New York Times Says CNN's Jim Sciutto's Report Blaming Trump for the US Losing an Intel Source Is Pure Bunk

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Yesterday, CNN’s Jim Sciutto ran with a story that the CIA had been forced to exfiltrate a key asset from within Russia because the CIA, including then-director Mike Pompeo, were afraid that President Trump would reveal the source’s identity. This is how he described it:


In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.

The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.

As I noted in my post on the subject, virtually nothing added up to what Sciutto was claiming (read CNN Russian Spy Exfiltration Story Trips All The Bull**** Alarms On Two Continents). The biggest problem was that John Brennan’s CIA had leaked the existence of a spy within Putin’s inner circle to various media outlets as early as December 2016 in order to add credibility to the Russia Hoax then being perpetrated on the American people.

The New York Times covered the same story later yesterday and came to a startling different conclusion.

Decades ago, the C.I.A. recruited and carefully cultivated a midlevel Russian official who began rapidly advancing through the governmental ranks. Eventually, American spies struck gold: The longtime source landed an influential position that came with access to the highest level of the Kremlin.

The decision to extract the informant was driven “in part” because of concerns that Mr. Trump and his administration had mishandled delicate intelligence, CNN reported. But 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.

But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC, began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin’s involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.’s possible sources for the assessment.

The following month, The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A.’s conclusions relied on “sourcing deep inside the Russian government.” And The New York Times later published articles disclosing details about the source.

The news reporting in the spring and summer of 2017 convinced United States government officials that they had to update and revive their extraction plan, according to people familiar the matter.


So the impetus for the exfiltration was actually numerous news reports, obviously based on CIA leaks, that could compromise the source, not some visceral fear of Trump talking. Here is a great run down.


Despite being called out for wrong reporting, Sciutto was still on the air claiming that the New York Times had vindicated his reporting.



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