The Associated Press and New York Times both wrongly reported that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia tried to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In fact, it was only the FBI, CIA, NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that say so. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) coordinates all the agencies, but all 17 didn’t independently agree regarding Russia. The Intelligence Community’s website explains it is comprised of “seventeen separate organizations” and the ODNI works “to organize and coordinate the efforts of the other 16 IC agencies.” iMediaEthics has written to the ODNI to ask if it complained over the coverage.
iMediaEthics has written to both the AP and the Times to ask how the error occurred.
The Times‘ June 25 article, “Trump’s Deflections and Denials on Russia Frustrate Even His Allies,” reported “The latest presidential tweets were proof to dismayed members of Mr. Trump’s party that he still refuses to acknowledge a basic fact agreed upon by 17 American intelligence agencies: Russia orchestrated the attacks, and did it to help get him elected.” That was corrected from 17 to four, according to NewsDiffs, which tracks changes to articles from the Times and other outlets.
Both outlets have now published a clarification or correction about their reporting.
The AP’s June 30 clarification addressed four stories since April and reads,
“In stories published April 6, June 2, June 26 and June 29, The Associated Press reported that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump. That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies – the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency – and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment.”
The Times‘ June 29 correction reads:
“A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”