CNN reported Monday that the U.S. pulled a high level spy from Russia because of concerns about President Donald Trump’s ability to handle classified information.
The network that all but dedicates 24/7 coverage to destroying Trump reported that the decision was made because the president had “repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.”
The Central Intelligence Agency on Monday evening responded to denounce CNN’s “misguided” reporting as “simply false.”
“CNN’s narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false,” CIA director of public affairs, Brittany Bramell, said in a statement.
The White House went even further, saying in a statement that the network may be putting lives “in danger.”
“CNN’s reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement.
The article in question is from CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, a former Obama administration official.
“The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration,” Sciutto said in the piece. “Those concerns were described to CNN by five sources who served in the Trump administration, intelligence agencies and Congress.”
As of this writing, Sciutto still has the article pinned atop his Twitter feed.
The caption reads: “CNN Exclusive: The US extracted one of its top spies from Russia in 2017, worried about exposure and Trump’s handling of intelligence.”
CNN Exclusive: The US extracted one of its top spies from Russia in 2017, worried about exposure and Trump’s handling of intelligence: https://t.co/zKiY4VwO3C
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 9, 2019
Sciutto went on the air Monday evening to claim the New York Times “confirmed our story,” even though a Times piece that ran Monday largely contradicted his reporting.
CNN's Jim Sciutto on The New York Times debunking his report: "Now the New York Times has confirmed our story" pic.twitter.com/RZiWrGZfwd
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 10, 2019
The newspaper said CIA officials “made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia.”
This being weeks before Trump took office, with the Times pointing to media reports on Russian election interference as the deciding factor.
“Former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency’s sources alone was the impetus for the extraction,” the Times said.
For what it’s worth, Sciutto co-bylined the debunked CNN “scoop” that Michael Cohen had information that President Trump knew in advance about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian officials, according to Fox News.
Turned out the source of that story was attorney Lanny Davis, who was representing Cohen. Davis admitted he “could not independently confirm what happened.”
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, turned to Twitter to say: “Yesterday, Obama appointee and CNN “reporter” Jim Sciutto published a bogus story about [Trump]. 24 hours later and STILL no apology. Ridiculous.”
Yesterday, Obama appointee and CNN “reporter” Jim Sciutto published a bogus story about @realDonaldTrump.
24 hours later and STILL no apology.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) September 10, 2019
Here’s a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter:
Zero-standards CNN embarrassed again by former Obama Administration official Jim Sciutto pretending to be a reporter!
How many times can you screw up this badly and face zero consequences?
— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) September 10, 2019
Because I don’t fall for CNN Russia stories, what I’m mostly curious about is what the real story is behind the claims being laundered by Obama appointee Jim Sciutto. In the same way that the Russia hoax obscured the scandal of intel chief malfeasance against Trump …
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 9, 2019
This is a really solid thread. The NYT story on the Russian CIA asset is not a confirmation of CNN’s original story as much as it is a contradiction of CNN’s reporting. The author of the CNN story—Obama alum @jimsciutto—needs to update or retract his original reporting. https://t.co/TF1KfC12OJ
— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) September 10, 2019
Hats off to @jimsciutto starting a news cycle that helped get a CIA spy identified and named. Well done media. Truly, well done. But keep blaming Trump.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 10, 2019
Maybe, and I’m just totally guessing here.. CNN should have former Obama administration officials stop masquerading as reporters on foreign policy.. what say you @jimsciutto?
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) September 10, 2019
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 10, 2019
- Former Obama ambassador to Russia offers apology after boasting about his ‘lavish’ life to random critic - August 2, 2021
- Obama to host hundreds of guests at birthday bash, but don’t call it a superspreader - August 2, 2021
- ‘That’s it, we’re hanging up now’: Chuck pokes the poke-police in absurd call with ‘CDC’ - July 30, 2021