The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence convened today, hearing testimony from three “star witnesses”. If you have a spare three hours, and a strong stomach, feel free to watch the whole sordid ordeal here. Not surprisingly there was no mention of that fact the that the FBI didn’t analyse the DNC servers – they were not allowed to. Likewise, there was no talk of CrowdStrike, the private firm that did get to do analysis, and then had to backtrack on their own findings.
None of that was deemed important. Instead we got three hours of speeches from people who had nothing to say. The three expert witnesses have startlingly similar backgrounds, all hailing from the intelligence community in some way or other. They are all very long on exposition…and very short on actual evidence. Rather than citing statistics, or bringing up evidence of any kind, the Senators are more than happy to just let the three men ramble along twisting narrative pathways.
Two of them had the good-grace to be non-committal, or at least vague, in their answers. Preferring to rely on out-dated historical references and unspoken “modern parallels”. The third man, Clint Watts, a bounty of unsubstantiated Russophobic gossip, and all out paranoia…his testimony was a goldmine for headline writers and scaremongerers the world over. Asserting there needs to be a complete “media black-out” of wikileaks, and declaring:
We are weak. We do not respond, we have no organized response as a country or even a policy towards Russia right now,”
I’m not sure what, if any, experience of Russia Mr Watts has, there’s certainly none listed on his brief biography, supplied by the Senate website. But putting together his seeming lack of serious credentials, his penchant for over-stating wild speculations as if they were established facts, and his statement that all his work is done with “three laptops, from my house”…one begins to get the impression he’s a kind of American Elliot Higgins. Self-important enough to believe his own BS, and crazy enough to say it out-loud, without realising he’s being used to voice a position with which more important people refuse to tarnish their “credibility”.
For example, this line from his bio:
Clint used modeling to outline Russian influence operations via social media and the Kremlin’s return to Active Measures.
Is classic Bellingcat. What “modelling” likely means is looking at Facebook and deciding everyone saying pro-Russian stuff is a “troll”, and then making a bad diagram about it in MS Paint. A visit to his twitter did not disappoint:
3- shout out to the @bellingcat team, keep up the fight and bring the pain on Russia’s Active Measures
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) 30 March 2017
And then right on cue…in with the diagrams:
This is truly startling evidence of Russian hacking, I mean….there’s writing EVERYWHERE, lots of pictures of people…and look at all the arrows!
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sold.