Already under investigation over allegations that they tried to perpetrate a coup against President Donald Trump, current and former members of America’s intelligence community now face added criticism for their stunning decision to open up to the media about the Pentagon’s alleged efforts to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin in line.
But even more shocking still is these officials’ decision to keep these plans secret from the president himself.
“Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.” The New York Times reported Saturday.
Except that “sensitive operation” was actually a media-fabricated nothing burger.
“[W]hat I’m saying is the premise of that article is false that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security,” then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster noted after the media began ballyhooing to the world that Trump had allegedly shared “classified information” with the Russian foreign minister.
Blockbuster story buried in this NYT report.
Pentagon, intelligence officials fear they cannot trust Trump enough to brief him fully on new US cyber operation against Russia for fear he will “countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials” as he did before with Russians. pic.twitter.com/BgSF3zi8nm
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) June 15, 2019
Though officials chose to keep information about the Pentagon’s cyber operation from Trump, they had no qualms about disclosing the details of it to the Times.
In interviews with the left-wing paper, they revealed that the Pentagon “is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively.”
“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official reportedly said. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
These “incursions” reportedly involve using computer code to infiltrate Russia’s power grid.
When questioned by the Times over whether the president is aware of these “incursions,” two unnamed administration officials said they believe he hasn’t been brief about them.
The president has for his part denied that the story is legitimate and accused the Times of treason:
Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
It’s unclear if the “treason” remark refers to the Times’ decision to broadcast the government’s otherwise clandestine plans or it refers to the Times’ decision to make up the story, as the president has alleged the paper did.
He’s not the only one who’s directed criticism the Times’ way:
Even if we did launch a cyberattack on Russia’s power grid, why on Earth would anyone in the media be reporting/verifying it?
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) June 16, 2019
National well being is not as important as getting the scoop or sensational headline. Anything for a buck or byline, always amazing how cynical the NYT can be.
— Kevin Hill (@kevhill) June 16, 2019
The NYT jumps at any chance to help our adversaries
— Mark “BBQ addict” C ?? (@UntraceableMC) June 16, 2019
President Trump has been saying for more than 2 years that MSM is the enemy of the people…. well this is just more proof that he is, and always has been absolutely correct.
— Jonathan Cupples (@JonathanCupple2) June 16, 2019
Because the media hates #OrangeManBad, and USA, as founded.
— Elisabeth (@grizzlymamabear) June 16, 2019
Others have aimed their criticism at America’s intelligence community instead. Why did they reveal the Pentagon’s secrets to the Times? And why did the National Security Council approve the story?
“Both [U.S. Cyber Command Commander Paul] Nakasone and [National Security Adviser John] Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia’s grid. Officials at the National Security Council also declined to comment but said they had no national security concerns about the details of The New York Times’s reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid,” the Times reported.
So to recap, intelligence officials leaked what appears to be classified information to the Times about an operation that they never even told the president about. And by doing so, they inadvertently made Russia ware of the Pentagon’s ongoing operations.
That sounds awfully treasonous, some would argue:
Why are people leaking cyber-ops. They just want to put a target on US citizens backs. Seriously….borderline treason.
— Matt De Nerd (@opensourcenerd) June 16, 2019
So someone inside is leaking specifics on intelligence to NYT just to “get Trump”?
— George Dragich (@gdragich) June 16, 2019
This is fake news otherwise there are intelligence officials that need to be fired! LEAKING confidential info to the NYT about the President is a crime.
They don’t need to trust the President. – Trump needs to be able to trust intelligence.
— Diane (@DianeRadice) June 16, 2019
So there it is – assuming the report has merit – essentially a major “clandestine military activity” is being run by US defense and intelligence commanders but while intentionally circumventing the White House’s lawful civilian oversight?
Trump is right to have word “treason”.. pic.twitter.com/iXzKB8iq0Y
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