Timeline of the FBI Informant Unmasking

The News Blender published an article earlier today discussing the seriousness of the accusations by President Trump that there was an FBI spy who infiltrated his campaign and of GOP Representative Devin Nunes demand that the Department of Justice turn over sensitive documents that would, according to the FBI and the DOJ, put lives at risk by revealing the name of the FBI source to the House Intelligence Committee.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have both published a description of the source while refraining from publishing his name, citing a policy to not reveal the names of intelligence sources. The News Blender will be following that same policy.

Much of right wing media, however, has not been so circumspect in their reporting.

Lawfare has laid out a case that the disclosure of the identity of the FBI source in question can be laid at the feet of GOP Representative Devin Nunes and the President of the United States and various members of the right wing media. The timeline of how that has happened is striking and explains how we got to where we are today, with the President of the United States tweeting this:

On March 25, The Daily Caller published an piece by Chuck Ross in which he gives the name of the source, a professor in London, who contacted George Papadopoulos requesting a meeting. Ross claims that the source also met with Carter Page and another campaign official. In the piece, The Daily Caller does not accuse the professor of being an FBI informant but they strongly suggest it.

On April 24, in a letter to the Department of Justice, Rep. Devin Nunes, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, demanded information about “the professor”.

By the week of May 1, Nunes issued a subpoena for information about the source. He was cautioned that such a request could have dangerous consequences.

On May 2, members of the intelligence community reached out to the White House and persuaded the President to not disclose information about the FBI source. The FBI and the intelligence community remained concerned that the President could support Nunes request if he realized the source had helped Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

On May 10, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI agents and officials from the Office of Director of National Intelligence briefed Representatives Nunes and Gowdy, informing them that the Department of Justice could not provide information on the FBI source. The situation seem to be diffused until Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel published an article that day in which she speculated about the identity of the informant. That article escalated the situation. Right wing, Pro Trump blogs ran with the speculation and called the informant a “mole” implanted into the Trump campaign by Obama.

On May 12, on Lou Dobb’s show on Fox News, Gregg Jarrett theorized about the “mole”, but did not give a name.

On May 16, the New York Times published a story about the Russia Investigation in which the FBI source was referred to and the right wing media was further escalated.

On May 17, the one year anniversary of Robert Mueller being appointed as special counsel in the Russia investigation, Laura Ingraham says the name of the FBI informant on air. The Daily Caller published another story about the professor, with an interview with Carter Page. Breitbart and Big League Politics picked up the story and ran with it.

On May 18, 19, and 20, the President of the United States, chose not to follow the advice of his Department of Justice and instruct members of his own party to stand down in their quest to unmask an FBI informant and instead tweeted about it.

The mainstream media has attempted to be circumspect and not name the source. They have published descriptions of the sources, which is as good as naming names, while refraining from actually naming the source. When the President of the United States has a tweet storm about the informant it becomes news that cannot be ignored.  So the unmasking of a long time intelligence source moves from right wing blogs and pro Trump media to the President’s Twitter account and then to the mainstream press.

 

Why It Matters

Whether The Daily Caller was correct in their unmasking of the informant or not is immaterial. What is material is that members of the Republican party have intentionally set out to unmask an intelligence source.

The Republican party, led by their President, and the right wing media have knowingly pushed this story to the point where a long time intelligence source has been unmasked in the media – putting his life and the lives of his loved ones in jeopardy and imperiling other informants. The intelligence community depends on human intelligence to keep Americans safe. Informants must be able to depend on the intelligence community to protect them from harm from the bad guys they are informing on. The GOP, some members of it at least, aiding and abetting the intentional unmasking of an intelligence source is worse than unwise. It very well could be criminal.

How does the intelligence community maintain its credibility when the President of the United States undermines them at every turn? And he does so to hamper an investigation into his campaign’s connections with Russia, which were plentiful and obvious to anyone paying attention.

The Republican party used to stand for respect for the rule of law. Apparently it no longer does. Americans are less safe because of the path the GOP is taking. As FBI Director Wray said on Wednesday, “The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe. Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we’re going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families.”

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About Beth 2161 Articles
*Principle above party * Politically Homeless * Ex GOP * Tribalism is stupid* NeverTrump ≠ Pro Hillary. Anti-GOP ≠ Pro Dem. Disagreeing with you ≠ Liberal.