‘Real reckoning’ demanded from major media, U.S. intel agencies over Mueller investigation

by WorldTribune Staff, March 26, 2019

Two prominent journalists yesterday called for a full accounting from major U.S. media and intelligence agencies that helped launch and fuel Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which cleared the Donald Trump campaign of rumors its colluded with the Russian government to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Sharyl Attkisson: The major U.S. media ‘allowed unproven charges and false accusations to dominate the news landscape.’ / CBS / John P. Filo

For two years, the corporate media “allowed unproven charges and false accusations to dominate the news landscape … in a way that was wildly unbalanced and disproportionate to the evidence,” investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson wrote.

Meanwhile, the U.S. intelligence community, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, “allowed the weaponization of sensitive, intrusive intelligence tools against innocent citizens,” Attkisson wrote for The Hill on March 25.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal on March 25, William McGurn noted that the one “real reckoning that needs to come” is “for all the intelligence officials – including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – who pushed the Russia conspiracy theory. The special counsel has just made clear they did so with no real evidence.”

McGurn charged that top U.S. intelligence officials under the auspices of President Barack Obama “went all in for a tale that the Russian government had somehow compromised Trump or his close associates. In peddling this line, their authority rested on the idea they had access to alarming and conclusive evidence the rest of America couldn’t see. Now it appears they never had much more than an unverified opposition-research dossier commissioned by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson on behalf of Hillary Clinton.”

But the intel officials persisted.

“Start with the FBI’s McCabe, who boasts that he is the man who opened the counterintelligence probe into Russia and President Trump,” McGurn wrote. “As recently as three weeks ago, McCabe – sacked by the bureau for a ‘lack of candor’ – told CNN that he still thought it ‘possible’ President Trump was a ‘Russian asset.’ Again, on what evidence?”

McGurn continued: “Ditto for Clapper, who said he agreed ‘completely’ with McCabe that Trump could be a Russian asset. He added only that he couldn’t be certain whether it was ‘witting or unwitting.’ ”

Brennan had tweeted that Trump’s behavior at a press conference in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treasonous.” Not “wrong,” not “outrageous,” but “treasonous.”

“It wouldn’t be the last time he invoked the ‘t’ word,” McGurn noted. “Brennan also used it after the president pulled his security clearance last August. During a subsequent appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, host Chuck Todd suggested that a former intelligence chief might wish to be a little more circumspect with his accusations.”

Todd stated: “You are the former CIA director accusing the sitting president of the United States. It’s not a private citizen. A lot of people hear the former CIA director accusing the sitting president of the United States of treason – that’s monumental, that’s a monumental accusation.”

Brennan said he regretted nothing, and cited for his judgment his training as an “intelligence professional.”

“For a full reckoning, America will need an accounting of the evidence used to launch that counterintelligence probe, the unmasking of officials, the leaks, and the likely abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants. The lesson here is this: Be careful what you wish for. Because the questions this special prosecutor has unleashed might yet yield federal criminal indictments. Just not for the people the fantasists of Russian collusion expected.”

With the Mueller report, “the rampant accusations and speculation that shrouded Trump’s presidency, even before it began, ultimately have proven unfounded. Just as Trump said all along,” Attkisson wrote.

The MSM “reported a tremendous amount of false information, always to Trump’s detriment,” Attkisson noted. “And when we corrected our mistakes, we often doubled down more than we apologized. We may have been technically wrong on that tiny point, we would acknowledge. But, in the same breath, we would insist that Trump was so obviously guilty of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet that the technical details hardly mattered.”

So, Attkisson wrote, “a round of apologies seem in order. Apologies to Trump on behalf of those such as Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. Apologies also to Page himself, to Jerome Corsi, Donald Trump Jr., and other citizens whose rights were violated or who were unfairly caught up in surveillance or the heated pursuit of charges based on little more than false, unproven opposition research paid for by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

Attkisson continued: “Apologies for the stress on their jobs and to their families, the damage to their reputations, the money they had to spend to hire legal representation and defend themselves from charges for crimes they did not commit.

“Apologies on behalf of those in the intelligence community who leaked true information out of context to make Trump look guilty, and who sometimes leaked false information to try to implicate or frame him.

“Apologies from those in the chain of command at the FBI and the Department of Justice who were supposed to make sure all information presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is verified but did not do so.

“Apologies from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judges who are supposed to serve as one of the few checks and balances to prevent the FBI from wiretapping innocent Americans. Whether because of blind trust in the FBI or out of ignorance or even malfeasance, they failed at this important job.

“Apologies to the American people who did not receive the full attention of their government while political points were being scored; who were not told about some important world events because they were crowded out of the news by the persistent insistence that Trump was working for Russia.”

Will such apologies be forthcoming? “Not likely,” Attkisson concluded.

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