Liberals Willfully Deluded Themselves on the Russia Collusion Hoax - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Liberals Willfully Deluded Themselves on the Russia Collusion Hoax

A self-referential quality envelops the coverage of the Russia Collusion Hoax’s further unraveling.

Just as partisans concocted the Russia Collusion Hoax by pointing journalists and the FBI to the “evidence” advanced (and paid for) by other partisans, partisans in the press deny evidence of farce rather than facts pushing that story by citing the nothing-to-see-here-move-along “expert” opinion of other partisans.

The most preposterous example of this self-referential phenomenon in this recent wave of coverage came from Dylan Stableford, who reports for Yahoo News, which (more on this later), played a central role in acting as an initial booster of the hoax.

“Former President Donald Trump and his allies are saying that a recent court filing by Justice Department special counsel John Durham is proof that he was being spied on as a candidate in 2016 and later as president by people involved with Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” begins Stableford’s article at Yahoo News. He writes in paragraph three, “But according to a leading cybersecurity expert, the highly technical filing — while raising some potentially troubling questions about the use of nonpublic government data for political purposes — does little to support Trump’s claim that his allegations of spying have been vindicated.”

That expert assures in the piece that “DNS traffic” — the addresses of the sites one visits — “is not content.” While he concedes Durham’s findings raise concerns, the “expert,” according to the piece’s paraphrase, calls the material “not the kind of content you would normally associate with spying.”

Who is the “leading cybersecurity expert” validating the reporter’s propagandistic narrative? Why, it’s Russian-born Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of CrowdStrike.

Memba dem?

The Democratic National Committee employed CrowdStrike quite controversially in the midst of the Russia Collusion Hoax. Stableford somehow forgot to mention the group’s involvement, albeit in a peripheral role, in the debunked narrative he seeks to resuscitate in his article, or the connection of the subject of the article, the indicted Michael Sussmann, to CrowdStrike. This is a bit like if journalists had asked G. Gordon Liddy, “leading expert on law enforcement,” whether or not the Watergate break-in was on the level. Though the Justice Department does not accuse Alperovitch of criminal involvement in the scandal (as Liddy was criminally involved in Watergate), CrowdStrike stood in the middle of the story.

The DNC strangely avoided appealing to federal law enforcement to directly investigate the data breach. James Comey admitted under oath, saying the FBI took the word of “a high-class entity” investigating the claims at face value, that the bureau did not bother to investigate the computer forensics involved in the allegations of a foreign enemy power hacking data from an American political party. That “high-class entity”? CrowdStrike.

George Parry wrote at The American Spectator in October 2019, “CrowdStrike, which was working for the DNC, announced that it had detected Russian malware on the DNC’s computer server. The next day, a self-described Romanian hacker, Guccifer 2.0, claimed he was a WikiLeaks source and had hacked the DNC’s server. He then posted online DNC computer files that contained metadata that indicated Russian involvement in the hack.”

While so much of the Russiagate endeavor involved willful deception, it also included subconscious self-deception.

“The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers — an omission that is beyond preposterous,” Patrick Lawrence pointed out in an exhaustive 2017 article at the Nation. “It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice.”

The bipartisan skepticism of the official story stems from the DNC material downloaded from the Eastern Time Zone and not the Eastern European Time Zone, the quickness of the download allegedly inconsistent with a hack from across the ocean, Russian metadata imposed on the material after the fact as though the person putting it there wished to plant evidence, and its content exposing the DNC’s choosing of sides in the Clinton–Bernie Sanders primary fight. Whether one doubts CrowdStrike’s findings, regards them as compelling, or judges their findings of Russian malware on DNC computers accurate but not inconsistent with the data breach stemming from a leak coming from within the building seems irrelevant to the journalistic ethics involved in citing the company’s then-chief technology officer as an impartial expert — without even bothering to disclose CrowdStrike’s involvement — pertaining to controversial matters involving his for-profit entity.

The genesis of the hoax — the DNC and Hillary Clinton funneling millions through the law firm Perkins Coie to the placers of political kick-me signs, Fusion GPS (a laundering presumably to avoid the transparency of campaign finance disclosure laws), which then paid Christopher Steele to issue a smear campaign dressed up as an “intelligence dossier” — shows this.

Not only did the closed loop of source material for the Clinton-paid “dossier” rely heavily on Igor Danchenko, a Beltway-based employee of the Brookings Institution then run by Strobe Talbott, a Friend of Bill dating back more than five decades, but in keeping its funding secret the Democrats pushing the hoax effectively passed it off as a sober analysis from detached foreign intelligence hands. It wasn’t that. It was phony information provided to a campaign that paid for it by U.S.-based sympathizers of that campaign.

The bureau neglected to tell the court issuing the warrant to spy on Carter Page that the information upon which the probable cause rested came from a dirt dealer paid by Donald Trump’s political opponent. The warrant refers to “research” rather than “opposition research,” and mentions a “law firm” and not Clinton’s campaign hiring the investigator, whom it strangely seems to dub a “U.S. person.” It withholds crucial information that, if included, would be liable to result in a denial of the warrant. And, of course, a Justice Department official has already pleaded guilty to altering an email pertaining to Carter Page by saying he was “not a source” for the CIA when Page was.

The FBI actually used an article from the Stableford’s employer, Yahoo News, that relied on the Steele opposition research for its claims, to corroborate the “intelligence dossier.” By such means, one could prove anything.

Along these same dishonest lines, Michael Sussmann, the Clinton campaign lawyer, claimed, according to his federal indictment, that he came to them “not doing this for any client” when he pushed for the FBI to investigate Trump’s ties to a Russian bank even though Sussmann allegedly billed the Clinton campaign for work pertaining to those supposed ties. Again, the Clinton campaign manufactured evidence (through an elaborate computer spying operation) and then a representative of it, allegedly representing himself as representing himself and not the campaign, cited that manufactured evidence in pushing the FBI for an investigation.

Making the Stableford Yahoo article even more brazen in its violation of journalistic norms, Sussmann, the roundabout subject of his story, hired CrowdStrike, the company co-founded by Alperovitch, to investigate the DNC leak.

Why didn’t Yahoo just cite Hillary Clinton as its expert to explain to readers why her campaign’s activities were on the level?

The Russia Collusion Hoax in microcosm represents modern liberals, a genus that primarily inhabits cities composed of people who vote like them, watch cable networks that shield them from information that challenges their assumptions, exclusively read publications similarly affirming, increasingly date only within their party, and even refuse commerce with businesses identified as associating with an unfashionable cause or party. They encounter conservatives often through caricature but rarely, at least in any substantive way, in real life. These parochial cosmopolitans living in a closed loop unsurprisingly approach ideas in a begging-the-question, circular-reasoning closed loop. (READ MORE: Spying Isn’t Spying If Democrats Do It)

One cannot compete in the game and referee it at once. Total-politics fanatics think that they can. That arrogance leads to profound ethical lapses and confusion of wish for reality.

While so much of the Russiagate endeavor involved willful deception, it also included subconscious self-deception. They wanted to believe the worst in their political enemies just as they now want to believe the best in their political friends. How could good people with good ideas like mine possibly invade privacy, smear innocents, use the intelligence apparatus for partisan purposes, employ foreign nationals to spy on a candidate for the presidency, and drag the country through such an at-each-other’s-throats period by peddling utter junk?

The outcome of all this primarily does not involve the fates, reputational or otherwise, of John Brennan, Andrew McCabe, Hillary Clinton, or Marc Elias. It instead separates liberals into two camps: the ones who so little minded other liberals lying to them for years that they welcome further propaganda campaigns after rationalizing this one and the ones whose epiphanies so scandalized them that they never again reflexively trust who share the same general political outlook.

Want to bet on the more populous of the two camps?

Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website,   
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