Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump is usually a fan of Fox News, but his opinion may now be changing. Fox News has been caught misrepresenting its own interview with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on the subject of alleged wiretapping of President Trump, in order to make Trump look bad. The cable channel also threw one of its own commentators, Judge Andrew Napolitano, under the bus for highlighting a possible British role in gathering intelligence on Trump and his associates.

After having Nunes on the network’s “Fox News Sunday” show, Fox News claimed that he said “that phones at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in midtown Manhattan were never tapped during last year’s election campaign, contrary to Trump’s earlier, unsubstantiated assertion.”

But if you listen to the video clip or read the transcript, that is not what Nunes really said.

Nunes actually said, “…the President doesn’t go and physically wiretap something. So if you take the President literally, it didn’t happen.” But Trump has referred to “wiretap” in quotes, to refer to surveillance. Nunes went on, “I think the concern that we have is that are—were there any other surveillance activities that were used unmasking the names” (emphasis added).

Unmasking refers to acquiring the name of a U.S. citizen in a surveillance report, even though that citizen’s personal privacy is supposed to be protected under U.S. law because he/she was not the target of the surveillance that captured the conversation. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday, “Before President Obama left office, Michael Flynn was unmasked and then illegally his identity was leaked out to media outlets, despite the fact that, as NSA Director [Mike] Rogers said, that unmasking and revealing individuals endangers ‘national security.’ Not only was General Flynn’s identity made available, Director [James] Comey refused to answer the question of whether or not he’d actually briefed President Obama on his phone calls and activities.”

Nunes explained, “…the one crime we know that’s been committed is that one, the leaking of someone’s name through the FISA system. That is—that is a crime that’s been committed.”

At Monday’s hearing, Nunes repeated in his prepared opening statement, “…it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

The media highlighted FBI Director James B. Comey’s statement at Monday’s hearing that the FBI and the Justice Department had “no information that supports” President Trump’s tweets about wiretapping.

But where could these “other surveillance activities” have originated? We know that a former British intelligence agent was involved in gathering “intelligence” against Trump in the form of the fake “Trump Dossier,” and was paid by donors associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Parts of that “dossier” were passed on to Trump by the U.S. intelligence community.

As we note in our special report, “A Watergate-style Threat to the Democratic Process,” it is well-known that the British NSA, known as GCHQ or Government Communications Headquarters, collaborates with the NSA. In fact, a declassified document on the NSA’s own website confirms NSA/GCHQ “collaboration” dating back decades. Fox News senior judicial analyst and commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano said his sources confirm there was such an arrangement in the matter of the “wiretapping” of Trump and/or his associates.

Fox News immediately threw Napolitano under the bus. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said on-air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way.”

The phrase, “knows of no evidence,” does not suggest any independent investigation of his information.

One of Napolitano’s sources, former CIA operative Larry Johnson, came forward to say, “I reached out to friends in the intel community and asked them about the possibility that a back channel was used to get the Brits to collect on Trump associates. My sources said, ‘absolutely.’ I later confirmed this via a cutout with a person who is a Senior Intelligence Service executive in the CIA.”

In the face of this evidence of collaboration, NSA Director Mike Rogers tried to insist at Monday’s hearing that the NSA never asked the British to conduct surveillance of Trump. So why did the intelligence community accept and circulate the Trump dossier?

In a letter to Comey, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) noted that not only was the former British intelligence agent Christoper Steele “creating these memos as part of work for an opposition research firm connected to Hillary Clinton,” but that The Washington Post had reported that the FBI had reached an agreement a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election “to pay the author of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and the Russians, Christopher Steele, to continue investigating Mr. Trump” (emphasis added).

Grassley said, “The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends.”

At the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) was still quoting from the discredited Trump dossier.

Although Comey confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged relationship with Russian officials continues, there was no firm commitment to get to the bottom of the source (or sources) of the leaks to the media that are designed to damage the Trump administration.

Nunes said his committee wanted to pursue the matter, saying, “Numerous current and former officials have leaked purportedly classified information in connection to these questions. We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice.”

As we argued in our column, “Investigate and Prosecute the Press,” there is a procedure to get to the bottom of at least one of these leaks. That is, to subpoena Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, the recipient of the illegal leak of the classified information naming or “unmasking” Michael T. Flynn.

Here’s what Ignatius, a known mouthpiece for the CIA, reported on January 12: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”

Subsequently, the Post revealed that, in regard to the Flynn matter, “Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

All of this leaking is illegal, a violation of the Espionage Act. It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, has a financial relationship with the CIA and the NSA through the provision of computer cloud capabilities.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Nunes said that “still remaining out there is the unmasking of names and the leaking of names…we have a lot of surveillance activities in this country and I think the concern that the Trump administration has is, you know, were they actually using surveillance activities to know what they were up to, because we know that that happened with General Flynn. We know that his name was unmasked and we know that it was leaked out to the press.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was unable to get exact figures from Comey or Rogers on the number of people at these agencies able to “unmask”—and therefore leak—a name. Such a number is absolutely vital in any identification of the leakers.

Comey did admit that the heads of the intelligence agencies and various Obama White House officials could have acquired access to unmasked names. But as Spicer noted at the White House press briefing, Comey would not talk about any discussions he may have had with President Obama on the matter.

It looks increasingly like any serious investigation of the illegal surveillance and leaking will have to be led and conducted by Rep. Nunes. But in going forward, it appears that the Fox News Channel has decided not to pursue the line of inquiry already opened up by one of its own commentators, Judge Napolitano.

Predictably, there are now demands that Fox News fire its senior judicial analyst for offering his own informed opinion based on the facts and his own sources of information.

[UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times and other media are now reporting that Judge Napolitano has been suspended by the Fox News Channel.]

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  • bcliff

    This is a troubling trend. Fox is treating itself as the new CNN, since that network went left wing bonkers. It’s talking heads are adopting MSM terminology, and Politico is now their go-to commentator. Those who thought Fox it’s friend are/have been abandoned, intentionally.

  • Mike USA

    Shep Smith is loosing his way, as is FNC. The Judge is a stand up guy. I would believe him, over any reports from the news readers of FNC.

  • Realist

    It is difficult and confusing to try and keep all of the playas’ organized and in proper perspective. Fox is especially difficult since that network is the only Big Media outlet that employs any real conservatives and not just RINO-sympathetic, establishment types.

    There are still a large number of real conservatives at Fox but the network is now under the thumbs of Ruperts sons, both of which are libcult leaning and increasingly anti-conservative. That is why IMHO Fox is all over the map politically. The conservatives still remaining on Fox keep on with their conservative reports and commentary, but overall, especially when it comes to the “official” news from Fox, that network is tilting further and further to the left every day. It has been doing that since at least 2007 when Fox became one of the most vocal Big Media mouthpieces pushing every nonsensical “justification” for illegals and H1Bs and then savaging We the People for even thinking to demand that OUR desires and interests be taken into account and respected.

  • jaimelmanzano

    fact that “leakers” are running amok in the country is, to a large
    extent, a reflection of the amoral use of the first amendment, by the
    press. To many journalists, their professional ethics and obligation to
    the country is their right, indeed their obligation, to not identify
    sources. To many in the public, however, this stance is defective.
    While journalist may choose to “take the fifth” and not say who told
    them what, it follows that they, in effect, may be disguising their
    complicity in aiding and abetting a crime. A clear example is the
    present investigation of the “Russian” intervention in the past
    election. Journalist know who gave them the leaked information. They –
    the Washington Post, the New York Times, and media reporters – know who
    violated the privacy and/or security laws. Their refusal to reveal
    their sources – their silence knowing that they are giving cover to a
    criminal, or even a foreign agency or spy – is hard to square with their
    personal, and institutional, responsibility, to serve the interests of
    the country. They hide “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
    truth.” And for what? To many, it is to disguise their guilt in
    pandering to their own exercise of unfettered power.

    Jaime L Manzano
    7904 Park Overlook Drive
    Bethesda, MD 20817

    301 365 4781

  • ItsJo

    An excellent article from Mr. Kincaid Again, as it shows “the gray area that Director Comey Seems comfortable being in.”

    IMO, watching his testimony, he gets that aggravated look, then the ‘I don’t understand what you are getting at in your questioning, and goes-deaf, dumb and blind.’

    We have SEEN his animations before, when he was all over the map with Hillary, and he hadn’t even GONE to her being questioned at her home or nearby-during the “Hidden Server, and Lies about it”……..He was “Told, I’d bet, to CYA, but KICK HER LOOSE, and Lynch(another Obamabot) handed ALL this off to Comey, who “Played Middle of the Road”, and just about said: “I KNOW she’s guilty, but I don’t THINK she did it deliberately”

    Many of us paying attention KNEW she was ‘taking Millions and Laundering the Money thru the “Clinton Fake Charity”, but that Obama Promised to “Look the other way, and NOTHING would happen to her, as they BOTH (Obama & Hillary) had “TOO MUCH ON EACH OTHER.”

    Sad to say, but I think Dir. Comey is too “Politically involved, and LIKES the power he’s attained-JUST as Brennan of the CIA”……..they appear to continue to be “the useful idiots for Obama” who is now running his “Shadow Gov’t to try to OVERTURN POTUS, Trump and have done all they can to Cause chaos/Civil Unrest/Civil Disobedience with Soros, STILL Paying/Hiring these Corrupt Protesters to Undermine America.

    D.C. is a Cesspool of Corruption, and Trump NEEDS to DRAIN THAT SWAMP ASAP…BECAUSE MANY, INCLUDING THE FOX LIBERALS, ARE OUT TO UNDO HIS PRESIDENCY(Guess the Rupert Sons have a NEW AGENDA, and Pander to the Liberal Pundits on Fox Shows, such as Chris Rather, Shepard Smith, Geraldo, Julie Rozinsky, etc.


  • MonadnockMan

    And SS (great initials for this dolt). Smith is a shill for the dems and just to not like his style. Juan Williams out shine SS in all aspects. Today, the vitriol most from the frumpy libtards with tons of BS tossed out and no enough quality investigative reporters / journalists to get the real facts because everyone wants to scoop everyone else. The news world today is trash and I thought Fox was above it.

  • alice

    Nunes, “I think the concern that we have is that are—were there any other surveillance activities that were used unmasking the names” This is all that matters to me. Once they come clean, name names and why/what was done I’ll be satisfied.

  • R Miller

    Where is the honorable Woodward and Clyde(?) who took down Nixon-when you need them? Is it possible they were not as honorable as they pretended to be-say agents of the clearly despicable democrat party.

  • troughmaster

    Bannon? When is Breitbart going to establish a TV station?

  • Anthony Duhe

    Whistleblower Tapes: Trump Wiretapped “A Zillion Times” By ‘The Hammer,’ Brennan’s and Clapper’s Secret Computer System – The American Report

  • Anthony Duhe

    General Thomas McInernery discusses “THE HAMMER” the wiretapping of Donald Trump “A Zillion Times” by secret super computer of Brennan and Clapper – The American Report