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Left-leaning media networks CNN and MSNBC continue to give ample airtime to a number of current and former intelligence officials, despite concerns about their credibility following the Trump-Russia collusion investigation and the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.
On Monday, during an appearance on “Don Lemon Tonight,” former Director of National Intelligence and CNN national security analyst James Clapper said that one should assume all classified material obtained from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home have been compromised.
“That is the worst-case assumption that you have to make. What is the potential damage that could be done to U.S. Intelligence capabilities? That is, sources, methods, trade crowds compromised? That can get very personal in the case of human assets,” he said.
But, Clapper has made numerous comments over the years that are scrutinized to this day.
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In March 2013, Clapper said the U.S. government does not “wittingly” collect data on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
However, following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s decision to leak top-secret information in 2013, it was revealed that the federal government does indeed collect data from the phone calls and internet communications of the American public. Clapper subsequently apologized in a letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, stating his answer was “clearly erroneous.”
Clapper has also been criticized for his commentary on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling Russia investigation.
In December 2017, Clapper told CNN that Russian President Vladimir Putin “knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with” Trump.
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In a May 12 interview on MSNBC, Clapper was asked whether he agrees with Trump’s assertion that the Russia investigation was a “witch hunt,” to which he said, “I don’t believe it is.” He added he thought the issue would remain a “dark cloud” over Trump.
Following a 2016 Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona Clapper reacted: “I really question his ability to be, his fitness to be in this office and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out.”
Clapper has previously told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he did not have any regrets about his comments about the investigation, pointing to past instances in which he said he “didn’t know” whether there was collusion, and the fact that he was only tasked with looking into election interference by the Russians.
But Clapper is hardly the only ex-intelligence official to emerge as a regular on CNN and MSNBC.
In recent days, CNN and MSNBC have raised eyebrows by providing significant airtime to fired ex-FBI official Peter Strzok to defend the raid of Trump’s Florida estate.
The widely mocked Strzok was removed from the Mueller Russia investigation in 2017 and fired by the FBI in 2018, in part, for exchanging anti-Trump texts with his lover Lisa Page while overseeing critical investigations.
Despite Strzok’s partisan reputation, he has been put in a position to defend the bureau on a near-daily basis.
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“Peter Strzok enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the only people to ever be fired from the federal government for performance. That alone should disqualify him from ever appearing in the media as some kind of expert,” Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott recently told Fox News Digital.
Instead of being shunned from mainstream media, Strzok appeared on CNN or MSNBC at least 15 times in the first 15 days following the raid.
Meanwhile, President Biden on Friday announced his intent to appoint MSNBC national security analyst Jeremy Bash, who insisted Hunter Biden’s scandalous laptop was Russian disinformation, to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
Bash previously served as chief of staff at the CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense under Secretary Leon Panetta — who also signed the letter falsely suggesting the laptop was bogus. The authenticity of Biden’s laptop has since been verified by numerous news organizations. But Bash was among more than 50 former intelligence officials who previously signed a letter dismissing it as Russian disinformation ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Clapper was also part of the list of signees.
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Bash also dismissed the laptop as Russian disinformation on a variety of MSNBC programs, including “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The newly appointed Biden intelligence advisor also serves as a founder and managing director of Beacon Global Strategies. The consulting group is stacked with ex-government officials, such as Michael Allen, who has spent his career in the national security arena, including in the White House and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, according to the firm’s website. He is a frequent contributor on television for national security and foreign policy. The team also includes Andrew Shapiro, a 20-year national security leader with experience in the Department of State, Congress and the Department of Justice.
The group came under fire in 2015 after one of its managing directors, former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell, was set to testify at a hearing on Benghazi. Morell previously worked as a national security analyst for CBS News. Critics voiced concern that the group’s deep ties to Clinton and Capitol Hill raised questions about a possible conflict of interest in Morell’s testimony.
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Jonathan Turley, who recently compared Strzok commenting on the FBI to the captain of Exxon Valdez being asked to discuss the safe navigation of oil tankers, isn’t particularly fond of Bash, either.
“Bash is only the latest appointment of those who spread the false claim that the laptop was likely Russian disinformation despite every indication to the contrary. He was part of the very type of ‘classic playbook disinformation campaign’ that he ascribed to the Russians,” Turley told Fox News Digital.
“With the help of the media, he and others assured voters that they could dismiss this scandal before the election. To paraphrase Bash, the false claim that he and offers promulgated ‘looks like politics… walks like politics… talks like politics,’” Turley added. “That is hardly a recommendation for a top intelligence adviser.”
DePauw University journalism professor Jeffrey McCall believes Clapper, Strzok and Baker all have issues appearing honest, but are used by CNN and MSNBC to push an agenda.
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“These ‘news’ sources all have credibility problems that would normally disqualify them as journalistic resources, but they keep surfacing on places like CNN and MSNBC because they reliably support left-of-center narratives on stories about Trump, Hunter Biden, and so on,” McCall told Fox News Digital.
“That establishment news outlets continue to recycle sources of questionable credibility also demonstrates a lack of hustle to seek out and interview other possible analysts who wouldn’t bring the baggage that people such as Clapper and Bash bring,” McCall continued. “There surely are other sensible people to interview on matters of national security and related topics who aren’t so easily identified with partisan angles.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfoshn contributed to this report.
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