The latest media freakout over the death of Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi is because Trump failed to disclose information about the raid to the House Intelligence Committee beforehand. Trump alleges the reason he did not inform the committee about the raid is due to his mistrust of the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He called Washington a “leaking machine.”
President Trump is right to worry about leaks. Back in 2017, Gen. Tony Thomas made this very point at the Aspen Security Conference, where he discussed how a prior lead on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi “went dead” following a media leak.
“That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Thomas explained. “The challenge we have [is] in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly. There’s a great need to inform the American public about what we’re up to. There’s also great need to recognize things that will absolutely undercut our ability to do our job.”
Admittedly, Trump’s labeling of Washington as a “leaking machine” is a revealing and disappointing statement on the federal government, but the blame for this situation does not lie with Trump, and it would require cognitive dissonance of the highest order for the media to blame the president for his recalcitrance to share information with a congressional committee headed by Schiff. Schiff has proven to be a bad faith actor who routinely compromises his integrity in pursuit of partisan gains.
For military operations, it is good habit to inform leaders of Congress about what is occurring, but it’s not legally required, as might be had this been a covert intelligence operation. Given Schiff’s behavior, perhaps Trump’s call not to inform him was a judicious one.
Schiff has spent the vast majority of Trump’s presidency peddling unfounded (and debunked) conspiracy theories and “leaking” false information to countless media outlets in the hopes of forwarding the Democratic #Resistance narrative. So it is entirely unsurprising that Trump would experience some trepidation about sharing highly sensitive information with Schiff.
Just Remember What Schiff Did With the Ukraine Call
Schiff’s behavior directly preceding the Trump impeachment inquiry has been salacious, at best. Schiff lied about the nature of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by fabricating details that did not actually transpire, including sharing that President Trump had requested Zelensky generate incriminating evidence against former Vice President Joe Biden.
As we all could ascertain from the transcript, this request never took place. When confronted about his lies, Schiff dismissed the critiques, simply claiming the story was his “parody” of an extremely contentious event. After being attacked for such unseriousness, Schiff then tweeted two days later that the anonymous whistleblower had “confirmed” these allegations, although no such allegations appear in the whistleblower’s nine-page complaint. These circus-like maneuvers are the not the machinations of a serious individual, and anyone who attempts to market them as such is deluding himself.
In addition to falsifying information about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, Schiff also claimed that no prior communication had taken place with the whistleblower prior to the formal complaint’s filing. That, too, proved to be a lie, as reported by The New York Times.
Schiff’s dishonest maneuvers in the Trump-Ukraine matter are just the latest in a series of mendacious activities that seriously call his credibility into question, enough to justify Trump’s hesitance to share sensitive national security information with the arguably disreputable congressman.
There’s a Lot More in Schiff’s Record of Unreliability
A few weeks ago, the Washington Times published a helpful list detailing some of Schiff’s legitimately sketchy, for lack of a better word, behavior. During the Trump-Russia investigation, Schiff used the now-disgraced Steele dossier to buttress his line of questioning when interrogating FBI Director James Comey in a March 2017 hearing. He granted legitimacy to a document that should never have been granted legitimacy, and by doing so, engaged in the very act he accused the Trump campaign of—gratifying foreign interference in our elections.
Even when Schiff had the opportunity to “make good” on his reliance on the Steele dossier, he refused the opportunity. In early 2018, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., then chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, published a memo alleging that the FBI had possibly used biased sources, like the Steele dossier, when it obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In a “countermemo” published in response, Schiff alleged that the supposed “evidence” from the Steele dossier could not have been used to garner approval for a year’s worth of wiretaps on Page since Bruce Ohr from the Justice Department did not approach the FBI with information from the infamous dossier until November 2016. The wiretap was application was finalized in October. This, too, was false. Ohr had been forwarding information from the dossier to the FBI’s Andrew McCabe all the way back in the summer of 2016.
Schiff’s “countermemo” also alleged that Nunes had made a “midnight run” to gather documents from the White House that would show conspiratorial aims from the Obama administration. This, too, was false. Nunes appeared on-air with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to set the record straight about his trip to the White House, which occurred in the middle of the day and involved a visit with a national security staffer.
Prior to the release of Nunes’ memo, Schiff alleged that the push from the public to see the memo was the result of a Russia bot operation, not genuine interest from Americans to understand how corrupt Democrat leadership had become. This, too, was false. Twitter conducted an in-house analysis, determining that the source of the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag was mostly Americans.
Schiff Is Not Just a Liar, But a Leaky Liar
Schiff routinely capitalizes on the fact that the mainstream media is largely in the left’s pocket and will unquestioningly publish what helps the Democrats. But beyond Schiff’s blatantly dishonest tactics, he likely has a penchant for leaking information to the press, sometimes inaccurate, to advance the Democrats’ narrative.
Hearken back to March 2017, when the media breathlessly published during Donald Trump Jr.’s House Intelligence Committee hearing that the president’s son had received a decryption key from WikiLeaks to access hacked Democratic National Committee emails, legitimizing Democrats’ claims of collusion. Yet the timestamp on the email had been doctored to an earlier date to imply collusion, when in fact it had been sent well after WikiLeaks had begun dumping DNC emails in public. It was merely an email from an unknown sender inviting the recipient to inspect what WikiLeaks had already uploaded onto the internet.
Given that the House Intelligence Committee were the ones with access to Trump Jr.’s emails, it’s highly probable that someone within the committee “leaked” the email to various sources within the media. It’s also why many Republicans suspect Schiff, chairman of the committee, to be the leaker.
All Republicans on Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence wasted no time in calling for Schiff’s resignation in March after the Mueller report found no evidence of the collusion Schiff had been dangerously peddling for the past two years on every major news network in a desperate attempt to maintain relevancy. An excerpt from the committee’s letter elucidated:
Your repeated public statements, which implied knowledge of classified facts supporting the collusion allegations, occurred at the same time anonymous leaks of alleged intelligence and law enforcement information were appearing in the media. These leaks, often sourced to current or former Administration or intelligence officials, appeared to support the collusion allegations and were purported to be related to ongoing investigations of President Trump and his associates.
Fast-forward to the latest Trump-Ukraine affair. Schiff mysteriously announced in a press release an investigation into Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, two days before supposedly receiving the whistleblower’s complaint, suggesting that he possibly was using insider information when calling for copies of the transcripts from the phone call. Schiff’s representative did not comment when asked to explain this absurd coincidence. All this proves it’s definitely worth questioning Schiff’s capacity to handle sensitive information without leaping on it for partisan gain.
The House was recently given an opportunity to chastise Schiff for this pattern of reckless behavior, and chose not to. That left Trump with denying him the opportunity to leak this raid before it happened like he’d done so many times before. Whether we like it or not, choices have consequences. One of those consequences is a breakdown of trust between the House and the executive branch, one that we hold dear and one that House Democrats have seemingly sacrificed on the sacred altar of the Resistance.
If Democrats in the House are so concerned with the sharing of information between the executive branch and the House, perhaps when one of their members engages in inexcusable and unethical behavior, they should reprimand that individual, not celebrate him as some heroic figure worthy of emulation. It only suggests tacit support of the very behavior that every government official, right or left, should be condemning.