One of the members of the Star Wars cantina called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee was a former FBI agent named Clint Watts. He accused the Trump campaign of working with the Russians based on two things. First on two occasions the campaign cited news stories from Russian sources that proved to be false and secondly because some of the things the campaign was in favor of dovetailed with Russian interests. Naturally, this was considered killer testimony by the left and by the alleged conservatives who seem to think that bringing down Trump is their Great White Whale.
Watts was on Meet the Press with Chuck “Sleepy Eyes” Todd and demonstrated why it is people like him and not the Russians who are a danger to our democracy:
CLINT WATTS: What they want to do is use information as a weapon of warfare to undermine U.S. democracy, such that when we crumble from the inside out, we can’t take aggressive foreign policy or stop their foreign policy around the world. So the way they do that is by using what’s called a state-to-people and a people-to-people strategy. They’re going to bypass the U.S. government, go straight to our Democratic electorate, and try and undermine trust, create divisions, and foment chaos
It seems strange to be saying this to an adult who has been allowed to handle firearms and apparently has gone to college, but in the United States the government has zero role in dispersing information. There is even a federal law against propagandizing Americans. The Russians talking directly to the US electorate is not information warfare. For decades we did the same thing via Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.
CLINT WATTS: Well, I noted in my testimony the two times where there was obvious use of Russian propaganda. One was, Paul Manafort cited it in ’14 August, the fake ancillary campaign we talked about, and then President Trump mistakenly cited what everyone thinks is a Sputnik news story. But beyond that, the synchronization at times, how many times the campaign picked up on lines that were promoted by the Kremlin, or vice versa, created lines that were then the Kremlin promoted back into the U.S. base was ironic. It was hard to see that with any other campaign.
Let’s take a moment and look at the stories Watts is referring to. Manafort referred to an attack on the NATO airbase at Incirlik, Turkey, that didn’t happen. What did happen there were large scale demonstrations and Turkey was reeling in the aftermath of a coup attempt. What was the significance of Manafort citing this? What Russian propaganda objective was he pushing? That Erdogan’s Turkey was not a reliable NATO partner? That isn’t Russian propaganda, that is a fact.
What was Trump’s offense? A mangled quote. An article forwarded by Hillary Clinton’s personal intelligence chief, Sid Blumenthal, was attributed to him. The actual writer was Newsweek editor Kurt Eichenwald:
Either way, what is not in doubt is the inaccuracy of Trump’s comment. At most, one could say that Blumenthal had forwarded an article, without added commentary, to Podesta. But that doesn’t make those words Blumenthal’s, and it does not mean that this is a case of Blumenthal “admitting that they could have done something about Benghazi,” as Trump said. It’s much more plausible that Blumenthal, a Clinton loyalist, was forwarding the article to Podesta because of its overall, forcefully worded argument that the Republicans had turned Benghazi into a political football, not because of a couple cautionary sentences out of a 10,000-word article.
In Watts’s twisted mind, Kurt Eichenwald, who had to be surgically removed from Hillary’s ass after his last seizure, is a Russian tool.
CLINT WATTS: There’s two things we have to do above everything else. We can do the whole government approach, but we have to get one, a baseline for fact and fiction. Right now we have arguments over that amongst our executive branch. The other thing is we cannot counteract measures if we are anti-NATO and anti-E.U. That is Russia’s propaganda as well. They’re anti-NATO and anti-E.U. And that’s what it seems like our administration’s pushing right now.
CHUCK TODD: Well, all right. If you have a distrust though, if a majority of the country distrusts what they see anyway in media, is this nearly impossible to stop in this political climate?
CLINT WATTS: It’s exactly what the Russians want. They’re still winning today, and they were winning before the election. Just us talking about it here today is a victory for them. People are going to argue when I leave this table and you leave today what’s fake news and what’s true and false. And until we can put that debate aside and come together as Americans, we’re going to continue to lose to other adversaries.
The implications of this mess are horrific. A baseline for fact and fiction? Who is going to do that? Watts? Being against the EU and NATO-skeptical makes you a Russian stooge? Bill Clinton was a major NATO skeptic in 1992.
Watts is a total f***wit who is operating way outside his lane. His real objection is to democracy and to debate. And, amazingly, that puts him firmly on the side of the Obama administration and the media. That isn’t the way our society works. The idea Watts is flogging of some absolute standard of truth and fiction, besides being utter offensive to trannies and gay marriage proponents, is nonsense in terms of public policy. I think the EU is a horrible idea. I happen to think Trump is right about major NATO players, like Germany, stepping up their game rather than lazing about under American protection. You can disagree but that doesn’t make either of us wrong or misguided. We simply are weighing the pluses and minuses in a different way. It certainly doesn’t mean either of us is an unwitting agent of a foreign power.