by WorldTribune Staff, March 23, 2018
Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper provided misleading testimony to Congress regarding information he allegedly leaked to CNN on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the House Intelligence Committee said.
The committee’s final report, which it approved on March 22, found no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
Clapper “allegedly leaked information to CNN regarding the classified briefings given to then President-Elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama on the salacious dossier claiming the Russians had compromising information on the president-elect,” investigative journalist Sara Carter reported, citing government sources who noted the evidence of the leak was collected during the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.
Reporting on the committee’s findings, Bill Gertz wrote for the Washington Free Beacon that “Despite 472 days of investigation and thousands of witnesses, the committee stated in its list of final conclusions and recommendations that it found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump, his campaign aides, and Russia.”
The report said DNI Clapper, now a national security analyst for CNN “provided inconsistent testimony to the committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN,” Gertz said.
A CNN spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment, and Clapper could not be reached for comment, the Free Beacon reported.
The report also said former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI regarding conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak “even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.”
“The finding suggests the FBI improperly charged Flynn,” Gertz noted.
Clapper, who was one of four senior Obama administration officials to attend the briefing with Trump and Obama, also stated his “profound dismay at the leaks” in an official statement issued in January 2017.
The government sources, Carter reported, said Clapper “had spoken to CNN at roughly the same time Jake Tapper broke the first story regarding the briefings conducted by senior intelligence officials with Trump and Obama on the dossier” authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
“Tapper’s story, which published in January 2017, created a snowball effect of allegations in the media that Trump’s campaign had allegedly colluded with the Russians in the 2016 election and that Russia had compromising material on Trump, sources with knowledge of the investigation concluded,” Carter noted.
“Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and national security adviser Mike Rogers agreed to brief both Obama and Trump on the dossier in early January 2017. Comey briefed Trump, sharing a two-page summary with him of the contents of the dossier.”
While Steele had contacted journalists about the dossier as early as the summer of 2016, journalists had been reluctant to publish its unverified findings.
“But it was when CNN published the first report that Trump and Obama had been briefed on the dossier’s findings that other news agencies began to report on it,” Carter noted. “The committee found evidence that Clapper, who is now a contributor at CNN, contacted CNN shortly before the story was published by Tapper, Evan Perez, and Jim Sciutto. The story detailed the briefings given to Trump by the senior officials on the contents of the dossier and ‘gave the dossier legs and news agencies began to publish its contents because it had now become official news,’ one congressional source told this reporter. Shortly after CNN published the report, Buzzfeed made the decision to post the entire 35-page dossier and referenced the CNN report in its decision to publish it, according to the website.”
On Jan. 11, Clapper issued a press release stating that the leaks in the media regarding the briefing on the dossier were “extremely corrosive and damaging to national security.”
“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,” he stated. “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 IC became aware of it. 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.”
“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,” Clapper stated. “However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.”
The committee’s report also reportedly said the Obama administration failed to notify the Trump campaign that members of the campaign were assessed to be counterintelligence concerns.