This week, BuzzFeed published an unverified intelligence document that makes salacious claims about President-elect Trump. And they're taking major heat for it.
Among the claims in the document are that Trump requested lewd acts to be performed by prostitutes in Moscow and that he was fed information on Hillary Clinton by Russia.
Independent Journal Review decided to talk to some intelligence experts on Russia about the unverified document.
To kick things off, we talked to First Sergeant K. Smith. Smith worked in U.S. Army intelligence, speaks 13 different languages, and has over 20 years of experience in Russia and Eastern Europe.
"There is no way that the highlighted PDF document would ever be included into a PBD (Presidential Daily Briefing).
It is not possible. That thing is such an obvious piece of sh*t that nobody would even forward it to them, much less have it be received by them and included in information that would be shared with the president.
The dossier in question is a first instance report, and a first instance report does not go to a PBD and is not specific. There's around four layers that go into a document like this to protect the source or sources. It lacks any layers."
Smith pointed out some of the most questionable parts of the document:
"Whoever wrote this was not trained in masking sources. There are certain sections of the document that talk about Russia's information about Hillary Clinton. They describe the information they have against her in very vague terms.
It claims to have damaging information on Hillary but mostly about contradicting herself in private vs. public. The intelligence services in Russia would not consider that damaging information.
I don't know anyone who works in HUMINT (covert intelligence-gathering) that would put together a document like the one that was put up by BuzzFeed."
Smith explained where BuzzFeed fell short:
"They're very discriminating about what goes into a PBD. A few questions which are asked: Is it significant to the president and his ability to carry out his role? Is it significant to understanding current events in which the president may be engaged?
But first and foremost, they assess if there is any degree of certainty with the information. It doesn't appear to be written by anyone who has a professional intelligence background. Not to myself, or anyone else that I've spoken to.
The dossier overall is complete garbage. BuzzFeed can't tell real intelligence from bullsh*t. There's every possibility that BuzzFeed wittingly or unwittingly has played their role artfully, skillfully in releasing the report."
Then, he dropped the bomb on what Russia's real objective is:
"To control the information battle space and use it as a weapon. They propagate themes, themes designed for a specific audience. They will play on the fringe of both the right and left.
Russia has a goal, they want to undermine our governmental institutions. By planting this story, Donald Trump is now under the impression that his own intelligence agencies are trying to undermine him.
But it's not the CIA or the media undermining Trump — it's Russia. Part of Russia's overall objective is to divide America so badly that the average American cannot discern truth from fiction."
Next we spoke with Joel Harding. Harding is former U.S. Army Special Forces, an expert on Russia, and worked as military intelligence officer.
"The Soviets used to do something called active measures. They use to make a document and put into a newspaper, let's say for instance, in India. And they were able to make it look like it came from the CIA or Fort Detrick in Maryland.
The quality in this specific document isn't believable. Whoever made it did not take the time to make it look right.
But the document isn't the main story here. The main story is Russia's goals as far as information operations go. And that's what we aren't talking about. Most of the media doesn't get it."
Harding revealed what it is the media doesn't get:
"It breaks down like this: The first goal for Russia is to sow chaos, discontent, and disarray in America. The second, [to] promote Russian national goals. The third, [to] undermine democracy in the West. They do it by any and all means.
They believe that he who gets the story out first win. If it's unethical or immoral, Russia doesn't care if it reflects negatively upon them. As long as they get people to see it first, people will take that story and run with it.
If Russia is able to make Americans disbelieve in the democratic process in the United States, it's a win-win for Russia.
The KGB has just taken on different initials, the FSB, SVR and GRU."
The dossier controversy has created a glaring rift between Trump and the intelligence community, just days before he will be officially sworn in as president.