Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared on This Week Sunday, and said some head-scratching things.
Clapper back in March told Meet the Press that when he issued a January 6th multiagency intelligence community assessment about Russian interference in the election, the report didn’t include evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, essentially saying he hadn’t been aware of any such evidence up through January 20th, his last day in office.
On Sunday, he said that didn’t necessarily mean there was no such evidence, because sometimes he left it up to agency chiefs like former FBI Director James Comey to inform him about certain things.
“I left it to the judgment [of] Director Comey,” Clapper said, “to decide whether, when and what to tell me about counterintelligence investigations.”
Clapper said something similar when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Monday. In prepared remarks, he essentially said that there was nothing odd about his not being informed about the existence of an FBI counterintelligence investigation involving Donald Trump’s campaign.
Speaking generally, Clapper seemed to imply that the Trump-Russia-collusion scandal, the thing colloquially known as #Russiagate all over the world now, may have originated in information gleaned by the intelligence community, who in turn may have tipped off the FBI.
“When the intelligence community obtains information suggesting that a U.S. person is acting on behalf of a foreign power,” he said, “the standard procedure is to share that information with the lead investigatory body, which of course is the FBI.”
He went on, explaining that in such a situation, it wouldn’t be unusual for the DNI to not be informed about an FBI counterintelligence investigation.
“Given its sensitivity,” he said, “even the existence of a counterintelligence investigation’s closely held, including at the highest levels.”