Intelligence experts are responding to Wednesday night’s announcement by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe claiming that election interference emails that appear to from the U.S.-based hate group known as the Proud Boys are actually from Iran.
The emails threaten recipients to vote for President Donald Trump.
Shortly after Ratcliffe announced the emails were designed to harm President Trump, not influence Americans to vote for him, intelligence experts denounced his claims as “too convenient to be believable.”
U.S. Naval War College Professor of International Relations and National Security:
I find this Iran story too convenient to be believable wo more evidence from Ratcliffe, who has been quite willing to declassify raw intel after all https://t.co/Ka44obAts4
— David Burbach (@dburbach) October 22, 2020
CNN National Security and Legal Analyst, Former Intel Community attorney says “Ratcliffe isn’t a credible actor”:
"Proud Boys Send Emails Threatening People Who Don't Vote For Trump" is obviously a bad headline for Trump and the foreseeable outcome of sending those messages.
It's notable Wray didn't repeat assessment and Ratcliffe isn't a credible actor. But there is logic to the claim. https://t.co/2SXAFOmjt6
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 22, 2020
Former federal prosecutor, NBC News and MSNBC Legal Analyst:
The fake/foreign emails told people to vote for Trump (I’ve seen them). DNI Ratcliffe (the guy who lied about prosecuting terrorism cases) said the fake emails ARE TRYING TO HURT TRUMP! This is disinformation from Ratcliffe designed to energize Trump’s base!
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) October 22, 2020
U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves:
Dear @ODNIgov Ratcliffe: Actually, @DHSgov officials say that Iran sent spoofed emails to intimidate voters to vote FOR Donald Trump. Are you being fully honest with the American people? https://t.co/w1qvgWrPsR
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 21, 2020
Dear @DNI_Ratcliffe: Did you even review the emails that @DHSgov officials say Iran sent? Those emails intimidate DEMOCRATS and warn them to vote for Trump. That hurts @JoeBiden. So is there another email you are referring to, or are you misleading the American people? https://t.co/Z42at3xd7G
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 22, 2020
Head of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s digital security initiative questions Ratcliffe’s intentions:
Hate to say it … but that press conference about Iranian efforts to sow confusion …. is sowing quite a bit of confusion itself. I don’t think this was the intention of Demers, @CISAKrebs, or @FBI – but the DNI? We’ll see….
— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) October 22, 2020
Managing Director for National Security at the Center for American Progress. Formerly National Security Council, DOJ, ODNI, NCTC also questioning Ratcliffe’s motives:
I’m not rushing to think that press conference was politically motivated but I would feel better if Demers or Krebs had spoken. Why didn’t we hear from them? Why did Ratcliffe lead when domestic election infrastructure is DHS’s responsibility?
— katrina mulligan (@NatSecMulligan) October 22, 2020
On Tuesday The New York Times ran an opinion piece calling Ratcliffe “among the most destructive intelligence officials in U.S. history.” The title: “The Intelligence Director Who Is Undermining Trust and Truth.”
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‘Morally Weak Grifters’: John Kelly Shredded and Accused of ‘Reputation Laundering’ for Praising Trump WH Staffers
John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security, is being criticized today after praising the “vast majority” of Trump White House staffers – political appointees who chose to work for this president – as “decent people” who “kept the train from careening off the tracks.”
Kelly’s remarks are part of what is being called a “reputation laundering” article in The Atlantic for several ex-Trump officials.
Trump White House staffers, Kelly laments, “unfortunately paid quite a price … in reputation and future employment. They don’t deserve that. They deserve better than that, because they kept the train from careening off the tracks.”
Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, a “Never Trumper,” disagrees with Kelly.
No they were not. They worked for a liar and a racist. Many lied themselves. They flouted CDC guidelines and infected others. These are not good people.
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) December 18, 2020
“I see the reputation laundering has begun,” says Tom Nichols, a Project Lincoln senior advisor, international affairs specialist, and professor at the U.S. Naval War College.
Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, responded to the Kelly quote praising White House staffers even more succinctly:
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 18, 2020
Speaking of reputations, as some have noted, Kelly was instrumental in the Trump child separations policy, oversaw Trump’s Muslim ban, expanded Trump’s deportations, and called some DACA recipients “too lazy to get off their asses.” After exiting the White House he “joined the board of the conglomerate that operates the largest facility for migrant children in the country,” the AP reported. “Some members of Congress have described ‘prison-like’ conditions in the facility in Homestead, Florida.”
Kelly was also blasted after it was revealed he claimed immigrants don’t “assimilate” or “integrate well.”
James McGowan, whose bio says he is a Senior Advisor at the United Nations, offered this salient point:
When you take an appointment offered by an asset of a foreign power, you work for that foreign power, in fact. The rest is dissembling nonsense.
— James McGowan (@jamsmcgowan) December 18, 2020
Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama, weighed in:
The problem with this is that the enterprise was indecent and the train did careen off the tracks. https://t.co/fn2PTjyh7U
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) December 18, 2020
Journalist David Roberts:
Counterpoint: they are morally weak grifters who thought they could suck some personal gain out of a national crisis and they deserve our scorn & contempt. https://t.co/xQ4Zz3Aumz
— David Roberts (@drvolts) December 18, 2020
John Kelly was key in instituting and justifying the child-separation policy. After leaving the White House, he became financially invested in a company which benefits from the policy.
He implied the widow of a soldier killed in Niger is a liar.
He cannot judge decency. https://t.co/UTDeitMDLp
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) December 18, 2020
absolute bullshit and if you fall in line with this you’re very stupid. nobody had to work for trump. they all chose to, and they enabled him, and among those who lied and hurt thousands for him, john kelly was at the head of the parade. fuck all of them. https://t.co/7TocGAeBcc
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 18, 2020
The adults in the room were simultaneously a stabilizing force and, by definition, co-conspirators unfit for rehabilitation or polite society:
They participated in all manner of abuses, crimes, corruption, incompetence, and authoritarianism while counseling against even worse. https://t.co/yNFsN1Q9U0
— Individual-1 (@codename_karla) December 18, 2020
The train careened off the tracks with mass casualties on a daily basis for four focking years. They were indecent people. Let’s not normalize them, thanks. https://t.co/w3G0BNuOmG
— Lesley Abravanel🆘 (@lesleyabravanel) December 18, 2020
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