Scott Ritter was the head of the United Nations team of weapons inspectors in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, and, prior to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, he loudly and repeatedly asserted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. For his accurate and timely warning, he has been an unperson in polite discourse within the United States political community ever since.
He wrote this yesterday.
“A cursory comparison of the leaked NSA document [“Spear-Phishing Campaign TTPs Used Against U.S. And Foreign Government Political Entities”] and the indictment presented by Rosenstein suggests that the events described in Count 11 of the indictment pertaining to an effort to penetrate state and county election offices responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. presidential election are precisely the events captured in the NSA document. While the indictment links the identity of a named Russian intelligence officer, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, to specific actions detailed therein, the NSA document is much more circumspect. In a diagram supporting the text report, the NSA document specifically states that the organizational ties between the unnamed operators involved in the actions described and an organizational entity, Unit 74455, affiliated with Russian military intelligence is a product of the judgment of an analyst and not fact.
“If we take this piece of information to its logical conclusion, then the Mueller indictment has taken detailed data related to hacking operations directed against various American political entities and shoehorned it into what amounts to little more than the organizational chart of a military intelligence unit assessed —- but not known -— to have overseen the operations described. This is a far cry from the kind of incontrovertible proof that Mueller’s team suggests exists to support its indictment of the 12 named Russian intelligence officers.
A good aspect to keep in mind when evaluating any political agent’s activity is, to look for patterns. Hillary Clinton’s pattern, for example, was to parrot whatever boilerplate rhetoric she thought her audience would like. If her audience wanted, in her judgement to hear her condemn “superpredators”, then she was perfectly willing; if she felt they wanted to condemn “implicit racism”, she was quite ready to do that, too, even though the two are contradictory, and encompass completely opposing public policies.
Scott Ritter accurately and intelligently assessed the evidence for surreptitious activity by a foreign government, and was displaced from public discourse, in part because of his Internet sexual activity; here is the wikipedia account:
Ritter was arrested again in November 2009 over communications with a police decoy he met on an Internet chat site. Police said that he exposed himself via a web camera after the officer said she was a 15-year-old girl; Ritter said he was not made aware of the ostensible age of his correspondent until after the act. The next month, Ritter waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was released on a $25,000 unsecured bail. Charges included “unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communications facility, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, possessing instruments of crime, criminal attempt and criminal solicitation”. Ritter rejected a plea bargain, testified in his trial and was found guilty of all but the criminal attempt count in a Monroe County, Pennsylvania courtroom on April 14, 2011. In October 2011 he received a sentence of one and a half to five and a half years in prison.
No one comes out faultless — Ritter no more than I, who twice went to the Multnomah County Jail for periods of more than a month, on judge’s decisions regarding my behavior towards my neighbors. That experience has led me to refrain — who wants to listen to a twice-jailed neighborhood nuisance? — from posting for a long time. But this surge of accusations, based on our national conviction that Russia is evil and the United States a bastion of democracy and goodness, has led me to comment here.
Ritter was right about what was important when the United States invaded Iraq. He may well have a problem with his attraction to teenaged girls. He correctly assessed intelligence information, however. Robert Mueller, whose political timing, if not artful compilation, of charges of Russian spying has been used to discount Trump’s effort at détente, was one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq.
It seems to me we have very strong reasons to doubt the validity of the campaign to discredit Donald Trump’s efforts to reduce tension with the Russian republic.