FACT CHECK: Did 17 intelligence agencies REALLY say Russia hacked the election?

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Did Russia interfere with our election?

It’s not conspiratorial to say so, Hillary Clinton claimed during one of her debates during the presidential campaign, because it wasn’t just her saying so, it was SEVENTEEN independent federal agencies. “This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, including Putin himself, in an effort [to influence the election in favor of Trump], as 17 of our agencies have confirmed” she stated during the October 19th debate.

The “all 17 intel agencies say so!” became a popular talking point from liberals, but we now know it’s BOGUS.

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As the Daily Caller is reporting, the intelligence community is comprised of 17 agencies including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Another of these agencies – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) – speaks on behalf of the intelligence community and orchestrated the January report.

“The [intelligence community assessment] was a coordinated product from three agencies: CIA, NSA and the FBI, not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during a congressional hearing in May. “Those three under the aegis of my former office.”

A handful of experienced analysts were chosen from the three agencies to investigate and draw independent conclusions. Each agency reached the same verdict about Russian interference.

So while the DNI published the report as an intelligence community assessment, Clapper clarified at the hearing that the report reflects the views of those three agencies alone. In fact, when questioned by Democratic Senator Al Franken, Clapper resisted the notion that all 17 agencies had reached a consensus.

Franken: The intelligence communities have concluded, all 17 of them, that Russia interfered with this election. And we all know how that’s right.

Clapper: Senator, as I pointed out in my statement, Senator Franken, it was- there were only three agencies that directly involved in this assessment plus my office.

Franken: But all 17 signed on to that?

Clapper: Well, we didn’t go through that process. This was a special situation because of the time limits and […] the sensitivity of the information, we decided – it was a conscious judgment – to restrict it to those three. I’m not aware of anyone who dissented, or disagreed when it came out.

DHS published a joint statement with the DNI back in October expressing the same verdict about Russian interference, so it’s fair to say a handful of agencies have publicly drawn conclusions. But simply because the DNI speaks for the intelligence community as a whole doesn’t mean all 17 agencies reached independent conclusions, let alone conducted independent investigations. Clinton overstates her case.

So there goes that talking point – which is irrelevant anyway. No matter how powerful you think the Russian government is, it wasn’t them who caused Hillary Clinton to hold only half as many campaign rallies as The Donald. It was her own fault for assuming that she had the election in the bag from day one – and she’s paying the price in knowing that despite any snarky tweet she may post directed at Donald Trump, she’s the one who will never be president.

[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. He is a co-author of the new book A Paradoxical Alliance: Islam and the Left, and can be found on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]

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