CNN Throws Another Nonsense Allegation at Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions is probably only second to Donald Trump in the Pantheon of EvilTM of the progressive movement. Unable to touch him with thirty-year-old allegations of hurty-pants speech they are now obsessed with his meeting with the Russian ambassador at a reception organized by the Heritage Foundation during the RNC convention as a way to force him out of office.

CNN led today with this:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday.

Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn’t note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list “any contact” he or his family had with a “foreign government” or its “representatives” over the past seven years, officials said.

The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials. He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year.

Then the rest follows.

Sessions initially listed a year’s worth of meetings with foreign officials on the security clearance form, according to Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores. But she says he and his staff were then told by an FBI employee who assisted in filling out the form, known as the SF-86, that he didn’t need to list dozens of meetings with foreign ambassadors that happened in his capacity as a senator.

After CNN’s story published, a spokesman responded to the reporting with a statement, saying that Sessions was instructed not to list meetings like the ones with Kislyak on his form.

“As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff,” spokesman Ian Prior said. “In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.”

Other than a cheap gotcha, it is hard to see what value there is in this report. If one followed CNN’s logic, then you’d be liable for recording everyone you had any passing contact with each day. I can tell you from personal experience, that I sponsored a ROK captain during my 6-month long Infantry Officer Advanced Course and kept in letter contact with him for some years and I was not required to put him on my SF-86 for TS/SCI background clearance.

So what are the rules? CNN produces a lawyer who says Sessions was required to disclose this meeting. And Texas Republican Will Hurd nearly breaks his neck in his haste to be a “reasonable Republican.”

“Because of the intense scrutiny that he knew he was going to go under, over-sharing is probably better than under-sharing,” Hurd told CNN, which originally reported Sessions’ failure to disclose at least two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. – See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/hurd-criticizes-sessions-for-not-disclosing-russia-meeting?

With that in mind, I went to the OPM website and found the instructions for filling out the SF-86 The Office of Personnel Managment is THE authority for what goes on any personnel-related form in the federal government.

sf-86-foreign-contacts

You must indicate whether you have, or have had, close and/or continuing contact with a foreign national within the last seven years with whom you, or your spouse, or cohabitant are bound by affection, influence, common interests, and/or obligation.

Obviously, unless you are one of the Russia-nutters who sees an ushanka under every bed, contact with an ambassador, no matter how frequent, does not cross this threshold. And nothing CNN says is going to change that.