President Joe Biden on Wednesday reacted to an intelligence community report claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to interfere in the 2020 election with a threat.
In a pre-recorded interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden said that Putin would “pay a price” for allegedly launching a campaign to influence Americans to vote against him.
“He will pay a price,” the president said. “We had a long talk, he and I, when we — I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”
Later, Biden said, “Look, the most important thing dealing with foreign leaders in my experience ‒ and I have dealt with an awful lot of them over my career ‒ is just know the other guy.”
“So you know Vladimir Putin? Do you think he is a killer?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Mmhmm, I do,” Biden responded.
Asked what price Putin would pay, Biden said: “The price he is going to pay, well, you’ll see shortly.”
According to the 15-page declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, various agencies concluded that Russian operatives, at the direction of Putin, tried to sandbag Biden’s presidential prospects.
In addition, the agencies concluded “that Russia-backed figures such as Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach enlisted unnamed U.S. political figures in their campaign to smear Biden and his son Hunter,” Reuters reported.
The report claimed that Derkach, who met in 2019 with former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, was tracked and possibly directed by Putin.
“Putin had purview over the activities of Andriy Derkach,” the report said. “Other senior officials also participated in Russia’s election influence efforts – including senior national security and intelligence officials who we assess would not act without receiving at least Putin’s tacit approval.”
The IC report was written with input from the CIA, NSA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department.
But a counter-analysis of the IC report seen by BizPac Review questioned its conclusions because a key intelligence agency was reportedly left out of the assessment.
The counter-analysis by Rebekah Koffler, who agreed overall that Russia attempted to interfere, nevertheless noted that any Russian influence operation would have most likely been run by the Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye, or GRU, roughly Moscow’s version of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The DIA, the principal military-intelligence-gathering organization, “has the primary responsibility for and expertise within the IC for the GRU,” Koffler, a former DIA analyst, noted.
“The fact that DIA did not participate in the drafting or even coordination of this ICA calls into doubt credibility of the assessments contained in this document,” she wrote. “The IC’s competence to assess foreign leaders’ intent is very limited, due to the analysts’ propensity for mirror-imaging and cognitive biases. Sounds like potentially another ‘Trump-Russia collusion’ hoax.”
“Putin’s goal is to foment political disfunction and destabilize the American society by pitting Americans against one another, rather than to ‘help’ place a specific candidate in the White House,” Koffler, author of the upcoming book, “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” added.
While U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia interfered to harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump, several post-election probes by congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller could find no evidence that the former president’s campaign worked in collusion with Moscow.
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