An admitted CIA mouthpiece writing for The Washington Post receives classified information and publishes it. He remains in good standing at the paper. Yet the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News offers his informed opinion that the British helped conduct surveillance on President Trump and is suspended for several days from on-air appearances.
This action by Fox News reflects disrespect for someone who has worked for the channel since 1998. It sends a message that the intelligence community, here and abroad, cannot be investigated.
Since the British NSA, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had issued a denial of what Napolitano had said, the feeling of most of the media (and the management of Fox News Channel) was apparently that this was the Gospel and must not be challenged.
The scalp of Judge Napolitano will forever be nailed to the wall of Fox News, setting an example of what happens when the establishment narrative about Russia and Trump is undermined. Napolitano was made into an example of what happens when the intelligence agencies are embarrassed.
We understand that journalists use intelligence officials as anonymous sources and therefore accommodate them. But when a commentator like Napolitano breaks the mold with information that embarrasses the intelligence community, he must be supported, not punished with a suspension. Otherwise, the notion of a free and independent press is a joke.
Meanwhile, an anchor for Fox News, gay activist Shepard Smith, makes a mockery of conservative values on a regular basis and continues to enjoy the blessings of the channel’s owners. This is what happens when a conservative channel takes its conservative base for granted and moves to the left in order to appear more acceptable to the rest of the media. Smith was actually designated to declare on the air that Napolitano’s report was incorrect. No details were offered on what investigations were done, if any, to question the sources behind his claims. One source came forward to validate what the judge had said.
His “return” was instructive and quite uncomfortable. Host Bill Hemmer offered a lame joke that Napolitano “had a few quiet days” and “likely needed them.” Napolitano said he stood by his report that the British played a role in the surveillance, “and the sources stand by it.”
Meanwhile, over at The Washington Post, CIA mouthpiece David Ignatius is still on the payroll of Jeff Bezos, the Amazon billionaire owner of the paper with CIA and NSA connections. Little is said or reported about this curious arrangement.
The Post is an example of the corporate marriage between the media and intelligence establishments. It has become a weapon in the arsenal of the Democratic Party and the Obama officials still ensconced in the intelligence agencies.
As we should all know by now, Ignatius received an illegal leak of classified information about conversations involving Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and reported them in the paper. Both the leak and the publication of the information constitute potential felonies under the law.
Ignatius continues to write from the viewpoint of those who want to use anonymous sources to destroy the Trump presidency. His latest column is a blast at the courageous head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), for continuing to probe the issues of illegal leaks and illegal surveillance of the Trump team. Ignatius knows the trail leads to his desk and then to a high-ranking Obama official in the CIA, NSA or FBI.
His obvious conflict of interest is cause for concern among anyone with a remote sense of journalistic ethics.
But the Post, whose owner Jeff Bezos does business with the CIA and NSA, looks the other way.
Incredibly, Ignatius tried to turn the tables on Nunes, saying, “He needs to demonstrate that he’s the chairman of a bipartisan oversight panel trusted with the nation’s secrets, rather than a conduit for information from the Trump White House.”
For the record, nobody knows the identity of the source that provided evidence to Nunes of improper or illegal surveillance of the Trump team. It is completely absurd, however, for Ignatius to posture as someone concerned about the protection of “the nation’s secrets.”
Our column, “Investigate and Prosecute the Press,” remains as valid today as when we published it.
In a promotional advertisement trying to drum up subscriptions, the Post declares, “Democracy needs great journalism. Great journalism needs you.”
Bezos ought to be indicted for false advertising and consumer fraud. He ought to be invited to testify after Nunes is done with Ignatius.
Indeed, Ignatius ought to be hauled in front of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and grilled on his relationship with the anonymous sources who provided him with classified information.
Nunes just might have the guts to do this. But it’s clear that the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (NC), is in over his head, and is letting the ranking minority member, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), virtually run the hearings on the Senate side.
In their “Statement on Inquiry into Russian Intelligence Activities,” Burr and Warner didn’t indicate any effort would be undertaken to discover the source of the illegal leaks and whether surveillance of the Trump team had taken place.
No wonder the Post wants to destroy Nunes. He is standing in the way of the establishment reasserting the primacy of their narrative on the Russians and Trump. They got Napolitano’s scalp; now they want to get that of Nunes.
- Call 202- 225-4121 and support Rep. Nunes, urging him to hold the media and the intelligence community accountable for illegal leaks of classified information.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected]