Host Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” spent most of his Sunday show on the subject of whether there is any evidence of Trump officials colluding with Russia to affect the 2016 presidential election. “On the Russian collusion, there’s a lot of smoke, no evidence,” said panelist Bob Woodward of Washington Post Watergate fame.
But we do have substantial evidence of media collusion with the U.S. intelligence community.
“Few understand the CIA and espionage culture as well as [David] Ignatius,” Woodward once said of his colleague, a foreign affairs columnist for the paper. These comments are significant. Ignatius is the Post journalist who received an illegal leak of classified information regarding Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. The disclosure led to Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s national security adviser.
The leak and its publication on January 12 were both illegal actions under the law.
Attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch tells Accuracy in Media that Ignatius is not alone. “What you see in these leaks—David Ignatius of The Washington Post and others—are the intelligence agencies being manipulated by the left to destroy the Trump presidency and everybody around him.” Ignatius openly boasts of his contacts in the intelligence community, especially the CIA.
Woodward was a guest on the Sunday edition of “Fox News Sunday,” but was never asked about his colleague receiving illegal leaks of communications intelligence information.
Instead, the major issue on the show was whether President Trump has made charges about wire-tapping his administration without proof. “NO EVIDENCE CITED FOR ‘WATERGATE’ PLOT” was one of the front-page headlines in the Post over President Trump’s charges that former President Obama was behind the wiretapping.
The media were unanimous. “Trump’s baseless wiretap claim” was the headline over a CNN story.
While Trump’s tweet alleging Obama’s personal role seemed like a stretch, some reported “facts” already in the media put some substance behind what the President was trying to convey in a few words and phrases. For example, the British Guardian reported on January 11:
“The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The FISA court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.”
Regarding the alleged personal involvement of former President Obama, the left-wing publication The Intercept reported on January 13:
“With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.”
The conservative Wall Street Journal reported:
“Only days before the inauguration, President Obama also signed an executive order that allows the National Security Agency to share raw intercepts and data with the 16 other agencies in the intelligence community. NSA analysts used to filter out irrelevant information and minimize references to Americans. Now such material is being leaked anonymously.”
The new rules and procedures, which were promulgated pursuant to a presidential executive order, were signed by Obama Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on January 3 and reported under the innocuous New York Times headline, “N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications.”
As the Journal suggests, what Obama’s administration did was to set the stage for the leaks through David Ignatius of the Post and others. You don’t have to be Bob Woodward to suspect something is going on here.
“The people that report on national intelligence at all the networks, including Fox—and I love Fox News—are scared of taking on the intelligence agencies because their sources will be cut off and they won’t have a profession anymore,” Larry Klayman tells Accuracy in Media.
Interestingly, the personal website of David Ignatius features a laudatory review of one of his books, The Director, about a fictional director of the CIA. This is the context in which Bob Woodward said of Ignatius, “Few understand the CIA and espionage culture as well as Ignatius.” Another reviewer, Philip Kerr, also of The Washington Post, says “I strongly suggest you read The Director. It makes Tom Clancy look like an episode of Get Smart.”
“Get Smart” was the comedy show about a bumbling secret agent who had a phone in his shoe. Ignatius clearly understands the nature of the intelligence business and doesn’t joke around.
But most of the media won’t raise the obvious question: who is Ignatius collaborating with and why? The answers suggest actual collusion and even criminal conduct.
Woodward said on “Fox News Sunday” that “you’ve got to understand that as President Trump has this vast espionage establishment as his disposal, $50 billion a year plus, even in the CIA they call him the First Customer. So he can get the information he wants. He’s the only one in the government.”
But is he really a customer? Or is he in this case a victim?
If the intelligence community is trying to bring down a duly elected government of the United States, it is a story that must be told. Will the media tell this side of the story, or will they protect their anonymous sources and a $50 billion espionage establishment they collude with to make a living?
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].