Clapper accused of leaking to CNN

Jonathon Turley:
Friday’s release of the House Intelligence Committee report generated much coverage over its finding of no evidence of collusion with the Russians. Receiving less attention was a small section entitled “Finding #44,” where the committee suggested that then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper leaked information from the so-called Steele dossier. Even worse for Clapper, the alleged leak was made to CNN, which later hired him as a contributor.

If true, both the national intelligence chief and then-FBI Director James Comey leaked information while denying such violations to Congress. Moreover, even if Clapper waited until shortly after leaving office, it is deeply troubling that he would confirm details of the dossier, which was under investigation.

The report recounts how Clapper gave “inconsistent testimony” to Congress when he denied ever “discuss[ing] the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.” That has proven to be untrue. Clapper later admitted he discussed the “dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper” and indicated he may have discussed the material with other journalists.

The timing is notable.

Clapper discussed the information in “early January 2017.” There was no compelling need to confirm the information, given the ongoing investigation and that it was still a subject of highly classified deliberations. Indeed, with FBI personnel looking into the matter, confirming the information could be viewed as unhelpful. Its most obvious value was to undermine Donald Trump.

In other words, the disclosure advanced political, not public, interests.

Clapper is accused of not only lying to the public but to the media for which he now works. After Trump objected to the leaking of the dossier story, CNN covered Clapper’s statement that he assured the incoming president neither he nor anyone in the intelligence community was responsible: “I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”

In March, Clapper, again on CNN, insisted, “I didn’t have any contact with media until after I left the government on the 20th of January, so I don’t quite understand, at least what I’ve read, that somehow I leaked about the dossier.” CNN host Don Lemon then asked, “So you didn’t leak anything about the dossier to any media?” Clapper answered, “No, not — I mean, I talked about it after I left the government, but not during that period, and certainly not between the 6th of January and the 10th when the president-elect himself talked about it.”
Clapper, Brennan, and Comey all appeared to be pushing a plot to undercut the new President based on unverified third-hand hearsay dressed up to look like an intelligence report.  It was one of the biggest political scams in history and they appear complicit in pushing it in order to push an agenda of taking down the President. 

If Clapper lied and mislead the media and the President there should be consequences for that.


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