The New York Times Lies To Readers, Smears The Gateway Pundit, in Effort to Debunk Evelyn Farkas Scandal

The New York Times lied to its readers in an article published online Friday evening (and on the front page of Saturday’s edition) that tried to debunk the scandal surrounding Dr. Evelyn Farkas, the former Obama official and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign advisor who has spoken about efforts by herself and the Obama administration to preserve and disseminate intel gathered on the Trump team.

As part of its effort to discredit the Trump administration’s claims then candidate Donald Trump and his campaign/transition team was spied on by the Obama administration, the Times quoted a TGP article about Farkas, smearing it as being counter-factual. But curiously the Times article did not provide a direct link to the TGP article quoted, instead the Times included the generic TGP link.

If the Times had included a direct link, Times readers would have learned that Evelyn Farkas’ own words prove the Times is lying to its readers and that Farkas knew more than what was in the news about intel on alleged ties between people associated with Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign.

Times readers would also have learned from Farkas’ own lips that she worked with the Obama administration to ensure the intel on the Trump Team was spread to Capitol Hill after Trump won the election last November.

The Times article falsely states as a fact that in her March 2 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Farkas said she was concerned about preserving intel evidence of Russian hacking of the 2016 election, “In fact, the reports do not back up the allegations that Mr. Trump or any officials in his campaign were ever under surveillance. In the March 2 interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Ms. Farkas said she had expressed concern to her former colleagues about the need to secure intelligence related to the Russian hacking of the American election.”

What Farkas actually said on Morning Joe was, “…I was urging my former colleagues, and, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration. Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff dealing with Russians…”

The Times article also lies about the Times’ own March 1 article that prompted Farkas’ statements.

The Times on March 1:

In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

…Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials, and at one point he openly suggested that American spy agencies had cooked up intelligence suggesting that the Russian government had tried to meddle in the presidential election. Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration.

At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.

It also reflected the suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed. Former senior Obama administration officials said that none of the efforts were directed by Mr. Obama.

And of course, the Times does not mention that Farkas was a Hillary Clinton campaign advisor touted for an appointment in a Clinton administration.

The Times on March 31:

Mr. Spicer provided no evidence of the surveillance allegations. But he pointed several times to news reports that he claimed backed up the president’s accusations.

One was a March 2 interview with Evelyn Farkas, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration until leaving the government in September 2015.

In fact, the reports do not back up the allegations that Mr. Trump or any officials in his campaign were ever under surveillance. In the March 2 interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Ms. Farkas said she had expressed concern to her former colleagues about the need to secure intelligence related to the Russian hacking of the American election.

Ms. Farkas was commenting on a New York Times article a day earlier that documented how in the days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Obama administration officials had sought to ensure the preservation of those documents in order to leave a clear trail for government investigators after Mr. Trump took office.

The March 31 Times article bylined Michael D. Schear and Julie Herschfeld Davis entitled, Sean Spicer Repeats Trump’s Unproven Wiretapping Allegation

(Page A1 print edition headline: Spicer Asserts Political Intent in Surveillance)

The White House on Friday revived President Trump’s unproven wiretapping allegations against the Obama administration, insisting that there is new evidence that it conducted “politically motivated” surveillance of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Senior government officials, including James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, and lawmakers from both parties, have repeatedly and forcefully rejected the president’s claim, saying they have seen no evidence of direct surveillance. A spokesman for former President Barack Obama has denied that Mr. Obama ever ordered surveillance of Mr. Trump or his associates.

But Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, asserted to reporters during his daily news briefing that members of Mr. Obama’s administration had done “very, very bad things,” just as Mr. Trump alleged without proof on March 4 when he posted messages on Twitter accusing Mr. Obama of “wire tapping” his phones at Trump Tower.

“The question is why? Who else did it? Was it ordered? By whom?” Mr. Spicer said. “But I think more and more the substance that continues to come out on the record by individuals continues to point to exactly what the president was talking about that day.”

Mr. Spicer appeared to be basing his assertions on reports from right-wing news outlets that took out of context a month-old interview with a former Obama administration official.

…Mr. Spicer provided no evidence of the surveillance allegations. But he pointed several times to news reports that he claimed backed up the president’s accusations.

One was a March 2 interview with Evelyn Farkas, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration until leaving the government in September 2015.

TheGatewayPundit.com, a right-wing site, called it a “notorious” interview and said it proved Obama administration officials had disseminated “intel gathered on the Trump team.” Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that Ms. Farkas had made “just an incredible statement.” Breitbart News reported on Mr. Priebus’s comments.

The comments by Ms. Farkas, Mr. Spicer said, were evidence that Mr. Trump or his associates “were surveilled, had their information unmasked, made it available, was politically spread.” He said that such stories were proof that Obama administration officials had “misused, mishandled and potentially did some very, very bad things with classified information.”

In fact, the reports do not back up the allegations that Mr. Trump or any officials in his campaign were ever under surveillance. In the March 2 interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Ms. Farkas said she had expressed concern to her former colleagues about the need to secure intelligence related to the Russian hacking of the American election.

Ms. Farkas was commenting on a New York Times article a day earlier that documented how in the days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Obama administration officials had sought to ensure the preservation of those documents in order to leave a clear trail for government investigators after Mr. Trump took office.…

In a statement she gave to The American Spectator, a conservative publication, Ms. Farkas said the furor over her remarks was “a wild misinterpretation of comments I made on the air in March.” She added, “I was out of government, I didn’t have any classified information, or any knowledge of ‘tapping’ or leaking or the N.Y.T. article before it came out.”

Readers of the TGP article quoted but not directly linked to by the Times would have also learned that Farkas’ statement to the American Spectator was disingenuous.

TGP article: Evelyn Farkas Interviews Contradict Denials of Inside Info, Reveal She Worked With Obama Admin to Spread Trump Intel

The TGP article needs to be read in its entirety as it is chock full of documentation. But here are some quotes from Farkas quoted in the TGP article that directly contradict her other statements playing down her “inside” knowledge and involvement; and that contradicts the Times report.

Vox, Feb 16, 2017:

Ezra Klein
What’s your level of alarm after the resignation of Michael Flynn?

Evelyn Farkas
It’s lower than it’s been since the summer, when I was first made aware of all this stuff. I’m like, finally, everybody else sees it! Seriously.

The reason I was so upset last summer was that I was getting winks and hints from inside that there was something really wrong here. I was agitated because I knew the Clinton campaign and the world didn’t know

The 11 Hour with Brian Williams March 1, 2017 (overnight):

Yeah, I think there, there was a lot going on in the administration. First of all they had watched Hillary Clinton lose. And they, being the high officials–mainly in the White House–they were told, ‘you cannot do anything political’. And, but while they watched something, we don’t actually know all the details of what they were watching and they couldn’t talk about it. Hillary Clinton lost and then they knew that they had all had all this intelligence about contacts between the Trump advisors and high lev–high ranking Russians–some of them may be Russian officials some of them may just be close to the Kremlin. And they became worried. And frankly I became worried. I was outside of the government. I had advised Hillary Clinton on her campaign. And over the summer as the story broke I knew that there was more to this probably because we have very good intelligence on Russia so even the whiff gave me the sense they knew much more.

In an interview with WGBH-TV on Thursday, Farkas spoke about working with the Obama administration to get the alleged Trump-Russia intel to Capitol Hill.

“…And so I was worried after the election once I saw that, okay, Trump was going into the White House he would now be the custodian of the classified information. However the other place where they can read classified information is on Capitol Hill. So all I was saying to the Obama people and to the people on the Hill was, ‘make sure you share the data, the facts, whatever facts you have on this.‘ And it wasn’t advocating anybody tapping, leaking, spying anything of that nature. I was saying Congress needs to be involved. Congress needs to be involved!”

The Times tried to discredit The Gateway Pundit and the Trump administration, but wound up discrediting itself by lying.

Will the Times be professional and apologize to TGP and the Trump administration and correct the article?

(For the record:

Farkas’ complete original March 2 statement on Morning Joe, set up by Mika Brezinski who stated, “you actually knew about this attempt to get and preserve information–and full transparency–were doing some work yourself. Tell us about it.” (Via Powerline, transcript corrected by KT)

Well, I was urging my former colleagues, and, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration. Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods — meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill…That’s why you have the leaking. People are worried.)

UPDATE: The Times published a separate article on March 31, Sean Spicer Misquotes Evelyn Farkas in Latest Defense of Trump’s Wiretapping Claim, that links to the TGP article and contains a fuller quote from Farkas on the Obama admin collecting intel on the Trump Team.

After her remarks were cited by many conservative media outlets as validation of Mr. Trump’s accusations, Ms. Farkas noted on Twitter on March 29, “I was out of govt, had nothing 2 give.”

…She went on to say: “That the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.”

This Times article is still disingenuous, though.

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