US pulled spy from Russia due to safety concerns under Trump: report
10 September, 2019, 18:53
James R Clapper Jr, the former director of national intelligence who left office at the end of the Obama administration, said he had no knowledge of the decision to conduct an extraction. CNN has a track record of fake news, including false and biased reporting that elevates white supremacists.
USA mediareported on Monday that United States intelligence carried out an operation in 2017 to extract a high-level Russian official who had worked as an informant for the CIA.
A USA government source also insisted that Mr Trump did not disclose secrets, such as the informant's existence or identity, at any meeting with Russian officials.
The reports said the source had spied for the United States for more than a decade.
"When intelligence officials revealed the severity of Russia's election interference with unusual detail ... the news media picked up on details about the C.I.A.'s Kremlin sources".
The Timesreported that the Central Intelligence Agency initially offered to extract the source in late 2016 over fears about media exposure, after officials revealed the severity of Russia's election interference in extensive detail. There was no suggestion President Trump had directly compromised the source, it said.
When Collins was asked about the CIA's pushback on CNN's report, the House Judiciary Committee ranking Republican started attacked the network for the report, and for hiring former Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Andrew McCabe as a commentator.
Still, reports say the decision to carry out the extraction was finally made after the Oval Office meeting.
"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit", said Steven L Hall, a former CIA official who led the agency's Russian Federation operations. It said Mr. Putin was, in part, motivated by a "grudge" against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton "for comments he nearly certainly saw as disparaging him".
In January 2017, the Obama administration published a detailed assessment that unambiguously laid the blame on the Kremlin, concluding that "Putin ordered an influence campaign" and that Russia's goal was to undermine faith in the US democratic process and harm Clinton's chances of winning.
But now it appears the leak was true. Some have speculated that the story was manufactured to smear the American president.
To be sure, the source himself may be untrustworthy.
The spy was one of the most important officials working for the U.S. during Russia's campaign to tamper with the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reported.
Watch whether the source comes forward now, during the 2020 presidential election campaign, with "bombshell" revelations accusing Trump of being a Manchurian candidate.
Counterintelligence officials anxious they had switched sides and that the information they had been giving the Americans was therefore wrong.
The CNN piece, authored by chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, said, "The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration". According to The New York Times, Smolenkov had been on the USA payroll for decades.
Knowledge of the Russian covert source's existence was highly restricted within the U.S. government and intelligence agencies.
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