A former Obama administration official is responding in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller to recent claims that she helped disseminate intelligence about Donald Trump and his advisers throughout the federal government.
Evelyn Farkas, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia until 2015, says she had no hand in circulating actual intelligence, contrary to claims made this week by conservative media outlets, including Sean Hannity.
“I had no intelligence whatsoever, I wasn’t in government anymore and didn’t have access to any,” Farkas said in an interview with TheDC on Thursday.
Farkas, a former Clinton campaign adviser, found herself in the media spotlight this week after a video clip resurfaced of an interview she gave on March 2.
In the interview, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Farkas responded to a bombshell report in The New York Times laying out the Obama administration’s last-ditch efforts to preserve and disseminate intelligence that had been gathered on Trump advisers.
The Times reported that the Obama officials spread the information throughout the intelligence community and various federal agencies to help ensure that as many people could view it as possible. The Obama loyalists also classified the information at relatively low levels so that more people could have access to it. (RELATED: Obama Admin Sabotaged Trump’s Transition To The White House)
In her “Morning Joe” segment discussing the Times report, Farkas said that she too grew “very worried” after the election that intelligence gathered on Trump advisers would be squirreled away after Trump took office.
“I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly speaking the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” Farkas said in the interview.
In another interview on MSNBC later in the day, Farkas described a “frantic desire” within the Obama administration to preserve the intelligence.
WATCH: Evelyn Farkas interview on “Morning Joe” March 2. Comments begin at 4:40.
Though Farkas’ interview occurred a month ago, it bubbled up through conservative websites this week before being addressed by Hannity and conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt.
Hannity saw Farkas’ comments as evidence of a potential crime as well as a vindication of Trump’s claims that the Obama administration conducted surveillance against him and his advisers prior to the election. Trump made that claim on Twitter on March 4, days after the Times piece was published.
While it does not appear that the Obama administration conducted surveillance directly on Trump or his advisers, U.S. intelligence officials have collected incidental intelligence, likely from conversations between foreigners discussed Trump & Co.
“Did Obama officials commit a crime here?” Hannity asked during his show Wednesday night of Farkas’ statements.
“It seems like she’s admitting the surveillance…that that took place of Trump transition team members. She’s admitting that they unmasked them because they’re Trump transition members,” he added.
On Thursday, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus commented on Farkas’ claims during an interview with Hewitt.
“It’s just an incredible statement,” Priebus said, adding that he discussed Farkas’ comments with White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
“What it means and what she meant by that, and whether that has anything to do with the issues in regard to surveillance of Trump transition team members is something that we need to figure out this morning and throughout the day.”
“A personal reaction is it’s, it’s almost, it’s so cavalier and unbelievable that I just wonder whether this person knows what the heck she’s talking about,” he added.
[dcquiz] But Farkas says that her comments have been misconstrued.
She was not in possession of intelligence about Trump or his advisers, and she did not share documents with Congress, she told TheDC in a phone interview.
“I had no intelligence whatsoever, I wasn’t in government anymore and didn’t have access to any,” said Farkas, who acknowledged that her work on Russian issues has made her hyperaware of the Kremlin’s activities.
“I didn’t know what the smoke or the fire was, but I was nervous that maybe the right people in Congress weren’t being informed according to normal procedures.”
Farkas, who is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and MSNBC contributor, said she reached out to Republicans and Democrats she knew on Capitol Hill in an effort to push them to ask for any intelligence that may have been gathered on Trump advisers.
“I was getting the feeling that the people on the Hill weren’t briefed up, mainly because they weren’t bringing it up in conversations with me, and they were not concerned with what the Russians had done,” she says.
“You guys need to be asking the White House to bring you all the information they have,” she says she told congressional staffers.
“I could tell that there was something there because all I had to do was look at the faces of Obama people when the topic came up, and they wouldn’t talk about it so it was clear that it was super sensitive.”
Farkas declined to reveal who she talked to on Congress. She did say that she was not a source for the New York Times article.