On Friday 7 October 2016, the ODNI released a Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security.
Seemingly contradictory assertions are being made in this statement. For example, it states that the U.S. Intelligence Community is “confident” that these compromises were directed by the Russian government while admitting that “we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government”. Likewise, stating that the “alleged hacked” e-mails or thefts and “ disclosures” released through DCLeaks, WikiLeaks, and the Guccifer 2.0 persona, are “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts”, undermines the narrative of Russian interference. There is simply too much indirect language and too many degrees of separation.
The language and terminology of the statement make it very difficult to understand what is and isn’t being asserted, exactly. It’s almost as if the statement is intentionally indirect and non-commital.
On Wednesday 14 December 2016, the ODNI released a Statement on Requests for Additional Information of Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.
An important part of this statement is the acknowledgment of briefings on Capitol Hill and that the USIC will make its findings available to the public “consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods”.
The briefings are probably the source of media misinterpretation from various “officials”. In regard to the inability to produce full evidence of Russian interference, it’s both reasonable and unreasonable. For the safety of sources, potential operatives, and techniques, it makes sense not to reveal particular information and to keep it classified. However, for something of this extremity and for the sheer sake of dissolving the potentiality of any further propaganda on either side, it demands evidence. Without evidence, WikiLeaks is vindicated within the minds of Americans and belief in Russian involvement dissolves. In fact, 71% of Americans do NOT believe the Russian government was involved.
On Wednesday 16 December 2016, the ODNI released a statement in regard to their previous statements.
The strange part of this statement is that it reasserts the claims of the first statement and continues to utilize the terminology of disclosures of “alleged hacked” e-mails. However, it only refers to e-mail compromises in relation to the Guccifer 2.0 persona and claims that those disclosures were intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. This implies the “alleged hacked” emails were leaked through the directed efforts of the Russian government to interfere with the election process. What does this imply of the other leaks and their sources, though? Is the USIC only accusing the Guccifer 2.0 leaks of being a Russian-directed effort?
There’s an underlying impression that these statements and that the general narrative of Russian interference is to veil political corruption and mishap and perhaps even interagency dispute. It could also be that maintaining the narrative of Russian interference is a form of leverage against Russia.