited repeatedly in the report, posted her own message on Twitter scoffing at the American intelligence community’s accusations. “Aaa, the CIA report is out! Laughter of the year! Intro to my show from 6 years ago is the main evidence of Russia’s influence at US elections. This is not a joke!” she wrote.
Even Russians who have been critical of their government voiced dismay at the United States intelligence agencies’ account of an elaborate Russian conspiracy unsupported by solid evidence. Alexey Kovalyov, a Russian journalist who has followed and frequently criticized RT, said he was aghast that the report had given so much attention to the television station. “I do have a beef with RT and their chief,” Mr. Kovalyov wrote in a social media post, “But they are not your nemesis, America. Please chill.”
The Kremlin, which has in the past repeatedly denied any role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer system, had no immediate response to the declassified report. Putin instead made a show of business as usual, attending a church service to mark the start of Orthodox Christmas.
His composure was understandable because as the NYT again remarkably notes, "The report provides no new evidence to support assertions that Moscow meddled covertly through hacking and other actions to boost the electoral chances of Donald J. Trump and undermine his rival, Hillary Clinton, but rests instead on what it describes as Moscow’s long record of trying to influence America’s political system."
In other words, speculation and innuendo. Curiously, the NYT's bashing of the report continued:
The public report did not include evidence on the sources and methods used to collect the information about Mr. Putin and his associates that intelligence officials said was in a classified version.
The NYT also cited Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian intelligence agencies at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, who said he was skeptical of the accusation that Putin had ordered the hacking. All the same, he added, Russian spies, like their Soviet predecessors, “don’t just collect information but try to assert influence.” United States intelligence operatives, he said, have often done the same thing but the Russians, convinced that the United States orchestrated protests in Ukraine in 2014 that toppled the pro-Moscow president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, and other popular uprisings in former Soviet lands, “have a more aggressive approach to meddling in other people’s politics.”
The NYT continued: "Galeotti, the intelligence expert in Prague, cautioned that this mission to influence foreign politics was not a uniquely Russian phenomenon but had also been embraced in the past by the C.I.A., which, in the 1950s, sought to shape and subvert politics in countries like Iran and Guatemala."
Actually, and this is the real punchline, there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to US involvement in overthrowing foreign regimes. Here are just the examples since World War II (* indicates successful ouster of a government)
◦China 1949 to early 1960s
◦East Germany 1950s
◦Iran 1953 *
◦Guatemala 1954 *
◦Costa Rica mid-1950s
◦British Guiana 1953-64 *
◦Iraq 1963 *
◦North Vietnam 1945-73
◦Cambodia 1955-70 *
◦Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
◦Ecuador 1960-63 *
◦Congo 1960 *
◦Brazil 1962-64 *
◦Dominican Republic 1963 *
◦Cuba 1959 to present
◦Bolivia 1964 *
◦Indonesia 1965 *
◦Ghana 1966 *
◦Chile 1964-73 *
◦Greece 1967 *
◦Costa Rica 1970-71
◦Bolivia 1971 *
◦Australia 1973-75 *
◦Angola 1975, 1980s
◦Portugal 1974-76 *
◦Jamaica 1976-80 *
◦Chad 1981-82 *
◦Grenada 1983 *
◦South Yemen 1982-84
◦Fiji 1987 *
◦Nicaragua 1981-90 *
◦Panama 1989 *
◦Bulgaria 1990 *
◦Albania 1991 *
◦Afghanistan 1980s *
◦Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
◦Ecuador 2000 *
◦Afghanistan 2001 *
◦Venezuela 2002 *
◦Iraq 2003 *
◦Haiti 2004 *
◦Somalia 2007 to present
◦Libya 2011 *
◦Ukraine 2014 *
Perhaps the reasons behind the rushed, and frankly humiliating, report is that US intelligence was scrambling to respond to the first ever case of someone doing to it what the US had done to the rest of the world for decades without any fear of retaliation.
As for Galeotti, he said the United States intelligence report on Russian meddling in the November election had gone too far in projecting Cold War attitudes onto today’s reality. He said it was a mistake to suppose that Mr. Putin had from the start conducted “a Machiavellian conspiracy” aimed at bringing Mr. Trump to power.
More likely, he added, was that Mr. Putin was not involved or even informed about initial efforts to hack into the D.N.C. computer system but, informed after the fact about what had been done, “decided to act opportunistically” and make use of the hacker’s harvest of emails to try to tilt the election.
His conclusion: “I don’t think the Russians believed for a minute that Trump could really be elected,” Galeotti said. “They were convinced that U.S. elites would ensure that one of their own would win. They thought they had a chance to do a bit of mischief but I think they were amazed, even aghast, at what happened.”
Why? Here is perhaps the biggest reason, also known as the real fake news courtesy of Reuters...
"Clinton has 90 percent chance of winning"
by Tyler Durden
Jan 7, 2017 6:26 PM