"This is fucking lunacy — conspiratorial madness of the worst kind — but it's delivered by a Serious Obama Official and a Respected Mainstream Newscaster so it's all fine," Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald fired off in response to a CNN segment blaming "foreign interference" for the still raging George Floyd protests and riots.
"This is Infowars-level junk. Should Twitter put a 'False' label on this? Or maybe a hammer and sickle emoji?" he added. Indeed after three years of national Russiagate obsession was promptly memory-holed given it died a fiery death with the great nothing-burger that was the Mueller investigation, Obama's former National Security Advisor and later ambassador to the UN Susan Rice appeared on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to blame it all on the... you guessed it: Russians!
Absolutely Incredible: Obama's Former NSA Susan Rice on CNN talking about the protests and domestic strife— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) May 31, 2020
"This is right out of the Russian playbook" pic.twitter.com/luXiPV0bOq
“I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook,” Rice said in the interview.
“But we cannot allow the extremists, the foreign actors, to distract from the real problems we have in this country that are longstanding, centuries old, and need to be addressed responsibly.”
Predictably and without asking for a shred of evidence, Wolf Blitzer responded: “you’re absolutely right on the foreign interference.” He further asked her on whether the Kremlin might be trying to “embarrass” the US by “promoting the racial divide in our country.”
“Well we see it all the time, we’ve seen it for years, including on social media where they take any divisive, painful issue... and they play on both sides,” Rice responded, echoing similar prior accusations that somehow supposed 'Russian intelligence' putting out anti-Hillary memes on Facebook in 2016 secured Trump the election.
Imagine how hard Americans would laugh if Russian officials and pundits blamed American spies for stoking ethnic tensions in the Caucasus. That's how dumb this stuff looks to the world outside America. https://t.co/6HhOyicdAU— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) June 1, 2020
“I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides on social media... [or] that they’re funding it in some way, shape, or form,” Rice added.
Also on Sunday current national-security adviser Robert O’Brien actually floated similar theories, naming China, Iran, and even Zimbabwe, as well as "Russian activists" as seeking to exploit unrest in US cities.
Pressed by @GStephanopoulos on evidence that foreign adversaries are exploiting U.S. unrest, O’Brien points to social media activity from China “coming straight from the government.”— ABC News (@ABC) May 31, 2020
He also names Zimbabwe, Iran and says “there may be Russian activists.” https://t.co/8NuFvYRECl pic.twitter.com/nApMWEuMfs
In that interview O'Brien was at least pressed for evidence, which predictably he didn't give, only saying there's been "trolling by foreign adversaries".
He pointed to China's Foreign Ministry mocking US authorities for hypocritically lecturing Beijing on the Hong Kong issue and "freedom" and "democracy".
As for Rice's grand conspiracy theories that it's all about those ever-present 'pesky Ruskies' which seem to "show up" for sinister 'interference' purposes anytime something "bad" happens in America, it must be recalled that she actually did help destroy an entire country, and had a very direct hand in it.
She was of course among the Obama administration's chief Libya war architects, pushing hard for military intervention to ultimately overthrow Gaddafi in 2011, resulting in what is still a failed state and renewed major civil war.
Some activists on social media accused Rice herself of attempting to hijack and deflate the protest momentum in saying foreigners were behind it:
She's attempting to hollow out the uprising, delegitimize it. I wish these people had even the passing ability to do some introspection. They sound insane.— #MedicareForAll 🌹 #GreenNewDeal 🌻 (@Real_AnnaBird) May 31, 2020
Russia officially responded to Rice's claims. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday when asked about the CNN interview: “We have never interfered in international affairs and we don’t intend to interfere now.”
“Any insinuations that have been mentioned are absolutely wrong, erroneous, and, as far as we understand, such insinuations can in no way reflect Washington’s official position,” said Peskov.