The press has clearly chosen to downplay the Inspector General's damning Friday report on the conduct leading to former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's dismissal. The worst such example was a grudging Saturday item at the Associated Press.
The IG's report had a quote which the press could easily have used:
We concluded that McCabe lacked candor on four separate occasions in connection with the disclosure to the WSJ. Three of those occasions involved his testimony under oath.
Those who avoided directly quoting that succinct, readily understandable, unmistakable statement included the AP; Reuters, whose headline contended that the IG only "faulted" McCabe; the New York Times, which also used "faulted" in its headline, but at least described the IG's report as "scathing"; and CBS News, which headlined the IG's clearly stated conclusions as mere "claims."
Two AP reporters devoted only four paragraphs to their story, and furiously dissembled on McCabe's behalf:
Addressing the underlined items above — "Misled" understates McCabe's offenses. The word is not present in the IG's report, because it contains several direct conclusions that McCabe lied:
- Item 2 of 4 states that "he falsely told the agents that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and did not know who did." Such a statement isn't an example of misleading, it's a flat-out lie.
- Item 3 states that McCabe "falsely stated that: (a) he was not aware of Special Counsel being authorized to speak to reporters around October 30 and (b) he did not know, because he was out of town, 'where [Special Counsel] was or what she was doing' during the relevant time period." That's two lies in one item.
- In one of three examples of "lack of candor" in Item 4, McCabe "falsely told the OIG in a recorded interview that: (a) he told Comey on October 31, 2016, that he (McCabe) had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and that Comey agreed it was a 'good' idea." Obviously, that's another lie.
The headlined term "on media" is incoherent gibberish. The "news media disclosure" in AP's text avoids telling readers that "McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation ... (into the Clinton Foundation) violated the FBI’s and the (Justice) Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct."
The AP reporters acted as if the IG invented the term "lack of candor" on his own. The term is official FBI-speak for "untruthfulness or an attempt to dissemble from the point of view of the investigator" — a description going far beyond "misled" which "confers an obligation to disclose relevant information even if an investigator has not directly asked about it." A 21-year veteran of the FBI genuinely interested in candor would have studiously avoided being "misunderstood," as McCabe alleges.
The AP was not shy about using the L-word with President Donald Trump's pardon of Scooter Libby. Its Friday evening report on the pardon said Libby was convicted of "lying to investigators." Its timeline coverage of the story used that phrase four times.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.