Debunking the Dr. Ford-CIA Conspiracy
Media Matters for America Examined and Debunked this claim, I will add more below.
Conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist Michael Savage is promoting a rapidly spreading conspiracy theory that professor Christine Blasey Ford, who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, has “deep” connections to the Central Intelligence Agency. Matt Drudge has claimed that she is a “CIA Honeytrap”.
Michael Savage has pushed incredibly bizarre conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric, and he has been closely connected to President Donald Trump and the White House. He pushed the latest conspiracy theory on Twitter and his website:
Savage’s conspiracy theory makes three claims about Ford’s connections to the CIA, all of which are false or baseless:
1.The post claims that Ford “happens to head up the CIA undergraduate internship program at Stanford University.” This claim seems to originate from a conspiracy theory website, brassballs.blog, that drew this conclusion because Stanford does have an undergraduate CIA internship program, and Ford, who is a psychology professor at nearby Palo Alto University, is also listed as an “affiliate” in the “psychiatry and behavioral sciences” department at Stanford. The blog post argues that it is suspicious that Ford’s contact information has been deleted from her Stanford profile page, although the more likely explanation is that it has been removed due to the threats and harassment that Ford has received since coming forward.
2. The theory draws another connection between Ford and the CIA via her brother’s previous work for law firm BakerHostetler. A previous Ford-related conspiracy theory connected her brother’s work at BakerHostetler to Fusion GPS, a research firm involved in the ongoing Russian collusion investigation. However, Ford’s brother left BakerHostetler six years before Fusion GPS was ever founded. Savage’s conspiracy theory repeats this false claim and goes even further, claiming that three CIA-controlled businesses are located in the same building as BakerHostetler. There is no evidence these businesses are connected to the CIA — in fact, one, Red Coats, Inc., is a janitorial company that does not even share office space with BakerHostetler.
3. Savage’s post also claims that Ford is the granddaughter of Nicholas Deak, who worked with the CIA during the Cold War. According to his 1985 Washington Post obituary, Deak only had one child, a son named R. Leslie Deak. But as the conspiracy theory’s second claim also notes, Ford’s father is actually Ralph Blasey Jr.
Savage’s false claim is rapidly spreading, and was promoted during Alex Jones’ September 28 broadcast. The conspiracy theory is also indicative of how search platforms like Google amplify such clear falsehoods. A Google search for “Christine Ford CIA” done in a private browsing window aggregated YouTube videos pushing the conspiracy theory and Savage’s website as the top results:
The CIA conspiracy theory is just one of several false narratives related to Ford’s brother. A claim that he also worked with former FBI agent Peter Strzok’s sister-in-law has been spreading on voat and 4chan, and has turned into a meme spreading on Twitter and Facebook.
This just shows a general ignorance about how the CIA operates. The CIA may engage in covert action at the President’s direction and in accordance with applicable law. The CIA does not operate independently, it operates in accordance with oversight from US elected representatives. In the Executive Branch, the National Security Council (NSC) — which includes the president, vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense — provides guidance and direction for national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities. In Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), as well as other committees, closely monitor the Agency’s reporting and programs.
Only the president can direct the CIA to undertake a covert action. Such actions usually are recommended by the National Security Council (NSC). Covert actions are considered when the NSC judges that US foreign policy objectives may not be fully realized by normal diplomatic means and when military action is deemed to be too extreme an option. Therefore, the Agency may be directed to conduct a special activity abroad in support of foreign policy where the role of the US government is neither apparent nor publicly acknowledged. Once tasked, the intelligence oversight committees of the Congress must be notified. So lets assume that Dr. Ford is a “CIA Honeytrap”. The President, Donald Trump would have to be behind the allegations, as he is the only one who can direct the CIA to part-take in a Covert Action. Which would make no sense as he nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and still stands by him.
Furthermore, Domestic Political Covert Action has been prohibited since 1981 with Executive Order 12333. On December 4, 1981 President Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 which specifically prohibits Domestic Political Covert Action:
Limitation on Covert Action. No covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.
The recently declassified CIA Internal Guidelines also reiterate the same prohibitions here:
E.O. 12333 prohibits CIA from engaging in special activities to influence U.S. political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.
In accordance with the authorities and responsibilities described in Section 2, the CIA is not authorized to and shall not engage in any intelligence activity, including dissemination of information to the Executive Office of the President, for the purpose of affecting the political process in the United States. Questions
about whether a particular activity falls within this prohibition will be resolved in consultation with the Office of General Counsel (OGC).
This ban is also law with 50 U.S. Code § 3093. The National Security Act of 1947 has also been amended (page 111) to include these prohibitions. A finding may not authorize any action intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.These bans are designed to protect the integrity of government and civil rights. Internal safeguards and the congressional oversight process assure compliance.
As Media Matters for America has proven, the idea that Ford is connected to the CIA is false. The accusations made are baseless and have been debunked above.
The CIA can only part-take in Covert Action at the direction of the President, which means that President Trump would have to of set the “Honeytrap”, which again makes no sense as he nominated Kavanugh to the Supreme Court.
The CIA has been since 1981 prohibited from undertaking in Covert Domestic Political Operations. So that even if by the minute possibility that President Trump ordered this “Honeytrap”, it wouldn’t be allowed as it would violate the law and existing Executive Orders. As this would most certainly fall under the definition of effecting the US Political Process and would most certainly not be approved by the Office of General Counsel.
Just some rudimentary common sense on its own debunks this conspiracy theory. Kavanaugh is rumored to have assisted in the Bush Era Rendition Detention Interrogation Program and worked closely with President Bush on numerous Intelligence and National Security matters, helping design the Patriot Act which allows the CIA to share information with the FBI. Why would the CIA want to prevent someone with a favorable view of Executive Power and the CIA from getting a seat on the Supreme Court? Talk about fighting against your own interests. If the CIA really is this deep state machine that some of the fringes among President Trump’s supporters claim, why would they oppose someone who would give them more power?
Overall this is a baseless Conspiracy Theory and should be treated as such. Its no longer the 1970s and those on the Right that support Kavanaugh should argue with facts and not Conspir