CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with NSA whistleblower William Binney for an hour at CIA headquarters on October 24 at the request of US President Donald Trump. Binney disputes US intelligence claims over Russian hacking of DNC emails in 2016.
Binney is of the belief that someone “with physical access”inside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leaked sensitive information during the 2016 presidential campaign, as opposed to a sophisticated hack perpetrated by Russian Intelligence.
Trump allegedly told Pompeo that if he “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said, as cited by The Intercept. The Intercept interviewed Binney and at least two additional intelligence sources close to the matter for its report.
“I was willing to meet Pompeo simply because it was clear to me the intelligence community wasn’t being honest here,”Binney said. “I am quite willing to help people who need the truth to find the truth and not simply have deceptive statements from the intelligence community.”
The meeting to discuss the narrative that directly contravenes the findings of the US intelligence community was so productive that Pompeo is already arranging further meetings between NSA and FBI officials and Binney to discuss his analysis of the alleged DNC ‘inside job.’ Binney also raised the death of former DNC staffer Seth Rich to Pompeo during their meeting.
The CIA has declined to comment on such reports, however. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, as cited by The Intercept.
“I think he probably saw me on those programs,” Binney told NBC News of his multiple appearances on Fox News and how he might have appeared on Trump’s radar. Binney has put his reputation on the line to challenge the prevailing consensus among the US intelligence community and mainstream media as to how Donald Trump won the US presidency, namely through alleged Russian interference, despite a dearth of evidence to support such claims.
The meeting indicates that the already-strained relationship between the US commander-in-chief and his intelligence apparatus may be taking an even more bizarre twist. For example, the CIA’s Counterintelligence Mission Center, which would be directly tasked with any investigation into alleged Russian meddling, reports directly to President Trump in a somewhat unorthodox move.
Binney is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of former intelligence officials who are skeptical of the intelligence community’s conclusions. “[T]he entire intelligence community needs to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the American public,” Binney reportedly told Pompeo as cited by CNN.
The VIPS analysis has been disputed among the intelligence community, most notably by one of its co-authors, Thomas Drake, himself a former NSA official charged under the Espionage Act.
“A number of VIPS members did not sign this problematic memo because of troubling questions about its conclusions, and others who did sign it have raised key concerns since its publication,” the counter memo published online reads.
The majority of the fourth estate in the US has bought into the narrative of alleged Russian hacking wholeheartedly.
Several outlets have described Binney’s analysis as a “disputed,” “fringe,” or “conspiracy,” theory (Washington Post, NBC, and CNN respectively) while failing to apply the same level of skepticism to the US intelligence community narrative, which has time and again been undermined, including in testimony by social media giants before Congress.
Pompeo has come under fire for cozying up to Trump in the past. In October, he said that “the intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.”
The CIA quickly engaged in damage-control operations, however. “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed, and the director did not intend to suggest that it had,” CIA spokesperson Dean Boyd said clarifying the official stance.
“[M]any people are emotionally tied to this agenda, to tie the Russians to President Trump,” Binney told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in August.