Earlier this week the New York Times corrected the frequently repeated assertion that 17 intelligence agencies collaborated on the assessment of Russian meddling in the election. I noted the correction here. Now the AP has separately disseminated a “clarification” of four Trump/Russia stories. Here is the text:
In stories published April 6, June 2, June 26 and June 29, The Associated Press reported that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump. That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies – the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency – and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment.
As I noted yesterday, the reference seems to be to the post-election report whose declassified version is posted online here. Dated, January 6, 2017, the report is stamped with the logo of the ODNI. It states expressly that the analytic assessment was “drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.” The report was the parting lump of coal given by the Obama administration to President-elect Trump.
As the Daily Caller’s Rachel Stoltzfoos suggests, the AP “clarification” is unclear in at least a couple of respects. Why a “clarification” and why now?