Washington Post Columnist Fails To Correct The Record Regarding Previously Alleged Investigation Into Former Trump Official
Kash Patel, a former chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, speaks during a campaign event for Republican election candidates at the Whiskey Roads Restaurant & Bar on July 31, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Last year, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote what he called a “profile” of former Trump administration official Kash Patel, making the explosive claim that Patel was under investigation for mishandling classified information.

In a column published late last week, however, that claim has disappeared at the time of this writing, even though the column is about alleged classified information being found at former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. Even more curious, emails provided to The Daily Wire show Ignatius asked Patel and his spokesperson about this claim but didn’t include their denial that any investigation ever existed.

“I noted in my April 2021 piece that Mr. Patel was ‘facing an investigation for possible improper disclosure of classified information’ because of a referral made last year by an intelligence agency. If that investigation has concluded without any finding of wrongdoing, I should say so. I have requested that info from the government but if you can confirm it, I’ll use that,” Ignatius wrote to Patel’s spokeswoman the day before the column ran.

The spokeswoman responded: “There has never been an investigation to begin with, so this and all follow up stories are inaccurate.”

Ignatius asked the spokeswoman which investigation she was referring to (the columnist also mentioned Patel’s investigation into Russiagate). The spokeswoman quoted Ignatius’ question about the investigation into Patel and again stated: “This did not conclude because it never existed.”

Yet, no mention of the alleged investigation into Patel or the spokeswoman’s statement made it into Ignatius’ August 19 column.

Ignatius could not be reached for comment.

Ignatius’ claim in his April 16, 2021, column about the alleged investigation into Patel came from “two knowledgeable sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe,” adding that “the investigation resulted from a complaint made this year by an intelligence agency, but wouldn’t provide additional details.”

The anonymous sources angle follows a common tactic used by the media when writing about Trump and people who worked for him. First, the claim is reported from the angle that someone said there is an investigation, thereby keeping the media outlet from making a potentially libelous claim itself. Second, the sources are vague and not noted as having a direct connection to the alleged investigation. In this case, they are merely “knowledgeable sources.”

“It’s a disinformation campaign,” Patel told The Daily Wire.

Ignatius also suggested by asking a hypothetical in his 2021 column that Patel — who at the end of the Trump presidency was the chief of staff for Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller — may have been installed in that position “to gain control of the nation’s intelligence and military command centers as part of Trump’s effort to retain the presidency, despite his loss in the November 2020 election.”

Ignatius did include part of Patel’s spokeswoman’s response in his column, which said he was “acting as an unthinking, loyal mouthpiece for deep-state goons and the Democratic Party.”

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