Craig Murray Doubles Down On Clinton Hacking Claim

Whether the former British diplomat, Craig Murray is a fantasist or a truth-teller is a matter of debate, but given the US media’s determination to just ignore him, we may never never find out.

The fact that the media here won’t even test his credibility by talking to him but are content to accept, in some cases without question, and via anonymous and alleged intelligence sources, claims about Russian, and now even Putin’s, involvement in the theft of Democratic Party emails, is a depressing comment on the relationship between the Fourth Estate and the power structure in America.

To be sure Murray is a controversial figure in some circles, especially official government ones. Elsewhere he is regarded as something of a hero for speaking out publicly about British intelligence’s willingness to accept information acquired by torture from dubious, totalitarian regimes to justify war, such as Uzbekistan where he served as ambassador until his protests forced a confrontation with the Foreign Office which he lost.

Craig Murray

Craig Murray

The British establishment scorned and shunned Murray for his allegations against the intelligence elite and the lesson has not been lost by the media on either side of the Atlantic. During our own Troubles in Ireland, we have had more than one whistle-blower discredited by government and then disowned by the media and the pattern is a familiar one.

One or two deserved the treatment, to be sure, and the fact that they were probably self-serving embroiderers of the truth or even fantasists was all to the good for officialdom. Their faults served to discredit the brand as it were and the media learned that to listen to such people risked being vilified in the same manner.

And so it is with Craig Murray. Praised at the time of his protests against the torture in Uzbekistan, where some victims were boiled in oil, he was then accused of all sorts of villainy by his bosses in the Foreign Office – from granting visas for sexual favours to drunkenness at work – but was eventually cleared.

Nonetheless the damage was done. The image of Craig Murray the corrupt, unreliable philanderer had been created and God help the ambitious reporter who sought him out. And so he was consigned to the fringes of the media, to places where only the Julian Assange’s of this world live, along with the occasional brave soul from The Guardian.

We shall see whether his latest claims receive anything more than derision, scorn and contempt from the mainstream media, but they should be tested. Below, courtesy of the Mail Online (ironically one of the best news sources around these days), here is Craig Murray’s latest contribution to the mystery of the Clinton hacking story.

(Interestingly Murray was denied entry to the US in early September this year but was then granted a visa in mid-September to attend a human rights conference. This would be around the same time as he now says that he met the whistle-blower in Washington who handed over a trove of Clinton emails. Just why was he initially refused entry?)

Enjoy:

WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails – Daily Mail Online

A Wikileaks envoy today claims he personally received Clinton campaign emails in Washington D.C. after they were leaked by ‘disgusted’ whisteblowers – and not hacked by Russia.

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September.

‘Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,’ said Murray in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’

His account contradicts directly the version of how thousands of Democratic emails were published before the election being advanced by U.S. intelligence.

Murray is a controversial figure who was removed from his post as a British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct. He was cleared of those but left the diplomatic service in acrimony.

His links to Wikileaks are well known and while his account is likely to be seen as both unprovable and possibly biased, it is also the first intervention by Wikileaks since reports surfaced last week that the CIA believed Russia hacked the Clinton emails to help hand the election to Donald Trump.

Murray’s claims about the origins of the Clinton campaign emails comes as U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly confident that Russian hackers infiltrated both the Democratic National Committee and the email account of top Clinton aide John Podesta.

In Podesta’s case, his account appeared to have been compromised through a basic ‘phishing’ scheme, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly told members of Congress during classified briefings that they believe Russians passed the documents on to Wikileaks as part of an influence operation to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump.

But Murray insisted that the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians, and were given to the whistleblowing group by Americans who had authorized access to the information.

‘Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,’ Murray said. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’

He said the leakers were motivated by ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.’

Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.

Murray claims he met with the person who passed the emails over in a Washington, D.C. part near American University.

His account cannot be independently verified but is in line with previous statements by Wikileaks – which was the organization that published the Podesta and DNC emails.

Wikileaks published the DNC messages in July and the Podesta messages in October. The messages revealed efforts by some DNC officials to undermine the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was running against Hillary Clinton.

Others revealed that Clinton aides were concerned about potential conflicts and mismanagement at the Clinton Foundation.

Murray declined to say where the sources worked and how they had access to the information, to shield their identities.

He suggested that Podesta’s emails might be ‘of legitimate interest to the security services’ in the U.S., due to his communications with Saudi Arabia lobbyists and foreign officials.

Murray said he was speaking out due to claims from intelligence officials that Wikileaks was given the documents by Russian hackers as part of an effort to help Donald Trump win the U.S. presidential election.

‘I don’t understand why the CIA would say the information came from Russian hackers when they must know that isn’t true,’ he said. ‘Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that.’

Murray was a vocal critic of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan while serving as ambassador between 2002 and 2004, a stance that pitted him against the UK Foreign Office.

He describes himself as a ‘close associate’ of Julian Assange and has spoken out in support of the Wikileaks founder who has faced rape allegations and is currently confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange has similarly disputed that charges that Wikileaks received the leaked emails from Russian sources.

‘The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,’ Assange told John Pilger during an interview in November.

‘Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false – we can say that the Russian government is not the source.’

Murray suggested that John Podesta’s emails might be ‘of legitimate interest to the security services’ in the U.S., due to his communications with Saudi Arabia lobbyists and foreign officials

The Washington Post reported last Friday that U.S. intelligence agencies had ‘identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails.’

The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.

‘It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,’ a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. ‘That’s the consensus view.’

The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.

‘It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,’ a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. ‘That’s the consensus view.’

The Obama administration has been examining Russia’s potential role in trying to influence the presidential election. Officials said Russians hacked the Republican National Committee, but did not release that information in a deliberate effort to damage Clinton and protect Donald Trump.

Several congressional committees are also looking into the suspected Russian interference.

While there is a consensus on Capitol Hill that Russia hacked U.S. political groups and officials, some Republicans say it’s not clear whether the motive was to try to swing the election or just to collect intelligence.

‘Now whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that’s the subject of investigation,’ said Sen. John McCain on CBS Face the Nation. ‘But facts are stubborn things, they did hack into this campaign.’

President elect Donald Trump raised doubts about the reports and said this was an ‘excuse’ by Democrats to explain Clinton’s November loss.

‘It’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,’ said Trump on Fox News Sunday.

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