Former Fox News contributor and former intelligence officer Larry Johnson has confirmed that he was one of the sources for Fox pundit Andrew Napolitano’s sensational claim that British spies worked in cahoots with President Barack Obama to wiretap Donald Trump. UPDATED: Johnson has said Napolitano got his (mis)information from an online discussion board
As you probably know by now, Napolitano’s claim was cited by Press Secretary Sean Spicer in an effort to bolster Trump’s credibility for his unsubstantiated, widely disputed claim that he was wiretapped by Obama. Unfortunately for the White House, the effort backfired badly and caused an international incident yesterday.
But before that happened, Media Matters traced Napolitano’s claim to an interview by Larry C. Johnson on Russia’s RT network.
Appearing on a March 6 broadcast on state-sponsored Russian news network RT, Larry C. Johnson, credited as a “former CIA analyst and State Department official,” alleged that “there was some collusion overseas” between U.S. intelligence and “Britain’s own GHCQ (sic)” “to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump.” Citing “very good friends,” Johnson alleged that GCHQ “actually passed” information “to John Brennan, and it was disseminated within the U.S. government.” Johnson closed the RT interview by claiming former Obama administration officials involved in the collusion could face "criminal charges," specifically sedition.
Media Matters noted that the Johnson interview was shared “by hyperpartisan and conspiracy theorist sites” and that the conspiracy theory spread to Breitbart and Reddit after Napolitano promoted it on Fox.
Now Johnson has confirmed to The New York Times that he was one of Napolitano’s sources, though Johnson claimed that while his information came from American intelligence community sources, Napolitano got his “through an intermediary,” as The Times put it.
Regardless, Napolitano had plenty of reason to question Johnson’s credibility. From Media Matters:
[Johnson] has accused John Kerry of war crimes, spread the 2008 rumor about a supposed recording of former first lady Michelle Obama “railing against ‘whitey,’” and now is floating "sedition" charges against former Obama officials.
It speaks volumes about Napolitano that he apparently did not question the reliability of Johnson's claim.
Watch Spicer cite Napolitano during the March 16, 2017 White House briefing below, via The New York Times.
Image of Napolitano via screen grab.
3/20/17 update, from The Hill:
“I'm not saying the British GHCQ was wiretapping Trump's Tower. … [Napolitano] shouldn't have used the word wiretap. I call it an ‘information operation’ that's been directed against President Trump and people like John Brennan,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Napolitano used Johnson’s anonymous sources to support his claims.
Can a President actually commit treason or even leak classified information because once he says it doesn’t that mean it is instantly declassified?
Just asking of course.