CNN’s Jim Sciutto Spreads Fake News About Trump Revoking Brennan’s Security Clearance

CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto.
CNN

CNN’s Jim Sciutto erroneously reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump did not consult Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats regarding the decision to revoke the security clearance of ex-federal employee John Brennan.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Wednesday afternoon that Brennan’s security clearance would be revoked following a “series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration.”

“Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility.  In 2014, for example, he denied to Congress that CIA officials, under his supervision, had improperly accessed the computer files of congressional staffers,” Sanders said in a statement to White House press corps reporters.

Shortly after the White House’s announcement, CNN’s chief national security correspondent Sciutto claimed a source had told him that the president did not consult Coats regarding the decision. “Breaking: DNI Coats – the nation’s senior-most Intelligence official – was NOT consulted on Trump decision to revoke Fmr CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance – a source with knowledge tells me,” he wrote on Twitter.

Bloomberg politics reporter Jennifer Jacobs, who was briefed directly by White House aides, corrected Sciutto’s false reportage, tweeting: “Trump did discuss the matter of Brennan’s security clearance with Dan Coats, I’m told. He was in the room. And there were multiple discussions with top officials, WH aides say.”

The president also discussed the matter with Vice-President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and the White House’s general counsel’s office, according to Jacobs.

Sciutto has not addressed the discrepancy between his and Jacobs’s reporting. His contested claim has over 7,500 shares at the time of this writing and serves as the source of multiple articles from other news outlets — some of which are citing a tweet from Jake Tapper echoing his claim (currently shared ~1,400 times).

In addition to Brennan, the president is also “evaluating action” regarding former DNI James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, ex-NSA Chief Michael Hayden, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

Shortly after the announcement, Brennan took to Twitter to lament the decision and vowed not to “relent” in his criticism of President Trump.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” tweeted the Obama-era intelligence chief. “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

After working at ABC News for nearly a decade, Sciutto joined the Obama White House in 2011 as a political appointee — serving as chief of staff for Gary Locke, Obama’s ambassador to China. CNN has allowed Sciutto to report on his Obama administration colleagues, such as Susan Rice, without any disclosure.

One year ago, almost to the day, Sciutto similarly humiliated himself on social media by adding Charlottesville, VA — the pedestrian car ramming which killed protester Heather Heyer — to a list of “vehicle terror attacks in Europe.”

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