The Director of National Intelligence, pro-Trump former MAGA congressman John Ratcliffe, has just declassified and released what is being described as "unverified" Russian chatter and "disinformation" that suggests Hillary Clinton may have been in touch with the Russians in an attempt to help her 2016 presidential campaign.
Ratcliffe, just hours before Tuesday night's presidential debate, sent a letter to Republican Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, who is facing his own major re-election challenge.
The letter claims in 2016 "U.S. intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians; hacking of the Democratic National Committee."
The DNI's letter then clearly says the intelligence community "does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect fabrication."
The Director of National Intelligence heads all 17 U.S. intel agencies and offices.
(Ratcliffe's installation as Director of National Intelligence was, according to some, illegal. Congress passed a law requiring the DNI to have prior “extensive national security expertise,” which Ratcliffe, like his two predecessors, lacks.)
It took the President's son, Donald Trump Jr., no time to try to weaponize it:
OMG🚨🚨🚨JUST DECLASSIFIED: The Russia hoax was Hillary’s plan, and the Obama-Biden White House was briefed on it. https://t.co/ytquclKKg1— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1601407501.0
Intelligence experts and reporters are furious that Ratcliffe would declassify and release what they see as unverified Russian propaganda.
Intelligence analyst Eric Garland:
THE RATCLIFFE DOSSIER: Unverified, except obvious propaganda, no tradecraft, and less pee-pee. https://t.co/qLI2fk2lhA— Eric Garland (@Eric Garland) 1601407092.0
FAUX/DNI Ratcliffe to Lindsey Graham: YES SIR WE HAVE DECLASSIFIED THAT HILLARY INVENTED THE RUSSIA TO SMEAR AND TA… https://t.co/Bmxq9nGWHJ— Eric Garland (@Eric Garland) 1601406732.0
CNN national security reporter Jeremy Herb:
The latest declassification from Ratcliffe to Senate GOP: Russian intelligence that the Clinton campaign planned to… https://t.co/Vm55rnROmJ— Jeremy Herb (@Jeremy Herb) 1601406864.0
U.S. intel and terrorism expert Malcolm Nance:
Trump crony Ratcliffe sends a letter declassifying Russian intel report. It’s full of statements intended to look l… https://t.co/QRJRV9YWFq— Malcolm Nance (@Malcolm Nance) 1601407085.0
Politico Congressional reporter Andrew Desiderio:
Spokeswoman for Senate Intel Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) calls this “Russian disinformation.” https://t.co/p825kxz3Lv— Andrew Desiderio (@Andrew Desiderio) 1601406999.0
To recap: The country’s top intelligence official just declassified a Russian intel assessment that he acknowledges… https://t.co/wpdJHhcEQF— Andrew Desiderio (@Andrew Desiderio) 1601405922.0
Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko:
Even for Ratcliffe, this is shocking. https://t.co/DDlGSg3sTy— Adam Parkhomenko (@Adam Parkhomenko) 1601406638.0
Former U.S. intelligence officer, current NBC News national security and intelligence analyst Ned Price:
This is less about tonight and more about tomorrow, when Comey will appear before Graham's Committee. Ratcliffe is… https://t.co/NmewLaUnPh— Ned Price (@Ned Price) 1601407273.0