Last week the New York Times corrected the frequently repeated assertion that 17 intelligence agencies collaborated on the assessment of Russian meddling in the election. We noted the correction in “17 intelligence agencies–not.” The AP separately disseminated a “clarification” of four Trump/Russia stories. We noted the AP’s “clarification” in “17 intelligence agencies–not, AP edition.” 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.
The reference must have been 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 then President-elect Trump. If you read the report at the time, you knew the “!7 intelligence agencies” shtick was a crock.
Jim Acosta is of course the occasionally accosted clown who works the White House for CNN. One of his problems is that he gets his news from CNN. He thus castigated President Trump’s Warsaw press conference as a “fake news conference” and added this illuminating howler for the most trusted name in fake news:
The other thing that was fake news coming from President Trump is he said, “Well, I keep hearing it is 17 intelligence agencies who said Russia meddled in the election. I think it is only three or four.” Where does that number come from? Where does this three or four number come from? My suspicion, Chris and Poppy, is that if we go to the administration, and ask them for this question, I’m not sure we’re going to get an answer, and if we do, it will probably be off-camera.
Jim Acosta and his CNN colleagues badly need an intervention.
UPDATE: Slow learners may appreciate Fred Fleitz’s discussion below.