James Clapper’s CNN Connection Goes Dark After He Is Asked About Leaks

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Before being fired by U.S. President Donald Trump, former acting U.S. Attorney …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

James Clapper’s video and audio connection with CNN died during a Thursday segment on CNN after he was asked about leaks of classified information to news media.

James Clapper, who was Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence (DNI), now works for CNN as an “analyst.” He previously denied leaking information related to the dossier composed by British former intelligence officer Christopher Steele in 2016.

The collection of documents was procured by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, circulated between Obama administration senior officials, and used as a predicate by intelligence agencies to obtain warrants to surveil associates of then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

While speaking with CNN colleague John Berman, Clapper’s audio connection went dead while his video feed faded to black.

Transcript below.

BERMAN: Asking for names [to be unmasked], nothing wrong with that. Unmasking in itself, nothing wrong with that. Leaking classified information — and by definition these phone calls were classified — that’s a problem, correct?

CLAPPER: Absolutely, it is.

BERMAN: And if anyone did leak the contents of these conversations with or without the name, that would be a problem, yes?

CLAPPER: [connection ends]

BERMAN: We’ve lost the shot. I wonder if we can at least get him on the phone to finish this. Let’s try to get Director Clapper back. All right, we’re gonna work on getting that shot back.

Earlier in the interview, Clapper claimed to not remember why he requested “unmasking” — revealing the identities — of American citizens whose communications were surveilled and captured by federal intelligence agencies.

Berman did not ask Clapper if the former DNI had leaked information regarding the Steele dossier to Tapper. Despite Clapper’s earlier denial of discussing the Steele dossier with Clapper, he admitted to doing so in 2017 while speaking with congressional investigators.

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