Former CIA Russia Director Beebe Slams Russiagate Narrative as Threatening Nuclear War
April 7, 2019—George Beebe, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest, and the former director of Russian analysis at the CIA and advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney on Russian affairs, wrote on April 4 about the false narrative on Russiagate. Although he accepts the line that Russia hacked the DNC, he considers this of little significance, and otherwise warns that the clearly false “facts” that drove the two years of anti-Russian hysteria have taken us “down the road toward confrontation with the world’s largest nuclear power.”
“Few questioned how an ex-British agent banned from traveling to Russia could contact highly-placed sources in the Kremlin and Russian intelligence over unsecure email and phone links and get quick access to highly sensitive secrets denied to the world’s most capable intelligence services. Healthy skepticism took a back seat to a story that too many were too eager to believe....
“And they seem loath to look beyond Mueller’s report to investigate what may well be egregious abuses by the FBI and Intelligence Community in spying on an opposition political campaign, which if true would constitute grave threats to civil liberties and to the checks and balances of American governance....
“Yet those judging Russian intentions toward the United States assert with little apparent reflection and no dispositive evidence that Moscow aims to rend our societal fabric because of what we are—a democracy—rather than what it perceives that we do, which is to destabilize established regimes in and around Russia.
“This is a difference with significant implications: we cannot change the nature of what we are, but we can conceivably manage our differences with Russia over involvement in the domestic affairs of other countries. Media voices that uncritically accept the prevailing narrative about Russian intentions are in danger of stepping on the same rake that caused us to stumble into the Iraq weapons of mass destruction failure and subsequent war. Is there really only one plausible explanation of Russian intentions toward us?
“Facts matter. But the narrative tissue connecting these facts into a coherent story matters even more. Before we march even farther down the road toward confrontation with the world’s largest nuclear power, we need to ask ourselves how confident we should be that we have got that narrative right.”