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But for Hill, Clapper was a kindred soul: Just eight weeks after she joined the National Security Council staff, Clapper, during an NBC interview on May 28, 2017, recalled "the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." Later he added, "It's in their DNA." Clapper has claimed that "what the Russians did had a profound impact on the outcome of the election."
As for the "Intelligence Community Assessment," the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says." During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses. They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: "High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong."
Not a Problem
With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by "all 17 intelligence agencies" (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas "without objection)." Himes, too should do his homework. The bogus "all 17 intelligence agencies" claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naivete', Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were "handpicked analysts" from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions.
Maybe a Problem After All
"According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue," as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two "handpicked analysts." Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper. That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA.
If U.S. Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the "handpicked analysts" whether there were just two, or more Hill's faith in "our intelligence agencies," may well be dented if not altogether shattered.