A U.S. government report implicating Russia in the July 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was created by political writers rather than intelligence analysts, a former CIA analyst-turned-political activist told Russia's Sputnik News. Sputnik is wholly owned by the Russian government, which reportedly backs Ukrainian separatists accused of firing a missile at the plane as it flew near the Russia-Ukraine border.

"What [U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] offered was a 'government assessment,' which means it was written in the White House, which means it was a political document written by political hacks, and that the intelligence analysts would not sign on to it," Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, told Sputnik. McGovern was previously known for implying that President George W. Bush could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Arlington County, Virginia.

RTX1AJ01 Retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern holds a copy of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution as he participates in a news conference held by the whistleblower group ExposeFacts.org at the National Press Club in Washington, April 27, 2015. Photo: Reuters

The United States was not the only entity pointing fingers at Russia, however. A group of British investigative journalists in November found what they called "solid information" that the Buk missile system said to have fired the rocket that brought the plane down could be traced back to Russia. 

"It seems clear the launcher came from Russia, and the government bears the responsibility for killing hundreds of innocent civilians on MH17,” Eliot Higgins, the journalist who led the investigation, said at the time, as Ukraine's KyivPost reported.

Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. The plane, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and lost contact with air traffic control about 50 kilometers from the Ukraine-Russia border. The crash occurred during the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and other airlines soon began avoiding that airspace.