“Trust, but verify” is an old Russian proverb famously quoted by President Ronald Reagan. However, the time for trust is past. Should we trust the Iranian government when it embraces taqiyya (lying to deceive “unbelievers”)? Should we trust the Russian government when it annexes Crimea and invades Ukraine? The new normal for our time is “Don’t trust, and verify if possible.”
Supposedly 17 U.S. intelligence agencies were in agreement about the Russian government being behind the meddling in our 2016 election (“Intelligence reporting in lockstep,” Web, Jan. 9). That number came from partisan politicians and the mainstream media, not fact. In truth just three agencies were the sources of the 25-page declassified report: CIA, FBI and NSA. These agencies make most of their judgments with “high confidence,” but in the report the phrase “NSA has moderate confidence” appears twice.
For readers with even a moderate unclassified understanding of NSA’s sources and methods, that’s hardly “lockstep.”
GEORGE F. STEEG
Potomac Falls, Va.