Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam asked former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton a blunt question about the “dodgy dossier” of opposition research on Donald Trump that has dominated the news this week: “Is this real?”
Bolton replied that “anybody who’s looked at the classified information that the intelligence community has” believes the Russians were behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s server.
“Now, this separate thing written, apparently, by a former British intelligence agent, filled with all kinds of scurrilous material about the President-elect and his family and his business – really something else entirely separate,” he continued. “I think where the linkage takes place is the unaccountable use of this second, separate set of allegations to brief both President Obama and President-elect Trump, and then to see it leaked to the press, where it eventually found its way into BuzzFeed. One of the things I think that the President-elect did yesterday was, through tweets and other things, attack the intelligence community for allowing it to leak.”
“It must have leaked out of somewhere,” Bolton pointed out. “Maybe it was the Obama White House. What a surprise that would be, right? But this was somebody’s effort, I think, to impugn Trump’s character. I think he’s saved, in part, because it’s so outrageous that even many of Trump’s critics couldn’t believe it was accurate.”
Kassam asked if Bolton had ever heard of the man revealed as the creator of the dossier, former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele. “Could it be the case that somebody has just paid this guy to write these things, so this leak came out?” Kassam asked.
“Well, actually, that thought occurred to me because it’s so bad. I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it,” Bolton replied.
“It’s filled with anonymous sources, single-source information and whatnot. If I were a corporate customer, and I wanted, in effect, a private investigator – I think that’s what this firm basically is – and I got something back like this, I would refuse to pay. You or I could sit down at a computer right now and type out these 35 pages, just let our imaginations run wild, and if somebody would pay for it, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it,” he said.
“But where it takes on a life of its own and gets published by whatever you want to call BuzzFeed – a source of electrons somewhere – and then it’s used to attack people’s character, it’s just completely out of control,” Bolton declared.
As to whether the detonation of its dossier story would inflict lasting damage on BuzzFeed or CNN, Bolton said, “It’s hard to hurt somebody who has no reputation to protect.”
“In that sense, if you ask what’s the downside for BuzzFeed or CNN, you’d have to say the answer is ‘not much,’” he judged. “If it were a magazine that occasionally published fiction articles, and they had labeled it as fiction, that would be one thing. But to put it out in a way that says, ‘We can’t verify any of this, but we’re going to put it out there anyway’ is just an invitation for a creative writing contest.”
“I think it’s a demonstration that there’s no – this idea that the press is somehow a sacred profession, separate from mere money-grubbing businesses, and that sort of thing. The press is anything that calls itself a ‘press,’ and indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the constitutional protection of freedom of the press extends even to the humblest leaflet,” Bolton noted. “So it’s not a priesthood, and it should get criticized just like any other business when it does something outrageous. I would put this right close to the top of the list.”
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