Judge Andrew Napolitano, currently being considered by Trump for the Supreme Court, dropped a bombshell in an interview with Fox & Friends Thursday, saying sources within the U.S. intelligence community — not Russia — had provided documents from the DNC and John Podesta for publication by Wikileaks.
“I hope that Josh Earnest was as much in jest with what he just said, as Donald Trump was when he said during the campaign, ‘do all the hacking you want,’” Napolitano said of remarks the White House spokesman gave, suggesting Trump had been aware of Russia’s putative meddling throughout the election cycle. “No one could have taken that seriously.”
Breaking down the absurdly evidence-free claim by unnamed CIA officials that Russian hackers — official state actors — had penetrated Democratic Party systems to expose information damaging to Hillary Clinton, thereby throwing the election in favor of Donald Trump, Napolitano asked several pertinent questions:
“Look, who had an incentive to prevent Mrs. Clinton from becoming President of the United States? Whose agents had their real identities and locations exposed by the reckless manner? … Who had access to all of this material without having to steal any codes?
“The United States Intelligence agents,” the judge answered himself, “who did not want this woman in charge of the federal government and exposing more agents and resources and undercover assets in the Middle East to who they truly are and where they were.”
Napolitano told the Fox & Friends crew one’s feelings about Julian Assange and Wikileaks are irrelevant, given the publishing organization’s track record of authenticity — and that the content of the leaked documents and emails speaks for itself.
Assange “revealed truthful information,” he continued, “no one’s denying that the stuff that he revealed was real […]
“Look, there’s one spy agency, the NSA, it produces the raw data. The FBI looks at it and interprets it one way; the CIA looks at it and interprets it another way. The CIA may have a desire to make Mrs. Clinton look good or Donald Trump look bad …”
“Wait — politics?” one host interrupted.
“Right. Their boss is a Barack Obama appointee … There’s just not enough evidence to point a finger at Moscow.”
Further, on the subject of intelligence assessments, Judge Napolitano noted rivalries between and within agencies, proclivities toward certain political agendas, and competition can color findings and analyses:
“Look, there’s a whole world out there that is below the fold, below the radar scope, that we don’t know about, which is the intelligence community. They have rivalries between them; they have ideological predilections; they have the same shortcomings as the rest of us. And intelligence, raw data — if it were here, it would be difficult for the four of us to interpret it — but I can tell you this: Two groups or two people looking at the same data can read the same thing and interpret it in 180 degrees differently from each other. That’s what happened here.
“So, when Donald Trump says, ‘the Russians did not hack Mrs. Clinton,’ he’s right. Somebody leaked from Mrs. Clinton’s emails — but nobody went in there and altered her operational systems, which is what hacking does.”
Napolitano’s assessment the leaks weren’t hacks — and that someone inside the United States was responsible — is shared by a growing number of people, including former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray.
Murray, a personal friend of Assange, who called the claims of Russian hacking “bullshit” in the Guardian, told the Daily Mail, “Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians. The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”
On his personal blog, Murray elaborated further:
“I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.
“A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they ‘know the individuals’ involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of ‘We know who it was, it was the Russians’ are beneath contempt.”
He added, “The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of ‘Russia’, while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.”
But perhaps the strongest assenting voice to Judge Napolitano came from Julian Assange, himself, who emerged from a near blackout on public appearances in an audio interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday to confirm the documents published by Wikileaks did not come from Russia or any Russian State agent.
“Our source is not the Russian government,” Assange decisively told Hannity.
“In other words, let me be clear,” Hannity clarified, “Russia did not give you the Podesta documents, or anything from the DNC?”
“That’s correct,” the Wikileaks founder replied.
Assange also noted in the interview Murray is not authorized to speak on behalf of Wikileaks, but maintained the two are close, personal friends. Murray, like Napolitano, pointed to Wikileaks’ proven credibility in its leaked documents, and explained,
“Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.”
Assange even noted coming forward to denounce the Russian hacking allegations constituted an uncomfortable and unpleasant, but highly necessary, decision. Wikileaks, he explained, does not like to reveal any information about its sources unless the situation unequivocally demands it.
“Here, in order to prevent a distraction attack against our publications,” Assange asserted, “we’ve had to come out and say, ‘no, it’s not a State party, stop trying to distract in that way, and pay attention to the content of the publications.’”
Hannity probed, “So, in other words, when you say State party, it wasn’t another State — like Russia, or some other country?”
Indeed, the provocative accusations being hurled at Russia — and, now, even against Russian President Vladimir Putin — appear to be once again summoning the specter of military conflict with the West. Critical, reasoned assessments of the CIA’s claims of Russians hacking the U.S. elections — like those of Judge Napolitano, Craig Murray, and Julian Assange — are imperative, lest the country be overcome with evidence-devoid Red Scare paranoia similar to 1950s McCarthyism.
“The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia,” Murray pointedly wrote. “This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries — including of course bigger budgets for the CIA.”