- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

President Trump urged CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a retired National Security Agency analyst who co-wrote a disputed report challenging the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment regarding Russia’s role in last year’s election, according to the former NSA official.

Mr. Pompeo met in October with William Binney, The Intercept first reported Tuesday, a 74-year-old former NSA analyst and a member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) group that claims Russian hackers weren’t responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

The meeting was held at Mr. Trump’s urging and confirmed by Mr. Binney, a senior intelligence source and other individuals familiar with the meeting, The Intercept reported.

“As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, told the news site.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded in January that Russian hackers infiltrated the DNC and obtained internal emails subsequently leaked online during the course of a state-sponsored interference campaign targeting the 2016 White House race and particularly Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Binney attests otherwise, however, and co-wrote a report in July implying the DNC breach was an inside job. That report formed the basis of a controversial article published by The Nation in August championed by critics of the intelligence community’s assessment but hotly contested by others, including fellow members of VIPS, a group of mostly retired analysts formed in 2003.

Mr. Trump has publicly challenged his own intelligence community’s findings in the past, and as recently as last month referred to the election hack as a “hoax.”

“I was willing to meet Pompeo simply because it was clear to me the intelligence community wasn’t being honest here,” he told The Intercept, with respect to the DNC breach. “I am quite willing to help people who need the truth to find the truth and not simply have deceptive statements from the intelligence community.”

Mr. Pompeo has since invited Mr. Binney to discuss his claims with current NSA and FBI officials, he told The Intercept.

“The director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence community assessment,” CIA spokeswoman Nicole de Haay told NBC News, adding that he’s “adamant that CIA officers have the time, space and resources to make sound and unbiased assessments that are delivered to policy makers without fear or favor.”

Mr. Binney joined the U.S. Army in 1965 and the NSA in 1970, rising in its ranks from an analyst to a technical director prior to retiring in 2001. He’s since been highly critical of the agency’s operations, particularly its surveillance programs enacted after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Russia has denied interfering in Mr. Trump’s election. The matter is currently being investigated by authorities in the House, Senate and Department of Justice.

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