On the heels of a particularly contentious week in politics, the president has fired his quixotic FBI Director, James Comey. He explains that it’s because Comey was a terrible leader of the FBI (he was), but the media insists that it was because Comey was closing in on the “truth” of Trump’s collusion with Russia to steal the election from poor old Hillary. For their part, the Democratic Party seems content to perpetuate this narrative, since it exonerates the DNC of having been mostly responsible for its own defeat (they could have had the candidate that their base wanted, but the DNC leadership chose to rig the election in favor of the oligarchy’s choice, Hillary).
Meanwhile, the Democrats rushed to the defense of James Comey, a man they had condemned as being a profligate Trump puppet just two weeks prior to the firing. In fact, several prominent Democrats were angrily calling for Comey’s dismissal and for him to be brought to testify on Capitol Hill for pre-election shenanigans. Now the Democrats wish Comey was still FBI Director!
After Comey’s dismissal, the president and his senior national security aides met with a Russian delegation led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Smarting over the way the media was misrepresenting both Trump (and his election win as the product of a Russian dezinformatsiya operation), the president disinvited Western media sources from covering the event. Instead, the Trump Administration allowed for only Russian news services to cover the meeting with the Russians. While this was an understandable rebuke to the partisan legacy media, it was a mistake on the part of the Trump Administration. The image of Russian state-owned media having access to the White House, the president, and senior national security officials only played into the media narrative about Trump’s illicit Russian connections.
Without missing a beat, the mainstream press—the Washington Post, in this case—descended upon the story like a pack of rabid hyenas; desperately cackling and clawing over each other as they sought to get the first shreds of meat from Trump’s political carcass. The only problem was that Trump wasn’t dead politically. In fact, he was still running circles around the press, as evidenced by his phenomenal speech at Liberty University. But, not to worry! If the legacy media can’t dazzle John Q. Public with its brilliance, it will baffle the voters with its B.S.
Without missing a beat, the mainstream press—the Washington Post, in this case—descended upon the story like a pack of rabid hyenas; desperately cackling and clawing over each other as they sought to get the first shreds of meat from Trump’s political carcass. The only problem was that Trump wasn’t dead politically.
The Washington Post ran a story claiming that “several unnamed sources” heard the president sharing classified information with the Russian delegation. According to these reports, the president told the Russians about an ISIS threat to use laptops as weapons on international flights (which likely explains why the Trump Administration enacted bans on the usage of laptops in-flight on several overseas flights). It caused quite the uproar. Indeed, like so many fake news stories about the president, it was the number one trending topic on social media the day that the story broke.
The United States has several intelligence-sharing programs with a litany of other countries around the world. Many of the countries sharing intelligence with the United States do so secretly, not only to protect critical sources and methods, but also because their populations are largely anti-American. If it were discovered that these governments were sharing intelligence with the United States, there would be serious political ramifications, and the intelligence-sharing with U.S. intelligence agencies would be discontinued. This would be a hugely negative outcome for America’s national security.
In fact, according to these reports, the intelligence that the president shared with the Russians explicitly was forbidden to be shared with any group outside of U.S. intelligence by the country that initially generated the intelligence report. From the sounds of it, an unnamed foreign state has human sources embedded within ISIS, informing on key activities of the group. This information, then, is to be jealously guarded, out of fear that those human assets would be discovered by ISIS and killed, thereby removing a critical fountain of information. The media has reacted as though this were the greatest breach of U.S. secrecy since Robert Hanssen. And, to be fair, this would have been a severe breach of vital U.S. intelligence sources and methods.
If only it were true.
That’s right, ladies-and-gentlemen: the story that the Washington Post ran was Fake News (or, at the very least, grossly exaggerated). Yet, the meeting was attended by senior American national security officials. All of them categorically denied the validity of the story. What’s more, a diverse set of actors from within the Trump Administration—from H.R. McMaster to Dina Powell to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—have insisted publicly that the story is demonstrably false.
Who are we to believe, the Washington Post’s “unnamed sources” or the actual people at the meeting? Keep in mind that only a few people were at the meeting, so unless someone was eavesdropping from outside, the only people who were there, deny that such an exchange between the president and the Russians ever occurred! And they say we on the Right are conspiracy theorists?
Just use logic to disprove it. How many stories have flooded out from the press indicating that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is at odds with the president? That he is the only one to be trusted in the Administration? Or that Dina Powell is a covert Hillary supporter out to make the Trump Administration look more like a Democratic-Globalist endeavor and move it away from any appearance of a nationalist or a populist t uprising? Yet, the one thing they all agree on was that the leak of covert intelligence did not happen. Trust me, if this story had any truth to it, these purported “Never Trumpers” would not have challenged the veracity of the story.
Here’s McMaster’s emphatic statement on the matter (you can almost see him trying not to laugh at the stupidity of the media):
The Lawfare Blog is skeptical of McMaster’s claims. “Not all Top Secret information is created equal,” they say. The “carefully worded” statement made by McMaster implies that some classified information must have been discussed. That isn’t what McMaster said at all. But even if true, sharing classified information with foreign actors, even the Russians, is not without precedent, especially when it comes to terrorism.
Further, the U.S. president has broad authority to disclose classified information to whomever he wishes. And, there have been many times U.S. presidents have shared classified information with foreign actors for the sake of larger geopolitical interests. Remember, for most of the post-Cold War period, the United States and Russia actually did share intelligence on several issues, notably relating to terrorism!
Think about this: in the event that there is a U.S. ally with human assets embedded within ISIS, feeding us intelligence, it is likely that the Washington Post is the one who has jeopardized the lives of those assets with this fake news story.
Now, like many commentators, I am dubious of Russia’s intentions. They are not our friends, no matter how many Paleoconservatives may wish it to be so. Further, the Putin Regime in Russia has clearly made a strategic calculation that Russia’s biggest threat overseas is not terrorism, but rather the U.S. global hegemony. So, yes, if classified information was passed on to the Russians, we should be uncomfortable. But, no, it isn’t necessarily even controversial that certain intelligence information might have been shared. What’s more, as McMaster emphatically states, the proprietary intelligence potentially acquired by a friendly state was not shared with the Russians. Though the media itself seems to have no compunction about what its talk may do to this intelligence.
Think about this: in the event that there is a U.S. ally with human assets embedded within ISIS, feeding us intelligence, it is likely that the Washington Post is the one who has jeopardized the lives of those assets with this fake news story. Let’s hope that the entire story is fake. Something I’ve noticed about the media’s lies, however, is that they take a smidgen of truth and surround it by a thick wall of lies.
It might very well be true that the West has agents in ISIS. It is not true that Trump shared anything of that sort with the Russians. But, ISIS may now suspect that there are foreign agents in their midst and take steps to remove that threat. More damagingly, the unnamed foreign state sharing intelligence with the U.S. will be less inclined to do so in the future, out of fear of being betrayed. Even if there are no human assets deep undercover in ISIS, this story may pique ISIS’ paranoia, prompting ISIS elements under covert U.S. surveillance to suddenly change their routines, and thereby complicate Western attempts to track them.
Speaking about media lies earlier this year, I wrote that, “When Trump or his surrogates misspeak, they cause confusion. [The media is] there to correct them. But when the media gets it wrong, people’s lives are ruined.” I should have added, when the media lies, people can die.
I wish I could say with certainty that either McMaster was right or the media was right. But the media has destroyed its credibility with constant misrepresentations and overtly partisan attacks too many times. The media has moved away from speaking truth to power. We are now in a bizarre position where we must either choose to accept the words of those in power or to accept the claims of those who wish they were in power.
The media has destroyed journalism and replaced it with Leftist partisan hackery. We are all now paying the price for this fact, by losing basic trust in once respected institutions.