While the media fulminates over supposed connections between the Trump Team and the Russian government, the only scandal of which we have real evidence – members of the Obama intelligence community leaking classified information about American citizens – continues apace.
And the media don’t seem to care.
Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Obama said on March 2 on MSNBC that she was telling members of the intelligence community as well as Democrats in Congress to gather as much information as possible on the Trump transition team.
I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration. Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy … that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence….So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.
In other words, there’s a hint here that Team Trump may have been targeted by Obama intelligence officials specifically; there’s definitive testimony here that the Obama team tried to distribute material on Team Trump as widely as possible, likely leading to the outing of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador and then his firing.
This squares with reporting from The New York Times the day before Farkas’ appearance that, “In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.”
It’s not illegal for intelligence officials to do that. It is illegal for intelligence officials to unmask American citizens needlessly, or to disseminate such information to the press. Yet somehow The Washington Post’s David Ignatius ended up with such information in January prior to Trump’s inauguration, quoting a “senior US government official” who said “Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on December 29…” How did he get that information?
Trump has always been right about the danger of intelligence community leaks. He’s slathered that real scandal in the evidence-less stupidity that he was personally wiretapped at Barack Obama’s behest. But just because Trump’s twitter feed is filled with gossipy silliness doesn’t mean that the media have a right to ignore the burning scandal of intelligence coordination to damage the Trump White House.