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- A former intelligence official who claims that Russia did not hack the Democratic National Committee in 2016 reportedly met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in late October at the request of President Donald Trump. The official was part of a group of intelligence veterans whose report contradicts the findings of the intelligence agencies that investigated the 2016 election hacking. They say DNC emails were leaked by someone on the inside. Pompeo has a history of siding with Trump on intelligence matters relating to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump reportedly told CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a former intelligence official who argued in a memo that Russia never hacked the Democratic National Committee in July of 2016, and that instead its emails were released due to an internal leak, according to the Intercept.
Pompeo met with William Binney, the former National Security Agency official who co-wrote the memo with several other alleged intelligence veterans, on October 24 at the president’s urging. According to Binney, Pompeo said Trump told him that if he “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” referring to Binney.
Binney claimed the DNC emails were leaked by someone on the inside, contradicting the findings of intelligence agencies
A high-ranking intelligence source confirmed for the Intercept that the meeting between Binney and Pompeo had taken place at Trump’s request. Binney himself acknowledged that he had brought up the case of deceased DNC staffer Seth Rich to Pompeo, referencing a right-wing conspiracy theory that claims that Rich was murdered on the orders of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Donald Trump Jr. also referenced the conspiracy theory in a tweet on Sunday.
Binney was one of several senior intelligence officials who authored a reanalysis of the 2016 DNC hack under the name Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), claiming that the DNC emails released by WikiLeaks in July of 2016 were in fact leaked “by a person with physical access to DNC computer,” and not by hackers working for the Russian government, according to Consortium News.
Binney and his colleagues wrote that the DNC data was copied at much higher speeds than would be possible through a remote internet hack, and that they were extracted by someone on the east coast of the US.
These findings contradict the official findings of the four intelligence agencies that investigated the incident, which all concluded that Russia was behind a remote breach of the DNC’s servers conducted by a hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 who reportedly claimed responsibility for the hack last year. In addition, several members of the VIPS group signed an opposing memo that challenged its assertions.
“A number of VIPS members did not sign this problematic memo because of troubling questions about its conclusions, and others who did sign it have raised key concerns since its publication,” the memo read.
Pompeo’s meeting with Binney fits into a pattern of allegiance to Trump
A former CIA officer said that Trump’s insistence that Pompeo, who heads one of the agencies that presented the Russia findings, meet with Binney was highly unusual.
“This is crazy. You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor,” the officer told the Intercept.
Dean Boyd, the director of the CIA Office of Public Affairs, said Pompeo “stands by, and has always stood by, the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment.”
“The Director has been adamant that CIA officers have the time, space and resources to make sound and unbiased assessments that are delivered to policy makers without fear or favor,” he said.
But Pompeo has emerged as a Trump ally in the intelligence community, and he recently made the Counterintelligence Mission Center report directly to him. The center will likely play a large role in future CIA inquiries into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election. He has also stated that Russian meddling likely had no impact on the outcome of the election.