This week it was revealed that the director of national intelligence downplayed the approved statement warning Americans that Russia was trying to destabilize the American election. What John Ratcliffe did instead, was saying that Iran wanted to “damage Donald Trump” by sending out emails threatening Democratic voters in Florida.
MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asked how it was possible that the DNI could outright lie about an intelligence report in a speech to Americans while with intelligence officials who knew the truth.
“Well, because he’s not a legitimate intelligence professional,” said former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi. “He’s lost all credibility and that performance that night has really led to the place we’re at, which is if we have an ugly season coming up with this election, He will not have any credibility. If he attempts to get to the podium and tell us what is going on with election results or foreign meddling, I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to hear him. The other thing he did was he downplayed that night, he downplayed the role of Russia. And he emphasized the role of Iran. And the other thing that got me because of where I come from is because he hijacked the FBI building for that press conference. If you realize it, but that is the FBI headquarters and with the FBI seal behind it and when I see that and someone essentially just muddling the truth during all of that, it just hits me in the gut.”
At the time of the announcement, many on Twitter echoed Figliuzzi’s sentiment, saying that merely standing with Ratcliffe could harm their reputation.
Wallace noted that when the notification came out about the press briefing at the FBI, it didn’t come from the DNI or from the FBI, it came from Trump’s White House.
“How weird is it for Donald Trump’s to put out the notice for FBI briefing?” she asked.
“You raise a great point,” Figliuzzi agreed. “Because it hints at prior knowledge of the tone and approach the DNI was going to take with this. Which means the DNI likely coordinated his approach with the White House. And they may have actually intervened in shaping the actual verbiage that night. Look, Ratcliff is the guy you have at work where you think you agree and he sneaks off to the boss and boom there is a surprise and he feigns ignorance. It doesn’t sit well with career professionals and I’m sure it didn’t sit well with anybody at FBI headquarters and again we’re going to learn truths after this election is over. Whenever President Trump eventually leaves office, we’re going to see documents of first drafts and second drafts of this press conference and other things and it is going to just curl our hair as to what was twisted, what was exploited, and what really happened.”
See the conversation below: