In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s press conference, in which he criticised the US intelligence for permitting the ‘Trump Dossier’ to get published, various attempts are being made to distance the US intelligence agencies from the ‘Trump Dossier’.
The Guardian, which somewhat surprisingly since it is a British newspaper, has actually been told by US intelligence sources – speaking of course anonymously – that Trump’s claim that it was the US intelligence community which bears ultimate responsibility for publication of the ‘Trump Dossier’ is false.
Exactly how the ‘Trump dossier’ came into the possession of the Western news media is unclear. However it is know that copies of it have freely circulated in editorial offices in the US and Britain for weeks if not months. The Guardian for example admits that it has for some time possessed a copy.
Most likely the ‘Trump Dossier’ was not originally leaked to the media by the US intelligence community, but by Donald Trump’s opponents in the Republican or Democratic Parties. The fact that the entries in the ‘Trump Dossier’ start in July – ie. after it became clear that Trump would be the Republican Party’s nominee for President – and that the last entry dates from December, makes it overwhelmingly likely that the source of its leaking to the media was someone within the Democratic Party and/or the Hillary Clinton campaign.
That it also passed before it was published through Senator McCain’s hands incidentally shows that whoever leaked it was out to do as much damage to Donald Trump as possible.
The US intelligence community is however protesting altogether too much when it claims that it had nothing to do with the publication of the ‘Trump Dossier’.
The spur for its publication was unquestionably a CNN report which appeared yesterday (but which has since been updated) which disclosed that the US intelligence community had provided Donald Trump with a 2 page summary of the ‘Trump Dossier’ during his briefing on the Russian hacking allegations on Friday. The CNN report included claims, sourced to the usual anonymous officials, that the US intelligence community considered the former British intelligence officer who had compiled the ‘Trump Dossier’ a “credible” source.
It beggars belief that the anonymous officials who said all this to CNN did not realise that it was likely to provoke publication of the ‘Trump dossier’ by one of the news media outlets which was in possession of it. It is not excessive to say that the briefing given to CNN was in fact intended to provoke the Dossier’s publication.
I would add that this was almost certainly the intention behind the decision to brief Trump about the existence of the Dossier also. In a city like Washington, where secrets of this sort are never kept for very long, it is overwhelmingly likely that whoever decided to include a summary of the Dossier in Donald Trump’s briefing did so in the knowledge – and almost certainly with the intention – that it would lead to the Dossier being published.
Donald Trump is therefore absolutely right to blame the US intelligence community for the publication of the ‘Trump Dossier’. As Glen Greenwald says, its publication was arranged – however indirectly – by the US intelligence community to discredit him.
Trump is right to be angry, and those who criticise him for the bad relationship which now exists between him and the US intelligence community are blaming the wrong party.