CIA Slams CNN For 'Simply False' Reports on Trump and Russia
The CIA's criticism of CNN came following a New York Times piece
Establishment news network CNN has come under fire from the Central Intelligence Agency for what it terms as "simply false" reporting on a report claiming the CIA had pulled a high-level spy out of Russia because of President Donald Trump "repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy."
The CIA's criticism of CNN came following a New York Times piece which contradicted CNN's reporting.
The Times reported that CIA officials "made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia," which was weeks before Trump took office.
According to The Times, the decision was driven by concerns about media reporting on Russian election interference, which described the source as "the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders” from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Times wrote: "Former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency’s sources alone was the impetus for the extraction."
The reported spy refused the 2016 offer of extraction, citing family concerns, The times reported.
But the CIA "pressed again months later after more media inquiries" endangered the source, and he complied.
On Monday, NBC News reported that a possible Russia spy was now living under U.S. protection, and his life could be in danger due to using his true identity, in Washington, D.C.
According to sources, the Russian living in Washington was the same person referenced by CNN and the Times.
NBC said he "fits the profile of someone who may have had access to information about Putin’s activities."
Speculation about the purported spy's identity quickly circulated on social media after NBC News' report revealed identifiable details about his living situation.
Russian officials said the man in question worked in the presidential administration but was fired and did not have direct access to Putin.
CIA Director for Public Affairs Brittany Bramell said in the agency's statement"
"CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false."
"Misguided speculation that the President's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate."
The report by CNN chief national correspondent and former Obama administration official Jim Sciutto said the decision to carry out the extraction "occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting, where Trump addressed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak."
Yet one more Russiagate "bombshell" turns out to be a dud. Between today's CNN one and @lawrence's recent claim about Russian oligarchs co-signing Trump's bank loans, there's at least a little progress: they're being exposed as fraudulent at a faster pace than before.— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) September 10, 2019
According to CNN, the disclosure "prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure."
After the Times report was published, Sciutto posted on twitter, that the double agent in jeopardy had the "remarkable ability to take photos of presidential documents," as well as "direct access" to Putin.
According to Fox News: Commentator Aaron Mate pointed out in a Twitter thread that several major news organizations had previously cited a high-level official in the Russian government as a source -- implying that the intelligence community itself, not Trump, had compromised the spy.
For example, The Washington Post reported on June 2017 of "'sourcing deep inside the Russian government' -- so deep that it purportedly 'captured Putin’s specific instructions' to launch a pro-Trump influence campaign," Mate noted.
And The Times reported in August 2018 of "anonymous intel officials complaining that their 'vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent.'"
But "if these Kremlin informants are so vital, why are US intel officials talking about them?" Mate asked.
The source resurfaced in May 2019, when the Times "reported on intel fears of this source being exposed."
"Again, the irony is lost that it's the ones who are complaining who are the ones revealing this supposed source," Mate wrote.
"So there's a pattern here of intel leaks in order to: create a false link between Trump-Russia; to reveal supposed high-level Russian sources that advance the Russiagate narrative & then falsely blame Trump for these sources' supposed vulnerability."
Fox News understands that the CIA typically makes the decision to withdraw an asset only after a long deliberative process and that the move would not ordinarily be taken based on a single event involving classified information, as CNN implied.
CNN has been faulted for its inaccurate intelligence reporting in the past.
In December 2017, CNN falsely reported that Donald Trump, Jr. had advance access to hacked Wikileaks emails, in what Glenn Greenwald called "one of the most humiliating spectacles in the history of the U.S. media."
Several of the organization's much-touted journalists were forced out earlier that year for a separate false Russia bombshell.
Sciutto claimed on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" late Monday that the Times had "confirmed" his reporting.
Numerous other news organizations, including Vox, The Hill, and The Guardian, picked up CNN's original story uncritically.
The developments led to speculation as to who had leaked the information to CNN -- especially in light of previous anti-Trump leaks that found their way from the intelligence community to CNN's airwaves -- and led commentators to fault the accuracy of CNN's initial reporting again.
"In their fervor to blame President Trump for mishandling classified information, CNN potentially risked lives," a source familiar with the matter told The Daily Wire.
"They had multiple on-the-record quotes from Administration officials telling them."
"Their story was not only wrong, but irresponsible and dangerous, and CNN decided to run with it anyway."