The dramatic developments (and sometimes lack of thereof) in the unending drama of the Russian involvement in the last US elections are certain to leave an external observer confused. As an avid reader of spy stories and a longtime watcher of the Kremlin shenanigans, I personally would like nothing more than tidily laid out proof of Kremlin’s tentacles reaching into the North American continent and doing their usual dirt. Of course, a discovery of a few US VIPs serving as Kremlin moles would be a serious cherry on top of that thriller. Unnecessary to say that if one of these VIPs proves to be the POTUS his own self, it will be not just a cherry but a whole watermelon. Not really, it would be very sad, but still thrilling.
But, not being able to follow the inner workings of the discovery process in the offices of NSA, CIA and other hailed intelligence outfits, I, like all other lovers of the genre, have to rely on the media. And herein lies the yuge problem. Take, for instance, the eagerly anticipated hearing of Attorney general Jeff Sessions. Out of several articles on the subject by CNN, one has totally discombobulated me. The one by Errol Louis, with a headline that (I confess) made my heartbeat speed up:
I wouldn’t deny, I have already seen in my imagination Mr Sessions leaving the room in shackles and handcuffs, mumbling something in broken Russian through his tears. But here is what astonished Errol Louis:
Attorney general Jeff Sessions, sparring with his former colleagues in testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, made a startling and dismaying admission on Tuesday. Despite months of turmoil surrounding Russia’s efforts to distort American elections, says Sessions, he neither received nor requested a classified briefing to get up to speed on the threat posed by Russian forces.
That is an incredible statement, given the size and scope of the threat Russia posed to American democracy.
Titillating, isn’t it? Attorney general, the man who should be at the frontline of the fight against the dark powers of Kremlin, is ignorant of the threat? But…
But then there is another article, published by CNN on the same day and written by Tom LoBianco, with a much less dramatic headline:
Lo and behold: one of these five things addresses that same “startling* admission”:
2. Sessions’ recusal started almost immediately, and left him blind on Russia’s hacking
The chief law enforcement officer of the United States was never briefed on Russia’s hacking of one of its major political parties, or any other efforts by Russia to mess with the elections — past and future.
Why? Because he personally recused himself from all things related to the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia the day after he was sworn into office. What Sessions didn’t explain is why he waited a month to tell the public — and his own associates — that he had stepped aside from the probe.
Incredible, innit? I don’t even blame Errol Louis for his glaring incompetence. And I can be hardly surprised by CNN and its editors, playing with half-baked information and producing one hair-raising news item after another, never conceding they were wrong. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, please.
Just why do I always think Keystone Cops or similar when opening CNN? You tell me.
(*) Here is what I would call really startling (among other things).
Snoopy the Goon grew up in the Soviet Union, and now lives in Israel. He blogs at Simply Jews