FBI Director James Comey cautioned against believing reporting on classified information, which he said oftentimes gets the facts wrong.
During his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, Comey went out of his way to caution against lending too much credibility on reporting of classified information.
“Sometimes the newspaper gets it right, but there’s a whole lot of wrong information allegedly about classified activities in the newspaper,” he said, explaining, “we don’t call them to correct it” because the FBI doesn’t want to “compound” the damage “bad people” have done.
“I’ve spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures and where they came from — it’s very, very hard. Oftentimes it doesn’t come from the people who actually know the secrets. It comes from one hop out — people who heard about it or were told about it,” Comey said later.
“And that’s the reason why so much information that purports to be accurate classified information is wrong in the media, because the people who heard about it didn’t hear it right.”
When asked about the intelligence community’s responsibility to correct false reporting, Comey said, “There’s a whole lot out there that is false. And I suppose some of it could be people lying to reporters — I think that probably happens. But more often than not, it’s people [speaking to reporters] who act like they know when they really don’t know.”
Comey made clear throughout his testimony that the FBI does not correct false reports of classified information in the media.
The Trump administration so far has been plagued by leaks to the media reportedly containing classified information. The leaks have consistently portrayed Trump and members of his inner circle in a negative light