CBS Suggests Trump Is ‘Exaggerating the Threat' from the Middle East

CBS Evening News was steeped in mystery Tuesday as they hyped anonymous sources that suggested President Donald Trump was playing up the threat from the Middle East. “There is a controversy tonight inside U.S. intelligence over whether the Trump administration is exaggerating the threat from Muslim countries,” announced anchor Scott Pelley as he noted debate is encouraged, “But Jeff Pegues reports that this is different because some analysts believe they're being pressured to report the results that the White House wants to hear.

To kick off his report, Jeff Pegues cast doubt on Trump’s truthfulness in claims that the temporary travel restrictions would help keep America safe. “But within the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with carrying out the order, intelligence analysts are still split on the threat,” he asserted.

He pushed claims from unnamed sources that said trust in the White House and DHS leadership was so terrible that some employees were looking to turn on the administration:

Former and current government source say the DHS' intelligence unit is so divided, some employees are considering asking for protection as whistleblowers or hiring lawyers. That's because their conclusions do not match those of the White House. Last week, this internal DHS intelligence document was leaked to the media. It determined citizens of the seven band countries were rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism. Even though the document was prepared by experienced intelligence officers, it was rejected by DHS leadership. And the White House pressed for a new assessment.

Pegues also forwarded their claims that the White House rejected the document solely on political grounds. He only offered a one line defense from the accused, “DHS officials believe the document lacked classified and sensitive law enforcement information that would have provided a, quote, ‘Complete intelligence assessment.’”

CBS’s concern with politically manipulated intelligence reports was clearly absent during the last eight years, as they completely turned a blind eye to similar accusations that were levied against President Obama.

According to a front page report from The New York Times from August 2015, “The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.” Not only did CBS ignore this incendiary report but ABC and NBC did so as well.

But while they ignored it, Fox News’ Special Report covered the IG’s probe in detail. “Is someone cooking the books to make the war on ISIS appear to be going better than it really is? That's the charge tonight,” declared anchor Bret Baier.

It’s hypocritical for CBS to run an entire report based on hearsay when it came to Trump yet ignore an actual legal probe conducted by an Inspector General Office. And if CBS’ sources really believed that there was misconduct coming from the White House they could (as Fox News’ Keven Corke reporting in 2015) “bring claims of wrongdoing to an inspector general…” But so far nothing. 

Transcript below: 

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CBS Evening News
February 28, 2017
6:36:14 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: There is a controversy tonight inside U.S. intelligence over whether the Trump administration is exaggerating the threat from Muslim countries. Debates inside and among intelligence agencies are standard and even encouraged. But Jeff Pegues reports that this is different because some analysts believe they're being pressured to report the results that the White House wants to hear.

[Cuts to video]

DONALD TRUMP: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.

JEFF PEGUES: When President Trump signed his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, he said he was keeping the country safe from terrorists. But within the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with carrying out the order, intelligence analysts are still split on the threat.

Former and current government source say the DHS' intelligence unit is so divided, some employees are considering asking for protection as whistleblowers or hiring lawyers. That's because their conclusions do not match those of the White House.

Last week, this internal DHS intelligence document was leaked to the media. It determined citizens of the seven band countries were rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism. Even though the document was prepared by experienced intelligence officers, it was rejected by DHS leadership. And the White House pressed for a new assessment.

Sources say the contributors to the original document refused to work on the final product, concerned that the process had been tainted by politics.

[Cuts back to live]

In response, a DHS spokesperson told us that other federal law enforcement agencies did not agree with that leaked document. Scott, DHS officials believe the document lacked classified and sensitive law enforcement information that would have provided a, quote, "Complete intelligence assessment."

PELLEY: Jeff Pegues for us tonight. Jeff, thank you.

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Middle East Government Agencies Immigration Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Covert Liberal Activists Double Standards Religion Islam CBS CBS Evening News Video Jeff Pegues Scott Pelley Donald Trump