Center for American Progress Fires Two After Intercept Scrutiny

January 18th, 2019 3:26 PM

The liberal media outlet The Intercept reported that its scrutiny of the liberal Center for American Progress recently led to the firing of two CAP employees “suspected” of leaking emails. Leaked emails showed concern among some staff about United Arab Emirates’ influence at the liberal group.

CAP is one of the most well-known liberal groups in Washington, D.C. and is supported by a host of prominent left-wing names including George Soros and Tom Steyer. Soros gave more than $12 million to CAP between 2005 and 2014 and more since.

The CAP site indicated Soros’s Open Society Foundations gave another “$1 million or more” in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Impeach Trump advocate Tom Steyer’s foundation donated $1 million or more each year from 2014 through 2017. He is also on its board of directors. The Embassy of the UAE was also listed as a “$500,000 to $999,999” donor for 2017.

In late 2018 or early 2019, The Intercept inquired about an “internal debate” at CAP over its statement about the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian officials in Istanbul after it obtained leaked emails (which they said did not come from CAP staff).

The Intercept stated that it’s request for comment about another story “prompted an internal leak investigation at CAP, which included searching employees’ emails without their knowledge.”

The emails it obtained showed Gulf expert Brian Katulis of CAP objecting to the Khashoggi statement’s “specific consequences” for Saudi Arabia — specifics that were dropped before the statement was released.

According to the Jan. 16, Intercept story, Katulis is “close with the UAE’s ambassador in Washington” and “The UAE, Saudi Arabia’s closest ally, is one of the top donors” to CAP. It’s attempts to get comment on an email exchange about the statement provoked an internal investigation at CAP looking for the source of the leaks.

In July 2017, The Intercept also published a story critical of the UAE’s coziness with a number of left-wing groups in D.C. based on “hacked emails” from the ambassador’s account. The Hackers referred to themselves as GlobalLeaks. One of those emails written by the ambassador mentioned working with Katulis “to plan and execute an Embassy-supported study tour of national security experts to the UAE this spring.”

Following the internal investigation, CAP fired senior national security staffer Ken Gude and an unnamed second individual, but told The Intercept, “We are not going to discuss internal personnel matters, but no one was fired at CAP for leaking or whistleblowing.”

The Intercept reported that “neither of the former employees was The Intercept’s source.” It added later, “The CAP Email exchange about Khashoggi’s killing was not leaked to The Intercept by a CAP staffer; its substance was described by a source outside CAP.”