On Thursday evening CNN’s Jim Sciutto tried to clear up the confusion of his colleague Jim Acosta about the number of intelligence agencies that collaborated on the assessment of Russian meddling in the election. The assessment derived from the report released on January 6 that is posted online here.
The report expressly states 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.” Clapper’s testified to the same effect before a Senate committee on May 8 (video here).
Yet Acosta charged President Trump with disseminating “fake news” at what he called Trump’s “fake news conference” last week in Warsaw. Acosta poignantly asked Fredo Cuomo (as Rush calls him) and Poppy Harlow on one of CNN’s morning shows: “Where does this three or four number come from?” They were all stumped.
Following up on Trump’s “fake news,” Sciutto queried Clapper. Sciutto asked Clapper about the total number of American intelligence agencies and how many of them contributed to the assessment. The answer to the question must have come as a shock to Acosta et al.
“On the number of components of the intelligence community, yes, there are 17. Sixteen components by law plus the Office of Director of National Intelligence,” Clapper said. But he added that not all 17 were involved in the Russia assessment. “When President-elect Trump was briefed on this on the 6th of January, there were four of us, meaning the directors of NSA, FBI, CIA, and myself. That’s all,” he said.
“How the narrative got out there about 17 components being involved, I don’t know,” he said.
That’s one question Acosta might be in a good position to answer.
I have a footnote for certain Power Line commenters who are subject to their own confusion. The merits of the January 6 report are not my subject here or in related posts. They raise a separate question. I cite the report only for its refutation of the “17 intelligence agencies” shtick.