Jim Acosta, a CNN White House correspondent, may be putting his foot in his mouth, after claiming incorrectly that Trump’s reference to a story that was finally debunked via New York Times and AP corrections was “fake news.” Acosta went as far as to refer to the press meeting in Poland as a “fake news conference.” During the Thursday news conference with Polish president Andrzej Duda, Trump responded to a query from NBC News‘ Hallie Jackson about the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I heard it was 17 agencies. I said, ‘Boy, that’s a lot. Do we even have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let’s check it.’ And we did some very heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn’t 17. And many of your compatriots had to change their reporting or they had to apologize or they had to correct.”
The Associated Press, New York Times, L.A. Times, CNN, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC News, and USA Today were just a few major news outlets to repeat the “17 intelligence agencies narrative,” even after it had been debunked by James Clapper. Just weeks after the first retracted AP story, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before congress on which agencies were involved.
“As you know, the [assessment] was a coordinated product from three agencies: CIA, NSA and the FBI — not all 17 components of the intelligence community.”
Acosta also claimed that President Trump’s assertion that Obama didn’t do enough to deter any possible Russian meddling in the election was patently fake, despite former CIA director Michael Morell’s admission to CBS This Morning.
“What struck me…is that the U.S. government was concerned enough last summer about Russian interference in the election that they had the CIA director make contact with his Russian counterpart and tell them to stop. So my question is what did the Obama administration do after that, after they learned that the warning had fallen on deaf ears.
“It appears they did nothing.”
This sentiment seems to be echoed by Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee Vice Chair.
“I think the Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin,” Schiff said.
The retraction from the New York Times read as follows.
“A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”
The Associated Press also issued a retraction a day later regarding four stories released between April 29 and June 29.
“That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies – the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency – and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment.”
According to Erik Wemple at the Washington Post, neither the New York Times, nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have commented since. The New York Times still claims that Trump’s statement “while technically accurate, is misleading,” while admitting he was correct about inaccurate stories regarding “17 intelligence agencies” that were widely reported.
In a similar manner, CNN blasted the president in regards to these statements, while eventually conceding that he had been correct in denying the veracity of the involvement of 17 intelligence agencies, but denying that Trump is incorrect in regards to claims that Obama did not do enough to combat the alleged potential meddling.
[Featured Image by Cliff Owen/AP Images]