‘It's déjà vu’: Why many equate ‘embarrassing’ ODNI report to Iraq ‘WMD fiasco’
A number of journalists and military experts have drawn the comparison in recent days, including respected writer Glenn Greenwald who slammed a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). It claimed Russia was responsible for the hack, with the intention of influencing the result of the recent US presidential election.
Speaking on CNN’s ‘Intel Report’, Greenwald said the public should not “blindly and uncritically” accept the report without sufficient evidence “and we have absolutely not seen that in this case.”
“In 2002...a group of bipartisan senators assured the nation that the intelligence community convinced them that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was in alliance with Al-Qaeda,” Greenwald said, referencing the similarities between the recent allegations from US intelligence and the events that led to the invasion of Iraq.
His sentiments were preceded by journalist Matt Taibbi who, in a piece for Rolling Stone on December 30 titled ‘Something about this Russia story stinks,’ said: "It's déjà vu all over again."
“Many reporters I know are quietly freaking out about having to go through that again. We all remember the WMD fiasco,” Taibbi wrote, adding that “nothing quite adds up.”
Members of the intelligence community itself have also been highly critical of the report. Speaking to RT, former MI5 Intelligence Officer Annie Machon warned the ODNI’s report carried a great deal of danger, comparing it to the “flawed intelligence case” that led to the UK involvement in the Iraq war.
The report was described as a “farce” by former CIA analyst Larry C Johnson who told RT, “I don’t think they’re hiding anything because they don’t have anything.”
“These are ‘or and how’ intelligence estimates as opposed to an intelligence analysis based on fact. There’s no fact underlying this. There are analytical assumptions,” Johnson said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange heavily criticized the report in a press conference on Monday, describing it as more like a press release than an intelligence report.
He said the report was "quite embarrassing to the reputations of the US intelligence services" with “zero evidentiary weight."
“Being asked to trust American intelligence agencies that Russia hacked the US Election, is like trusting George Bush telling us Iraq had WMD,” one user said on Twitter, where the ODNI report was slammed.