AP latest to retract claim that ‘17 US agencies’ confirmed Russian DNC email hack

AP latest to retract claim that ‘17 US agencies’ confirmed Russian DNC email hack
The Associated Press has become the latest news organization to retract a claim alleging that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic emails and tried to swing the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

The claim has repeatedly appeared in the news agency’s reporting in recent months, most recently on June 29 in a piece by White House Reporter Ken Thomas.

“All 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind last year’s hack of Democratic email systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump,” the story states.

The retraction, emailed to RT.com on Friday in response to an inquiry about the claim, reads: “In stories published April 6, June 2, June 26 and June 29, The Associated Press reported that all 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump.

“That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies – the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency – and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment.”

The retraction, published as a “clarification” on the AP’s website, follows a similar move by the New York Times on June 25.

The “17 agencies” claim appears to have been first made by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during her third and final debate with Trump ahead of the election last year.

Clinton is said to have based her assertion on a joint statement issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the body overseeing all 17 agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security earlier that October.

“The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations,” the DNI statement reads.

AP’s retraction corrects the organization’s second case of misreporting involving the Trump administration in recent days.

The agency was forced to publish a correction on Saturday after a June 27 article claimed that Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, had met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris for half an hour at a hotel in Houston before deciding to reverse a ban on a particular pesticide.

“A spokeswoman for the EPA says the meeting listed on the schedule was canceled, though Pruitt and Liveris did have a ‘brief introduction in passing,’” the correction states.