The intelligence community and the liberal mainstream media have used the existence of a document that no one has verified to attack President-elect Donald Trump. As more of the story comes out, that attack appears to be backfiring. CNN is quickly losing what credibility it had left and the intelligence community appears to be attempting to distance itself from the document it considered worthy of adding to the official report on the — also unproven — allegations of a Russian campaign to influence the election.
Besides playing a major role in the dissemination of the spurious allegations against President-elect Trump contained in the unverified dossier alleged to be the product of a former British intelligence officer, CNN also originated the false report that Trump had been presented with a two-page summary that detailed those allegations.
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible.
The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.
One reason the nation's intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.
Just so there was no confusion, that article ran under the headline, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.”
But like the dossier itself, the claim that Trump was “presented” with “classified documents” that “included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump” appears to be falling flat. In his press conference Wednesday, Trump flatly disputed the claim that he was given a copy of the dossier, saying he learned of the alleged dossier “outside of the meeting" with the chiefs of the intelligence community.
Trump’s assertion that he did not receive the two-page summary as CNN reported is backed up by others, as well. A “highly-placed transition source” told Fox News that the dossier was “barely mentioned in passing” during the meeting and a government source told the news outlet that the document certainly did not constitute a "central element" of Trump's briefing by the intelligence officials.
As the wheels continue to come off the cart in this he-said-she-said gossipfest of an unconfirmed document being passed off as an intelligence report, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has waffled on the importance of the dossier. In a statement released late Wednesday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Clapper wrote that he had called the president-elect to express his "profound dismay" over the leak of the dossier to the media. He went on to write, “I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC [intelligence community],” adding, “The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions."
Of course, Clapper’s remarks lead to more questions than they answer. For instance, if the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable” and “did not rely upon it in any way,” why was the document appended to the report on Russian influence in the election? And if the document was classified and in the hands of the intelligence community where it should have — presumably — been closely guarded, how can Clapper “not believe the leaks came from within” the intelligence community? Are the American people to believe that CNN, BuzzFeed, and other media got their hands on the classified document by osmosis?
Considering the lack of credibility of both the intelligence community (which made the less-than-reliable document part of the official report) and the media organizations (which reported on it as if it were verified), one thing is certain: trusting either the intelligence community or the liberal mainstream media to tell the truth is a waste of good faith.
Photo of President-elect Trump: AP Images