The late pundit Robert Novak used to say that government officials can choose to be either “a source or a target.” In other words, leak information to reporters and you can count on flattering coverage and protection from them. An added bonus to leaking, as former Intelligence Director Jim Clapper discovered, is that the network to which you are leaking will turn you into a paid contributor. According to Congressman Jim Jordan, speaking to Fox News, “Clapper was actually the guy leaking information” to CNN about the presidential briefing on the Steele dossier that served as the pretext for the media feeding frenzy over possible Russian blackmail of Trump.
One can only laugh at the utter fraudulence of CNN: it pads its panels with government officials who leak to it, then presents them to its audience as “nonpartisan” experts commenting on the aftershocks of the very stories they leaked.
Trump’s intuition about a politicized intelligence community is confirmed daily by the rantings of its former members who treat the studios of television news like a retirement center. Eager to get in on this act, NBC recently hired former CIA director John Brennan, who also ingratiated himself to reporters through leaks. On his Twitter account, he describes himself as “nonpartisan” and NBC supports that con by letting him comment on the investigation his partisan manipulation of intelligence instigated.
Almost all of the principals responsible for the Russian farce are confirmed liars and leakers. They said Trump Tower wasn’t the target of spying. It was. They said a FISA warrant wasn’t issued. It was. They said Trump officials weren’t unmasked. They were. They said (as even the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman acknowledged) Hillary didn’t finance the Steele dossier. She did.
Who were these compromised figures to be investigating anybody? Clapper blatantly perjured himself before Congress over the Snowden revelations. Brennan lied about the CIA spying on the Senate. Comey leaked classified information to the New York Times. Yet the press accords them the status of unimpeachable mandarins whose every utterance we should treat with the utmost gravity.
Most of what they say is laughable on its face. Take their spinning about the Steele dossier Hillary purchased. We didn’t know about it, we didn’t use it — that’s the impression they try to foster. But they did know about it and did use it. Brennan and Harry Reid were thick as thieves and Reid spent the late summer of 2016 telling everybody under the sun about the Steele dossier. He fired off a letter to Comey based on the dossier’s smears and even made an allusion to Brennan in the letter: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government…”
One of the recurring themes in the Russian farce is its architects’ simultaneous claims of omniscience and ignorance. They claimed to know about secret meetings in Moscow while playing dumb about Steele’s meetings in Washington. He was holding press briefings not far from their offices. But according to Clapper, the “intelligence community” was the last to learn of the dossier. After briefing Trump, he wrote, “We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the [intelligence community] became aware of it.” That is either a lie or an astonishing admission of the intelligence community’s lack of intelligence.
In the same letter, he expresses his “profound dismay” at the leaks that led to media reports on the dossier-related briefing — leaks that came from him, according to the House Intelligence Committee. “I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC,” he wrote. We now know why he snuck the weasel phrase “I do not believe” into that line.
Clapper probably penned the letter while on the phone with CNN and now enjoys his reward: a cushy seat from which to pronounce on the Trump administration’s lack of “integrity.” The other day he was on CNN vouching for the integrity of Andrew McCabe, another nabbed leaker. Maybe McCabe can become a CNN contributor too now that his FBI pension is in peril. They could co-host a show called Reliable Leakers.