CNN Denounced By CIA For Allegedly False Story On Russian Spy Being Pulled Due To Trump Disclosures

In a rare direct rebuke, the Central Intelligence Agency on Monday evening issued a statement calling CNN coverage of a spy story “simply false.” The CNN reported that the CIA pulled out a major Russian spy from Moscow because President Trump had “repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.” However, the CIA is not the only one effectively calling CNN out on the story. A New York Times piece on the story directly contradicts CNN. The Times says that the decision was made before Trump was even in office. If true, that would be a glaring contradiction for CNN and would reinforce criticism of the network as relentlessly anti-Trump.

The Times reported that it was media coverage that led the CIA to move to extract the spy and that “media scrutiny of the agency’s sources alone was the impetus for the extraction.” The timing however is the most key element. The Times is reporting that the decision was made in 2016 — before Trump took office. The spy reportedly refused the request but was later prevailed upon to leave.

NBC reported on the identity the person living in the United States. A NBC reporter knocked on his door outside of Washington and was met by security. Given Putin’s tendency to kill dissidents and critics, the man’s life is clearly at risk.

Russian officials have identified the man as Oleg Smolenkov and denied that he had access to Putin.

If the Times is correct, CNN has a great deal of explaining to do over its coverage and sources on this story. CNN has been rightfully criticized for its unrelentingly negative coverage of Trump. I have criticized the network repeatedly its erroneous legal analysis. However, this story is different with the Times standing in such direct contradiction to the reporting of CNN. The concern is that the intense and open opposition to Trump at CNN is overwhelming its journalistic standards. This is not just political or legal analysis with a bias. National security reporting has long been treated as the gold standard for networks. For that reason, the greatest challenge for CNN is not the CIA rebuke but the contradiction from a major journalistic organization like the New York Times.

80 thoughts on “CNN Denounced By CIA For Allegedly False Story On Russian Spy Being Pulled Due To Trump Disclosures”

  1. Somebody take a ride over to CIA headquarters and ask Gina Haspel what she was doing as Chief of Station when MI6 and Christoper

    Steele fabricated the “Steele dossier” in league with the “Five Eyes.”

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    The co-conspirators are:

    Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann, Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe,

    Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan,

    Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove, Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer,

    Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel,

    Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy),

    Obama et al.

  2. new book on MK ULTRA. lots of garbage out there on it, loons saying they were affected by it

    but it was real

    oh guess what else. guess who actually was a subject of the experiments?

    WHITEY BULGER boston irish mafia murderer and FBI asset and snitch

    like a lot of things about whitey bulger, it makes you sick when you read it and realize how this awful person was at the nexus of so many awful things…. aided, abetted, and funded by the government!

    CIA needs to stick to its mandate of collecting HUMINT abroad and quit the meddling !

  3. I have less of a problem with CNN investigative journalists running with a hot story, than I do with the “sources” who tipped them off — if indeed any of the story is true. Whoever was discussing this sensitive story with CNN was certainly committing a major dereliction of duty. Putin has made it clear he will not hesitate to launch assassinations against those he brands traitors — just look at the fates of Skripal and Litvinenko. I can imagine how our sources risking their lives now behind enemy lines might be wondering if it is worth it, whether the information will be run through some political meat grinder which risks exposing their identities. It certainly appears that the key point of the story is that the CIA source had to exfiltrated out of concern President Trump had compromised him. Best to leave the intelligence community and their sacred work out of partisan politics. There are plenty of other issues on which to argue with the president. Before I went overseas as Chief of Station the first time — many years ago — a CIA veteran was giving me some advice about how best to do our work. He summed it up simply: “the secret of our success is the secret of our success”.

    — Dan Hoffman, Former CIA Station Chief

    1. the Biblical exhortation “by deception thou shalt make war” may be the Mossad’s motto but they live and breath it at CIA. and they don’t know when to reel it in, either.

      I trust Trump over the CIA. Nobody gets to vote on anything where the CIA is concerned.



    Trump, you’ll remember, was in office for only a few months before he revealed to Russia classified intelligence about ISIS that originated in Israel, potentially endangering a source who was, as The Wall Street Journal reported, “the most valuable source of information on external plotting by Islamic State.” This led a senior German politician to describe the president as a “security risk for the entire Western world.”

    Not long after, Trump bragged to Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte about the presence of American nuclear submarines off North Korea. (“We never talk about subs!” stunned Pentagon officials told BuzzFeed News.) Then, that September, after a subway bombing in London, Trump tweeted out that the perpetrators “were in the sights of Scotland Yard,” information that had not been publicly released. This prompted a rebuke from the British prime minister.

    Less than two weeks ago, Trump tweeted what was likely a classified photo of the aftermath of an explosion at an Iranian space center. From the image, journalists and internet sleuths were able to deduce important information about the type and location of the satellite that produced it. “This is the first time in three and a half decades that an image has become public that reveals the sophistication of U.S. spy satellites in orbit,” reported Wired.

    And these are just his own disclosures. The president personally overruled intelligence officials to demand that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be given a top-secret security clearance. Kushner, in turn, may have passed American intelligence to Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s homicidal crown prince; according to The Intercept, the prince boasted to confidants that he’d discussed Saudis disloyal to the regime with Kushner. Shortly after these alleged conversations, the crown prince initiated a purge.

    So while the degree to which Trump’s logorrhea put the Russian asset in peril is not yet clear, what is clear is that Trump has gravely damaged America’s ability to collect crucial information, and not just about Russia.

    Edited from: “Pssst! Don’t Tell Trump” by Michelle Goldberg

    The New York Times, 9/9/19

    1. garbage

      “DescriptionMichelle Goldberg is an American blogger and author. She is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a columnist for The Daily Beast, Slate, and The New York Times. She is a former senior writer for The Nation magazine. Wikipedia
      Born: 1975 (age 44 years)”

      you know what they say about opinions

      1. Kurtz, all those instances that Goldberg cites were well-documented news stories. Therefore ‘you’ sound like some boot-licking stooge telling us to disregard her.

    2. Peter – the president of the United States decides what is classified and what is not if he decides to release something it is on him. We have given information to our British allies that their homosexual spies have given to Russia. And I think that the British MI five and MI six are involved in the trump dossier. And let’s remember that the New York Times is not a friend of Donald Trump in fact it is an avowed enemy. Who should we be getting our source material from? Surely not the New York Times. At least not when it comes to Donald Trump. Maybe, when it comes to the movies.

      And by the way, everybody knows where the damn submarines are.

      1. Paul, spare me!

        It seems the Trumpers on this thread are more committed than ever to attacking mainstream sources. You guys are like the security forces of regime that’s starting to wobble. Somehow you hope that by detaining an increasing number of dissidents, you can somehow prop up the regime. ..It won’t work..!!

        We know last week Trump gave away our satellite technology for all our enemies to see when he showed that picture of the Iranian site. That was dumb!

        Then there’s Trump’s appointment of Jared Kushner as Senior Advisor. No president in recent memory has appointed a son-in-law to such a position. And Kushner of all people whose business interests are as conflicted at Trump’s! Kushner couldn’t get clearance so Trump just disregarded clearance procedures.

        Therefore to blame The New York Times for ‘unfair coverage’ is just ham-fisted and intellectually lazy. But that’s where we are in the Trump era.

  5. Old, but not-fake news.

    The “Little Network That Could” from the Persian Gulf War days has become the “Bloated Network That Won’t” and that’s sad.

  6. Once again, CNN gets it wrong. It has been reduced to politicized hacks misusing their platform to bash Trump and Republicans.

    I remember the days when CNN had a good reputation for news. It’s too bad.

  7. “National security reporting has long been treated as the gold standard for networks.”

    I guess the Iraqi WMDs were fool’s gold.

  8. ” CNN is overwhelming its journalistic standards.” Ummmm…….what journalistic standards did you have in mind? They are still insisting that they got the collusion story right.

  9. Are we to believe that Professor Turley does NOT think that CNN is relentlessly anti-Trump?

  10. The CNN reported that the CIA pulled out a major Russian spy from Moscow because President Trump had “repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.”

    If you want to know what confirmation bias looks like, check out the reaction on this blog to this story. CNN reports the spy was pulled because…Trump. Horrible, terrible. He’s a disaster as president. He can’t be trusted to protect secrets, yada, yada, yada. And then the CIA and the NYT reports CNN’s story is false, that this took place in 2016. Now we get JT’s wrong, NYT is wrong, CIA is covering for Trump, NOAA, weather maps, yada, yada, yada.

    Put down the shovel already. Damn.

    1. Americans have been observing confirmation bias in the snewz since the 1980s. Trump is merely articulating what Americans have stated for decades which is why he will win a second term: we hate the liberal media

      1. I can see the allure of confirmation bias and why it has such a stranglehold on so many people. It’s as Biden said, we choose truth over facts. That’s endearing if you’re Shallow Hal looking at the inner beauty of a 300 pound woman. But the facts shatter your truth when you want to carry her across the threshold. Bernie Madoff was truth over fact, until the facts became known.

        I believe you are being kind when you say Trump is articulating this reality. For instance, I agree that the media has been a significant driver of bias for quite sometime, but if Americans have been aware of it, they certainly haven’t been doing much about it. What we’ve been experiencing with Trump is a nationwide version of organizational change management. He’s a bull in a china shop; not in the sense he shouldn’t be there, but rather right now this country needs to merge truth and fact. As uncomfortable as it is for those suffering from decades of media bias, if they stopped fighting the facts, they may get that aha moment where their suffering ends.

    2. ” what confirmation bias looks like”

      Yep. I understand CNN will be coming out with a story next week that will absolutely destroy Trump. We don’t know what that story is but for some people on this blog they are ready to call the story true and even have arguments to back themselves up.

      1. I understand CNN will be coming out with a story next week that will absolutely destroy Trump.

        It will be the truth, despite the facts.

  11. “If true, that would be a glaring contradiction for CNN and would reinforce criticism of the network as relentlessly anti-Trump.”

    No one doubts that CNN is a mouth-piece of gutter politics. No one. Jeff Zucker is a moral cripple who failed as a husband, failed as a father, failed as a friend (NB: Katie Couric), failed as a Jew, and excelled at creating a monster rapist like Matt Lauer.

    Defenders of CNN are defenders of all that he represents: failure as a human being

    The couple confirmed to Page Six that their marriage is over, with friends saying they “grew apart.” One source close to the couple told Page Six, “It can’t be easy being married to Jeff — he is a workaholic, and is obsessed with news, and obsessed with being the best. Caryn is much more laid back and social, spends a lot of time with their kids and enjoys being part of the Upper East Side social circuit. “They’ve had their problems over the years. Things have been bad for 10 years, but they have now accepted their marriage is over, and he has moved out of their apartment.”

    “After building “Today” at NBC with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, Jeff began a meteoric rise to the top of NBC Universal. He reunited with Couric on her failed daytime talk show at ABC, which destroyed their long friendship, and made his way over to CNN.”

  12. CNN is an extension of the DNC press office. This isn’t arguable. Now, the interesting question is why this fellow Zucker who runs CNN elected to make that the network’s business model, especially given what it’s costing them in eyeballs. The network had a satisfactory reputation across the board 30 years ago and it was only with the Eason Jordan affair 15 years ago that complaints about their conduct were all that vociferous.

    The problem may just be the culture. That is, the sort of people who are attracted to and retained by entertainment and media companies in our time are psychologically incapable of passably impersonal news reporting. Forty years ago, the problem you had with the media was mostly in the realm of framing and story selection and, while reporters and editors were generally liberal, it wasn’t hard to locate people who were politically nonaligned or even starboard (examples being Mike Wallace, Ted Koppel, John Stossel, Brit Hume, Morton Kondracke, and David Broder). You still find people who are just reporters (e.g. Keith Morrison), but they’re not on a public affairs beat.

    1. TIA,
      The issue dovetails with your aggravation with universities. About 15 years ago, I attended an awards ceremony for college journalism students. At this ceremony, one of the professors kept dropping the f-bomb while addressing the families of awardees.

      On top of that, one journalism student I talked to (yes, I know, small sample size) declared that they chose journalism so they could ‘change the world’. Reporting news impartially and accurately was not an emphasis in that conversation.

  13. An NBC reporter got the name & address of a CIA spy. So did the US postal service.

    And then there were 3 days of condor…. Who is the NBC reporter’s name & home address?

  14. Funny that JT uses the NYTs reporting to call CNN “relentlessly anti-Trump”. I thought the NYTs was relentlessly anti-Trump?

    Perhaps JT might consider that CNN might be right or might have made a mistake, but that making stuff like this up because they are “relentlessly anti-Trump” is a losing strategy and highly unlikely. Wait and see what happens, from verification, clarification, or retraction.

  15. The CIA issues a flat denial of the CNN reporting that makes Trump look bad. Substitute NOAA for CIA and we see now why it matters when the government has shown itself willing to lie to protect the image of the CIA. In this same story, we are to believe Putin’s version the spy really didn’t have access to him after all.
    Unlike the Lawrence O’Donnell reporting on Trump loans being co-signed by Oligarchs which he put out with a single unnamed source violating journalistic standards (though it still might be true). The Cia story had multiple sources and appears to be fair game. The question is, why should we believe Gina Haspel? Assuming she put her name to this statement unlike the anonymous statement released by NOAA the other day claiming the weather wasn’t the weather. When government officials take turns lying on behalf of Trump at Cabinet Meetings, why should we believe then in any other circumstance?

    1. If you do some REAL reading you will see there were stories about this “spy” way before Trump even came into the picture. The NYT was writing about this guy years ago. And NOW, it’s Trump’s fault some idiot reporter went to the guys door? How did they get his address? Did Trump tell them?
      Media knew who this guy was for years and kept it under wraps (as I believe they should) until Trump. So this story is bogus BS And only people with TDS will think it is Trump’s fault.

      1. There are people in the Trump administration telling this story, they believe, with good reason, that Trump willy nilly releases national security secrets. (Seen any pictures of Iranian blast sites recently)?
        My point was that you can no longr believe anyone that works for Trump because they do what they’re told to defend his image. Much like yurself. It must be hard to learn each day what new position to take you’ve never held before because Trump tweeted about it in a certain way.

        1. It must be exhausting enigma and payback will be worse. An entire party and high ranked individuals of some accomplishment have squandered their integrity on a man with none.

          1. oh the poor souls working short days on federal pay, pensions, health care and long long vacations

            1. Kurtz, unless you suck, you make more than AUSAs and Fed PD’s. Surely you know that, and AUSA positions are pretty competitive and hard to get.

              1. PS My AUSA contact spends many nights and weekends at the office – that’s often where I reach him – and he’s on salary.

                1. I’m just another overweight old white goy with a small savings, small fry professional job, bad habits, and a useless liberal university education, typing away compulsively for an hour every day under a fake name on a blog for no good reason, spitting the hate-soaked pearls out before my fellow swine in cyberspace

                  but it’s the year of the pig so why not?

              2. oh, ok well shame on me, I meant employees. CJA Panel Members are contractors. Surely you know that. Yeah a lot them work hard

                AUSAs are hard workers too. even the article III unelected lifetime tenure judges I like to complain about are generally very hard workers too. I am sure a lot of appointee positions are hard workers too, believe it or not. All them, I don’t include in the general dungheap of the federal civil service corps with their short workdays, their fat pensions, their awesome health care, and their looooooong vacations

              3. ha ha i missed that “unless you suck” comment. feel free to assume “I suck” if you like.

                i’ll not take the bait and engage in self lauding behavior. I told you already, I am just a nobody out here in flyover.

                  1. you consistently fail to deliver any additional content to this blog. why do you bother checking in?

                    oh i forgot–

                    “why not”

                    1. Mr Kurtz – you consistently fail to deliver any content to this blog. why do you bother checking in?
                      oh i forgot–

        2. Please! You guys were all believing of the Obama administration with every word they said!
          Remember Obama admitting in his 60 Minutes interview he knew about Hillary’s secret email?
          He had already lied about it and said he knew nothing! Remember when Ben Rhodes said it was easy to lie to 27 year old national security reporters as the OBAMA administration lied about negotiations with Iran? Remember Eric Holder lying to Congress about spying on reporters and Fast & Furious? Remember another Obama bigwig, HRC lying about her server, her emails and destroying evidence they were told to keep?

      2. True. Ask Enigma about his visits to black neighborhoods to tutor fatherless kids, canvasing black housing projects to mentor black teenage boys and girls, his efforts to organize people to lend a hand to the violence, drug trafficking and collapse of black families in these black residential communities, or his experience in assisting black single mothers to care for their families. He responds with insults to anyone who questions his efforts.

        1. He responds with insults to anyone who questions his efforts.

          I’ve never seen him do that.

          In fairness to Enigma, it’s rather de trop to ask him to go knocking about trying to restructure someone else’s family life. Just assisting your own cousins in this way can be taxing enough (and likely to fail).

          Enigma’s commentary is notable for it’s focus on things that provide a certain emotional validation rather than on actual problems. However, the most salient problems you find in black populations tend to fall into three categories:

          1. The intractable. Conceivably addressed by charitable efforts, with an understanding that ministry and social work usually fail. As in about 85% of the time.

          2. Tractable, but properly addressed by local government (or, on occasion, state government).

          3. Tractable, not much different in degree or kind than you see elsewhere, and properly addressed by the central government.

        2. You both are being unkind and unfair. I agree with TIA. That is not how Enigma engages in conversation.

          And, yes, you cannot fix anyone else’s problems. You can provide information to help, but the solutions are on them.

          I am sure Enigma helps in whatever way he personally can.

      3. Disagree with Enigma on the merits of an argument, but racist comments are disgusting. Ad hominem are for those who cannot discuss facts.

        Blackface minstrel shows are unmistakably racist. The goal is to mock black people, using clownish behavior to amuse a white audience.

        However, this at least illustrates the critical definition of blackface – insult and mockery. I do not believe that a white person who dresses up like a black person they admire, darkening their skin to look like them, is in blackface. Kids wearing Black Panther costumes of their hero are not in blackface. Movie stars dressing up like Dianna Ross or wearing afro wigs are not in blackface. They are trying to look like someone they greatly admire for an event like Halloween. The intention and effect are totally different.

        I do not think these two very different makeup special effects should be equated.

        1. Blackface minstrel shows are unmistakably racist. The goal is to mock black people, using clownish behavior to amuse a white audience.

          1. When was the last time you saw one, Karen?

          2. How is ‘mocking black people’ the identified purpose of this Eddie Cantor routine?

          3. Why should blacks qua blacks be free from mocking? Can you give us a list of who else comedians can’t touch? Would you consider annotating it?

          4. Try growing a sense of humor.

          1. Blackface makeup puts a big, white circle around the mouth as a caricature of black people. The hair is usually messy and unkempt.

            There are two different minstrel blackface characters. One, where Eddie Cantor spoke and acted normally in blackface, and the other, when the blackface actor behaves like an idiot with pigeon language to spook blacks.

            It makes fun of how black people look.

            By comparison, comics like Chris Rock make fun of everyone – white, black, or whatever. They use stereotypes in their acts, and they’re funny. Carol Burnett used all sorts of stereotypes in her show, and was hilarious. So did Richard Pryer, and Steve Martin. His bit about how he couldn’t dance to black music, but white music brought out his inner Fred Astaire was wonderful. Totally non PC, and I love their humor. The type of humor I hate is mean spirited and cruel, like Kathy Griffin. The only sort of cruel humor I enjoy is a review of a movie that the film critic loathed, and that’s about the work itself.

            At a time when blacks were considered subhuman, denied education, and were considered dirty, minstrel show blackface isn’t funny. It tries to make them look stupid because they’re black. Just because it was common back then, doesn’t mean it’s cool now. Lots of things that were normal 100 years ago, like separate colored bathrooms, don’t fly today.

            When I was a kid, everyone told Pollack jokes. I had no idea, then or now, why Polish people’s intelligence was the butt of jokes across the playground. I wouldn’t joke like that now.

            1. At a time when blacks were considered subhuman, denied education, and were considered dirty, minstrel show blackface isn’t funny.

              1. Karen, you’d have to go back four generations or more to locate a time when blacks were ‘denied education’. Rather before Eddie Cantor’s time.

              2. You didn’t answer my questions.

              3. Why do I have the impression that ‘funny’ is a concept foreign to you?

            2. Gabriel Iglesias’ Gift Basket prank on his black friend, when he tried to convince him the Fresno major was in the KKK going after him, was another example of deliberately being non PC, but still funny.

              Comics aren’t polite. Gabriel Iglesias’ bit did not send the message that his buddy was sub human.

              A comic dressing up black that was done well was Danny Aykroyd pretending to be an African foreign exchange student on the train. Went full reggae but totally funny and wasn’t racist.

        2. Ulys,
          You are free to disagree with Karen, but knock off the insults. Why should she consider what you have to say when you were rude to her?

      4. If you fancy Enigma’s a fraud, there’s a retired real estate agent in Orlando you need to contact to tell him there’s some guy who has appropriated his identity in order to write online articles and blog commentary. He sometimes links to his occasional journalism (all under his ordinary name) and makes offhand biographical references which check-out.

      5. I have no reason to disbelieve enigma that he is black. For my part I am a old white guy, I could care less if he tutors younsters or not. The only youngsters I ever tutored were my own. And I don’t even care if what he says is “Racist” and in the meantime I don’t care if what I say is racist either.

        Let’s have a civil discussion and take each other as we find.

        1. The irony is that there are several regulars here who’ve almost certainly invented fictitious backstories, including two faux lawyers. Enigma never hits any tripwires.

    2. Enigma – this happened before Trump took office. The NYT and the CIA both explained this. You can go find the stories yourself, from before Trump took office.

      1. Karen S – There were discussions of pulling the operative out before Trump took office and the operative resisted, thinking he could still do moe good. He is reportedly the sourcebthat Putin personally approved the operations to interfere in US elections, plus Trump campaign officials including Flynn were already suspected of being in cahoots with Russians. Then when Trump stated spilling state secrets to Russians in the Oval Office, the danger to the man’s life was clear.

        1. Wow! Impressive re-write, Enigma. Your talents are wasted here. Get yourself out to Hollywood – they need your screenplay skills!!

    3. CIA are the only agency which is actually purposed and tasked to LIE habitually. Anything they say is dubious. No doubt they tell the truth a lot, to keep people guessing.

      Gina’s fame comes less from lying than, well, destroying evidence

      How does the CIA treat its own? Let’s see, read John Kiriakou’s book and find out

  16. KGB! CNN!
    B eye bicki eye By O bee!
    Bicki eye bicki O boo boo!

    CNN is on the low ring of the totem pole. The low ring is below ground level. Their continued ranting about Trump’s outward circle on the hurricane map is one of the worst pieces of apCray that I have seen or heard. Maybe Trump was not predicting that the hurricane would go west. Maybe he was talking to someone who had predicted that and Trump scribbled the curve and said: What if? Well, we will have to put some aid workers down there and some electric repair people.
    The KGB actually likes to use CNN.

    1. Liberty2nd

      The KGB was dissolved 28 years ago. Didn’t FAUX News tell you that?

      1. Meanwhile, your ability to comprehend sarcasm or hyperbole never established itself in the first place.

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