Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was the source of a major leak to CNN, and he lied about it to Congress, President Donald Trump, and the public, according to a report by the House intelligence committee released on April 27.
The leak to CNN resulted in the publication of the infamous dossier on Trump, which, in turn, became the foundation of the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. The committee concluded, after a yearlong investigation, that no collusion occurred.
CNN used Clapper’s leak as the source for an article published on Jan. 10, 2017, that disclosed that Trump and President Barack Obama had been briefed on the details of the dossier assembled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.
Prior to Clapper’s leak, the dossier had circulated among government officials and journalists but was not published, as the claims within could not be verified. Clapper’s leak about the briefing gave CNN the news hook it needed to report on the dossier. Hours after CNN’s story, BuzzFeed published the entire dossier.
When the House intelligence committee initially questioned Clapper about the leak, he denied “discuss[ing] the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.” But in subsequent testimony, Clapper admitted to discussing the dossier with CNN reporter Jake Tapper and that “he might have spoken to other journalists about the topic,” according to the report.
“The Committee assesses that leaks to CNN about the dossier were especially significant, since CNN’s report that ‘a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump’ was the proximate cause of BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish the dossier for the first time,” the report states.
The day after the CNN article was published, Clapper issued a statement about his call with Trump in which he “expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press” and “emphasized … that I do not believe the leaks came from within the [Intelligence Community].”
As director of national intelligence, Clapper was the head of the Intelligence Community.
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid opposition-research firm Fusion GPS through a law firm to compile the dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele, who in turn used second- and thirdhand sources close to the Kremlin for the material. Fusion GPS also received money from Russia while Steele worked on the dossier.
That dossier was then used by the FBI as the core of a warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Trump-campaign volunteer Carter Page.
Four of the top Obama administration officials involved in signing off on the warrant application were referred for criminal investigation by 11 congressmen on April 18. Former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente are facing charges related to investigative misconduct and to depriving Page of his rights.
After Clapper’s testimony to the House intelligence committee, he joined CNN as a national security analyst, in August.
Recommended Video: President Trump’s Weekly Address on April 27, 2018