Two days after BuzzFeed published an explosive dossier of unverified claims regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s associations with the Russian government, the top intelligence official in the United States condemned the report and expressed his regret that it had been made available to the public.
On Thursday, Trump said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had spoken to him about the report.
“James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated,” Trump wrote. “Made up, phony facts. Too bad!”
Clapper himself verified that he’d spoken with the president-elect in a statement.
“I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security,” Clapper said.
BuzzFeed has now been denounced by the president-elect, the current administration, and most major news organizations for their irresponsible decision to publish the documents. Of course, that does little good after the fact. Now we have the next President of the United States wasting valuable time with reporters to deny absurd accusations of a most vile variety. Half the people that read BuzzFeed’s report probably think it’s all true. And if even they’re told it isn’t, it will stick in their minds.
And that’s exactly why this report exists in the first place. Put together by Trump’s political enemies, it is – by all known accounts – complete fiction. But when allegations are as explosive and “viral” as these, it barely matters whether or not they’re true. Their power is in their propaganda. Less power now, perhaps, than before the election, but still powerful enough.
In his statement, Clapper went out of his way to distance U.S. intelligence agencies from the data published on BuzzFeed.
“I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC,” he said. “The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we do not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”
Ultimately, if even a single sentence of the dossier turns out to be true, we’ll know it soon enough. In the meantime, we encourage all Trump-hating liberals to hold their breath.