Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday slammed a CNN report that a CIA asset in Russia was “exfiltrated” because the spy agency’s officials were worried about President Trump’s handling of classified information.
“Yeah, I’ve seen that reporting. The reporting is materially inaccurate,” Pompeo said during a press briefing at the White House.
“And you should know, as a former CIA director, I don’t talk about things like this very often — it is only the occasions that I think put people at risk, when the reporting is so egregious as to create enormous risks to the United States of America, that I even comment the way I just did.”
CNN, in a report Monday that has since been disputed by several other news organizations, said that the CIA spy, who was tight with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was pulled out of the country in 2017 because intelligence officials believed Trump could give up his identity to the Russian strongman.
But The New York Times and Washington Post both contradicted the network’s reporting, saying the spy was removed because reporters started grilling officials about his identity.
The cable network said the decision to remove the unidentified spook was made after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump revealed classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about that came from an Israeli intelligence asset who had gotten close to ISIS.
But the decision to remove him was reportedly made before that meeting occurred.
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