Media

The News is Just Guesswork Now

A New York Times story pinning an assassination on Ukraine was a blockbuster, but why was it made public? How news in the “Information Warfare” age has become incomprehensible

The site of the car bomb blast in the Daria Dugina affair.

On Wednesday, October 5, the New York Times published a blockbuster story, “U.S. Believes Ukrainians Were Behind an Assassination in Russia.” Citing “American officials” in claiming “United States intelligence agencies” now believe “parts of the Ukrainian government” were responsible for the car-bomb assassination of Russian nationalist Daria Dugina* on August 19th, the paper wrote:

The United States took no part in the attack, either by providing intelligence or other assistance, officials said. American officials also said they were not aware of the operation ahead of time and would have opposed the killing had they been consulted. Afterward, American officials admonished Ukrainian officials over the assassination, they said.

The article is a Rubik’s cube whose stickers have been switched all over, leaving no possible solution. Turn it over as much as you like, you won’t figure out what you’re reading.

The key news is clearly the fact the article was even published. Someone in the U.S. government took an extraordinary step of outing our intelligence agencies’ supposed belief that Ukraine was involved in the bombing. Writers Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman, Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz do at one point address this, saying “Countries traditionally do not discuss other nations’ covert actions,” but in this case, “some American officials believe it is crucial” to “curb what they see as dangerous adventurism, particularly political assassinations.”

All this info was ascribed to a “closely held assessment of Ukrainian complicity,” also referred to throughout as an “American intelligence assessment,” which was “shared within the U.S. government last week.” Who wrote the assessment? What office? The piece doesn’t say, but does add toward the bottom that “officials from the State Department, National Security Council, Pentagon and C.I.A. declined to comment on the intelligence assessment.”

Reading the news since the invasion has become a kaleidoscopic guessing game. There are just too many factors warping the informational landscape now to make sense of anything.

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