I’ve finished the second in what I hope will be a series of posts exploring the risk of partisan abuse of U.S. intelligence authorities. (For the other, see this opinion piece, coauthored with Michael Ellis.) Section 702 renewal is on the agenda for Congress in 2023, and building support for renewal means taking seriously complaints on the right that intelligence agencies were affected by partisan bias in their treatment of Donald Trump’s candidacy, presidency, and staff. This means asking whether past practices created at least an appearance or a risk of partisan abuse—and thus whether any intelligence reforms should address those risks.
In my latest look at the issue, in Lawfare, I note that “respectable” opinion is finally acknowledging that press stories about a Trump-Russia connection may have been slanted by mainstream media, and I examine the role that media bias played in the early stages of the FBI’s investigation of Trump world. A few excerpts below:
The Trump-Russia media saga began with a bit of journalistic malpractice. As the GOP convention was preparing to nominate Trump, Gerth tells us, the Washington Post ran one of the early attacks on Trump for kowtowing to Russian interests: a July 18 opinion column from Josh Rogin headlined, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russian stance on Ukraine.” It was wrong. In Gerth’s understated words:
The story would turn out to be an overreach. Subsequent investigations found that the original draft of the platform was actually strengthened by adding language on tightening sanctions on Russia for Ukraine-related actions, if warranted, and calling for “additional assistance” for Ukraine. What was rejected was a proposal to supply arms to Ukraine, something the Obama administration hadn’t done.
A critical part of the FBI’s case against Page was the claim that his many contacts with Russians were part of what its affidavit called “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and the Russian governmen
Article from Reason.com