Monday, May 11, 2020

'I Didn’t Know Anything': Former Obama Official Criticized After Classified Testimony Contradicts Her Public Statements

By Jonathan Turley - May 11, 2020 at 10:13AM

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The long-delayed release of testimony from the House Intelligence Committee has proved embarrassing for a variety of former Obama officials who have been extensively quoted on the allegedly strong evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Figures like James Clapper, who is a CNN expert, long indicated hat the evidence from the Obama Administration was strong and alarming. However, in testimony, Clapper denied seeing any such evidence.

One of the most embarrassing is the testimony of  Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama Administration official who was widely quoted in her plea to Congress to gather the evidence that she knew was found in by the Obama Administration. In her testimony under oath Farkas repeatedly stated that she knew of no such evidence of collusion.

Farkas, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, was widely quoted when she said on MSNBC in 2017 that she feared that evidence she knew about would be destroyed by the Trump Administration.  She stated:
...was urging my former colleagues, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill… Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration, because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people that left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy . . . the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.
MSNBC never seriously questioned the statements despite the fact that Farkas left the Obama Administration in 2015 before any such investigation could have occurred. As we have seen before, the factual and legal basis for such statements are largely immaterial in the age of echo journalism. The statement fit the narrative even if it lacked any plausible basis.

Not surprisingly, the House Intelligence Committee was eager to have Farkas share all that she stated she “knew about [“the Trump folks”], their staff, the Trump’s staff’s dealing with Russian” and wanted to get “into the open.” After all, she told MSNBC that “I knew that there was more.”

She was finally put under oath in the closed classified sessions and there was nothing but classified crickets. Farkas was repeatedly asked to share that information that electrified the MSNBC hosts and audience.  She repeatedly denied any such knowledge, telling then Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, S.C.), “I didn’t know anything.”

Gowdy noted that Farkas left the Obama administration in 2015 and asked “Then how did you know?” She repeated again “I didn’t know anything.” 

Gowdy then asked “Well, then why would you say, we knew?”

He also asked:
'You also didn’t know whether or not anybody in the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, did you?' Gowdy later asked, getting to the point.
“I didn’t,” Farkas responded.

MSNBC has said nothing about its prior headline story being untrue. Indeed, the media has barely acknowledged that the new documents reinforce that there was never any evidence of collusion and ultimately the allegations were rejected by the Special Counsel, Congress, and inspectors general.

For her part, Farkas has moved on. She is running for Congress. She is still citing her role in raising “the alarm” about Russian collusion:
'fter I left the Obama administration, I campaigned to help elect Secretary Clinton as our next President. When Russians interfered in that election, I was among the first to sound the alarm and urge Congress to take action. And I haven’t let up since then.
She was indeed one of the first but it proved to be a false alarm based on nonexistent knowledge. Does that matter anymore?

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.

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