Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper allegedly leaked information to CNN in early last year regarding the classified briefing given to then President-Elect Donald Trump and President Barrack Obama on the salacious dossier and its contents claiming the Russians had compromising information on the president-elect, according to government sources, who noted the evidence of the leak was collected during the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.
Clapper, who was one of four senior Obama administration officials to attend the briefing with the presidents, also stated his “profound dismay at the leaks” in an official statement issued in January, 2017 and warned that the leaks were “extremely corrosive and damaging” to national security, according to the press release.
But according to government sources Clapper had spoken to CNN at roughly the same time Jake Tapper broke the first story regarding the briefings conducted by senior intelligence officials with Trump and Obama on the dossier. Tapper’s story, which published in January 2017, created a snowball effect of allegations in the media that Trump’s campaign had allegedly colluded with the Russians in the 2016 election and that Russia had compromising material on Trump, sources with knowledge of the investigation concluded.
It was when CNN published the first report that Trump and Obama had been briefed the dossier’s findings that other news agencies began to report on it. The committee found evidence that Clapper, who is now a contributor at CNN, contacted CNN shortly before the story was published by Tapper, Evan Perez, and Jim Sciutto. The story detailed the briefings given to Trump by the senior officials on the contents of the dossier and “gave the dossier legs and news agencies began to publish its contents because it had now become official news,” one congressional source told this reporter. Shortly after CNN published the report, Buzzfeed made the decision to post the entire 35-page dossier and referenced the CNN report in its decision to publish it, according to the website.
On Jan. 11, Clapper issued a press release stating that the leaks in the media regarding the briefing on the dossier were “extremely corrosive and damaging to national security.”
“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,” he stated. “We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it. 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.”
“The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions,” Clapper stated. “However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.”