Being a student of faked political documents, I was fascinated by the Rachel Maddow segment embedded above. Her team received an alleged highly-classified NSA document which supposedly contained evidence that a member of Team Trump colluded with the Russians.
Although the Maddow crew had no easy time of it, they eventually managed to determine that this document was a fake. The biggest tell: The document names an American citizen, even though (according to intelligence community veterans) such a name would not appear in a document of this sort.
Maddow's people also discovered subtle forensic evidence indicating that the forgers used as a model the real NSA documents which Reality Leigh Winner leaked to the Intercept. The timing is of particular interest. Apparently, the Rachel Maddow Show received this document after Winner was arrested but before the document was published.
The timing suggests that the forger must have obtained a copy of the Winner document from someone at the Intercept. Maddow does not come right and make that should-be-obvious point. However, her report does note that the Intercept's publication of the document conflicted with that publication usual attitude toward the theory of Trump/Putin collusion. (In general, the Intercept has gone to great lengths to pooh-pooh that theory.)
If Maddow won't ask the question, I will. Just who at the Intercept gave the Winner document to a pro-Trump forger?
The obvious suspect. In the past, I was a fan of Glenn Greenwald, co-editor of the Intercept. I changed my stance when the man's anti-Clinton bias became obnoxous and unforgivable.
Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and now Laura Fucking Ingraham for his "Kremlingate is just sore loser warmongering Dems making shit up" World Tour:
I was going to post one of the millions of times Glenn has bashed the #Resist crowd for teaming up with unusual bedfellows, but the coward blocked me so you all can easily find an example yourselves...
Greenwald's strangest bedfellow is an out-and-out fascist. He counts among his friends the notorious neo-Nazi hacker Andrew Auernheimer, a.k.a. Weev, a man who literally has a swastika tattooed on his chest.
iPad Hacker Released From Jail, Parties with Glenn Greenwald, Publishes Neo-Nazi Screeds
Oh, and in addition to his conversion to the neo-Nazi cause as well as his seemingly prolific online hate speech, Weev attended a party in New York soon after getting out of jail. The party was held by none other than Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras to coincide with the ceremony in which the duo received the Polk Award for their reporting on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.
Further baffling is the idea that hackers like Weev are somehow treated like free speech martyrs, yet television hosts like Bill Maher and author Sam Harris are excoriated by Greenwald and his publication, The Intercept, as racists and bigots merely because they cited empirical evidence critical of Islam -- a far, far cry from Weev's unapologetic Nazism.
Why is the swastika-adorned Weev, who Greenwald hailed as a persecuted "hacktivist," not similarly ripped to shreds for literally being a Nazi who said Jews "made themselves a problem in every nation they occupy, including ours"?
If you are trying to figure out who at the Intercept might have leaked the Reality Winner document to pro-Trump smear artists...
...well, do I really need to name the most obvious suspect?
At this point, I would not rule out the possibility that Weev himself created the document sent to Rachel Maddow, using as a template an actual NSA document sent by someone with alliterative initials. Obviously, I can't prove that theory; it's just a gut reaction, and my gut has been wrong in the past.
Are there more hoaxes out there? In the segment embedded above, Maddow notes a disturbing pattern which may indicate that her fake isn't the only one floating around out there.
CNN recently had to retract a story based on iffy sourcing -- a still-mysterious affair in which the never-welcome name of James O'Keefe cropped up. One need not be Aquaman to detect the smell of fish.
We should also note that Claude Taylor (and others) have spread stories that CNN and other major news organizations have acquired transcripts of incriminating phone conversations involving Trump campaign officials. By this point, most liberals have learned to be skeptical of too-good-to-be-true claims. I'm now wondering: What if such transcripts really are being circulated -- and what if they are fake? Perhaps the role played by Mensch, Taylor and company is to "backstop" these fakes.
Of course, these fakes exist to be exposed as such. Exposure will prove enormously rewarding for Trump's "hate the media" propaganda campaign -- and will cause the public to mistrust real information involving Trump and Russia.
Precedent. In the segment embedded above, Maddow compares the fake document she received to the fake document that undid Dan Rather's career. There are excellent reasons to believe that Rather was targeted by a sting operation.
My own thoughts flashed back to Watergate -- specifically, to an old Jack Anderson story which I discussed in a recent post. Those who recall that column (see here) usually talk about only the first part. The under-appreciated second part of Anderson's scoop involved a plot to discredit the Washington Post's Watergate investigation. The following may seem familiar to you:
Footnote: Colson and Novel also discussed a caper to patch H.R. Haldeman's voice onto a tape along with an actor who would imitate President Nixon and make false confessions. The fake tape would he sent with 'a phony authenticating note from an allegedly disgruntled Secret Service man to the Senate Watergate Committee which, Colson surmised, would leak it. Then he and Novel would' reveal the tape was fraudulent and the hoax would tend to discredit the whole case against Nixon. Colson said it was "true" he discussed this idea. "Wouldn't that be a great gag?"
Rachel Maddow was the intended victim of a similar "gag."
Another chess dimension in this sort of conniving was the document that was used to discredit Dan Rather. By copying the contents of an authentic document the truth of the contents became tainted by the forgery of the vessel. I have little doubt that the Rather forgery related the truth about Dubya's Air National Guard service, but a convenient superscript on the date was used to claim forgery.
As an interesting side note: at the time, I was employed by the IBM Office Products division, and a coworker was deposed regarding Selectric type font elements in use at the time the documents were said to be produced. I was also manufacturing engineer with responsibility for producing ribbons for some models. Dear dead days!
The Intercept has posted their response to the broadcast -- including comments from Maddow claiming her team never meant to suggest the document was based upon an as-yet-unreleased copy of the one sent to the Intercept.
Add to this that others have noted The Intercept seems to be shifting its editorial direction. Examples include David Dayen writing an article about how the California single payer plan is based on a lie (out of character for the site to attack the Bernie-left), Greenwald's reduced column output and placement, the diminishment of Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani and elevation of their more sensible columnists, plus the NSA leak itself. Seems like here are some behind the scenes changes, and Greenwald is being squeezed. Given that the fact that he perfect fits the stereotype of a disgruntled ex-employee, Greenwald at a minimum has to be a suspect in the leak.
And goddamn is Maddow on fire. Not only having the restraint to conduct proper due diligence on a smoking gun, but to then warn the rest of the media and public about Trump's next disinformation strategy is incredible.
posted by nemdam : 5:00 PM
Glenn Greenwald is a rightwing shill and ratfvcker.
I finally fixed my broken Youtube by dumping Firefox and installing Chrome. So proud. Good riddance to Firefox! Finally was able to watch this piece. Mercifully, Maddow was a little less smarmy and over the top, so it was not too painful to follow her overweening fashion of delivering a piece of news. I'm glad she included the Dan Rather analogy...and I do hope she makes good on her threat that they are working on uncovering who sent the forged document.
posted by prowlerzee : 8:46 AM
Hmm. Not so sure. First the Maddow/Trump tax debacle, now this:
Rachel Maddow Caught In Latest Fake News Scandal; Proof Her "Forged NSA Document" Segment Was A Hoax
Zero Hedge? THAT's your source? It's simply a smarmy rewrite of what the Intercept had to say, but the Intercept had the decency to give Maddow's side.
John, I really must thank you. I used to get right-wing trolls here on a fairly frequent basis. Their absence of late hammered home the realization that this blog is not as popular as it once was. I'm simply no longer worth the effort, it seems.