EYE ROLL: CNN Has Clapper Bash Trump for Baghdadi Raid, Details Made Him ‘Cringe’

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Right on cue, the Jeffrey Zucker-led, Trump-hating CNN decided on Monday’s CNN Right Now to bringing on Deep State liar James Clapper to downplay the U.S. special forces raid that led to the death of ISIS leader of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

Amidst his deep, visceral hate for Trump, Clapper suggesting the details President Trump shared of the raid were too “celebratory,” made him “cringe,” and could be false.

 

 

Host Brianna Keilar lauded Clapper ahead of a Pentagon briefing on the raid:

I want to bring in CNN national security analyst General James Clapper with us. He served as leader of intelligence under President Obama. He was in the Situation Room with President Obama during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. What did you think about how President Trump ranked this, comparing the death of Baghdadi to bin Laden. 

Clapper understated the importance of eliminating the leader of the former caliphate, instead noting (albeit correctly) that it was al-Qaeda and not ISIS that caused “the death of almost 3,000 people killed in the United States,” so Osama bin Laden’s death “had a lot more meaning.” But again, he couldn’t bring himself to detail how imporant killing Baghdadi was.

But it was following Keilar’s next question that the hardened liberal and former Obama official went into kooky territory. As has been the case, the liberal media have sought to throw cold water on the Baghdadi raid by denouncing the President’s speech. Here was Keilar:

During this announcement, the President — he gave a detailed description of what actually happened here — the raid, he talked about some of the intelligence leading up to it, he talked about the communications methods of ISIS, he talked about how these special forces, really the routes they took to and from this. Did he reveal too much? 

Clapper responded that it made him “kind of cringe when you hear a lot of these little details, which in and of themselves may be not very damaging, but it's the totality of them and you can be sure adversaries go to school on all that” even if they do leak out later.

Ah, so journalists leaking them (or someone else, like filmmakers)? Okay! But the President doing it? How dare he!

After the presser, the pair expressed bewilderment at the mention of U.S. troops guarding nearby oil fields, so it was back to bashing Trump. Keilar stated that “it was interesting to hear the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs not talk about as many details as we heard the President talk about,” and so Clapper responded in kind (click “expand”):

CLAPPER: Well, I thought this was appropriate, both Secretary Esper and General Milley. You know, just the straight facts. And particularly in General Milley’s case, good on him, you know, due deference to what is potentially classified.

KEILAR: Good on him for what? What part?

CLAPPER: Well, for not being quite so revelatory and I do wonder about some of the details that the President included in his presentation Sunday morning, how much of that was, shall I say, poetic license, and how much was actually known. I don’t know quite — I don’t know a way someone would have a sensing inside the tunnel where they sent the dogs in. How they would know about the emotional reaction of Baghdadi, I don't know. 

KEILAR: So he said basically he was crying, you know, as he died. 

CLAPPER: Right, died a coward and all those embellishments and it may have been true, I don't know. I'm just curious how he would know that. 

Well, the same goes for Clapper since he wasn’t there in the Situation Room or in Syria, so not exactly his place to render a judgment.

All told, it illustrates quite a pettiness on behalf of the Swamp to kvetch around the edges about how awful they viewed the President’s presentation to be. A major radical Islamic terrorist leader was killed and the liberal media whine as if it had all gone wrong and they were glad to see him escape.

To see the relevant transcript from October 28's CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar, click “expand.”

CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar
October 28, 2019
1:06 p.m. Eastern

BRIANNA KEILAR: And as we wait for this Pentagon briefing, which is supposed to begin any moment now, we want to talk about some of the moments in the President's announcement on the death of Baghdadi. The president stressed that he considered this a much bigger moment than the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever. Osama bin Laden was very big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the world trade center. This is a man who built a whole — as he would like to call it, a country, a caliphate, and was trying to do it again. 

KEILAR: I want to bring in CNN national security analyst General James Clapper with us. He served as leader of intelligence under President Obama. He was in the Situation Room with President Obama during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. What did you think about how President Trump ranked this, comparing the death of Baghdadi to bin Laden. 

JAMES CLAPPER: Not surprisingly, I wouldn't agree with that. ISIS wasn’t the cause of the death of almost 3,000 people killed in the United States, and it was more than the World Trade Center. So, I think from a standpoint of symbolism and importance to country, I would think taking down Osama bin Laden had a lot more meaning than this. 

KEILAR: Do you think that it's a point that should even be entertained in being made by the President? 

CLAPPER: Well, I think from his standpoint, you know, it is a big deal and it is a major accomplishment, no question about it, and as usual, the great professionalism with the special operations forces and intelligence community kind of shown through here. So, I just — in terms of racking and stacking here, I think the Osama bin Laden takedown was of greater import. 

KEILAR: During this announcement, the President — he gave a detailed description of what actually happened here — the raid, he talked about some of the intelligence leading up to it, he talked about the communications methods of ISIS, he talked about how these special forces, really the routes they took to and from this. Did he reveal too much? 

CLAPPER: Well, as an intel guy, as somebody who spends his life doing intelligence work, you know, you kind of cringe when you hear a lot of these little details, which in and of themselves may be not very damaging, but it's the totality of them. And you can be sure adversaries go to school on all that. Now, having said that, it's inevitable these details will come out, anyway, just as it came out after the obl raid. People writing books, and articles and all this or things, so as time goes on, more and more details is [sic] going to come out. And there’s — there’s an argument for transparency and openness and all that. But from an intelligence perspective and I think — I suspect the special operators would just assume there not be so much discussion about it. 

(....)

1:25 p.m. Eastern

KEILAR: Alright, that was a press conference at the Pentagon about this raid that killed Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi, the head of ISIS. We heard there from the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, Mark Milley as well. I’m back now with General James Clapper, former DNI under the Obama administration. I want to talk to you specifically about a really interesting exchange we heard there when it comes to, really, what is the U.S. now doing in Syria? This was a great chance for our Barbara Starr to ask this question, basically, what is going on with the oil in eastern Syria that you now have U.S. troops protecting, even though they've moved from northwest Syria, which has been criticized in a bipartisan fashion? What did you make of that because she was asked if they were moved to protect the oil fields and General Milley said yes. 

CLAPPER: Well, I thought Barbara asked a great question and good on her for being persistent about it because I, at least from my part, don’t understand what this is all about. Why, all of a sudden, these oil fields, which have been there for such a long time, are now of such importance that we have to, apparently, have armored tanks and accompanied troops, which poses all kinds of logistical challenges to support. And the other point is, the oil fields, like it or not, belong to the Syrian government and I think it’d be really interesting, if for some reason, the Russians wanted to gain access or assist or facilitate the Syrian government, which they support, get access to these outfields. I’m also not sure exactly what the condition is, whether they’re even operational and if they were really concerned about taking the oil fields, there are key infrastructure aspects that could much more easily taken out by air than deploying troops on the ground. 

KEILAR:  So then why do you think — so why are — do you think the troops were deployed, then? 

CLAPPER: Well, I think this was something that the Pentagon understands would appeal to the President, oh, you know, secure the oil and he inferred, I guess, we would extract oil from these oil fields and that would somehow pay for deployment. You know, he’s come up with that theme before. So I think that was a successful strategem for appealing to something that would appeal to President Trump to allow a continued military presence in Syria. 

KEILAR: Let's talk about what the purpose of this press conference was, which was the raid that killed al-Baghdadi. It was interesting to hear the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs not talk about as many details as we heard the President talk about. What did you think about the information that was shared about the raid? 

CLAPPER: Well, I thought this was appropriate, both Secretary Esper and General Milley. You know, just the straight facts. And particularly in General Milley’s case, good on him, you know, due deference to what is potentially classified.

KEILAR: Good on him for what? What part?

CLAPPER: Well, for not being quite so revelatory and I do wonder about some of the details that the President included in his presentation Sunday morning, how much of that was, shall I say, poetic license, and how much was actually known. I don’t know quite — I don’t know a way someone would have a sensing inside the tunnel where they sent the dogs in. How they would know about the emotional reaction of Baghdadi, I don't know. 

KEILAR: So he said basically he was crying, you know, as he died. 

CLAPPER: Right, died a coward and all those embellishments and it may have been true, I don't know. I'm just curious how he would know that. 

KEILAR: There was a lot of curiosity about the dog. There was a canine involved, obviously —

CLAPPER: Now, what’s the name of the dog?

KEILAR: — in tracking down al-Baghdadi and what we learned was that he was slightly wounded, still in theatre, and in full recovery, but in service, I think.

CLAPPER: Well, that's good, as a dog lover. I’m glad to hear that and they are magnificent animals to start with and then the training and their capabilities are quite remarkable. . 

KEILAR: What happens to the prisoners? There are two adult males in custody and we don't — we don’t really know the stature of these particular people. That will be key, but what happens to them?

CLAPPER: Also a great question. I would imagine they ultimately will be turned over to whatever nationality they are, and I don't know that, and of course they’ll have to talk to them and interrogate them as to how much useful information they might have. If they were confidants, advisers, associates of Baghdadi, well, they would have useful information, assuming they would share it, but if they were foot soldiers or just kind of hanging out in the area, maybe not so much value.

KEILAR: We learned that special forces teams were on the ground for awhile. We’re talking about two hours. They were, one, the tunnel collapsed on Baghdadi, so they were doing things obviously to confirm his identity and recover his remains, but there’s also, as we learned, information, that was — we’re familar with this from the Osama bin Laden raid. They were a lot of — there were even hard drives and a lot of information that was taken. How key can that be here? 

CLAPPER: Well, in the case of UBL raid, and I always marvel to this day at the presence of mind of the SEAL team that went into Abbottabad and had the presence of mind to gather up a catalog in the material that they seized and we established an interagency task force to quickly exploit the data, most of which was historical, not of immediate tactical relevance. It may be a different situation here with material associated with Baghdadi. But, you know, I just don't know. The other thing I note is the rapid identification of Baghdadi through DNA and there has been, I guess, been improvement there because there was some delay while we waited for the forensic examination of the DNA of UBL and I think they're able to do that on a quicker basis at the tactical level. 

KEILAR: General, thank you so much. We appreciate your expertise.

NB Daily al Baghdadi Dead Syria Military War on Terrorism CNN Other CNN Video James Clapper ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Brianna Keilar Donald Trump
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