The Director of National Intelligence released a statement Wednesday saying he did not believe leaks of an explosive document containing allegations of ties between President-elect Donald Trump and Russia came from within the intelligence community.
James Clapper said he expressed to Trump his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press.” He described the leaked document as “widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it.”
“I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC,” he added.
Clapper said the intelligence community made no judgement on whether the information presented in the document was reliable and that it did not rely on the document “in any way.”
Trump had tweeted Thursday morning that Clapper had called him to “denounce” the report:
James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up, phony facts.Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
Clapper and Trump both appeared to be referring to a Tuesday report from BuzzFeed, which published a 35-page document containing unsubstantiated allegations. Immediately before BuzzFeed published the document, CNN reported that intelligence officials had briefed Trump and President Barack Obama on a two-page summary of the document.
At a press conference Wednesday, his first in 167 days, Trump wondered aloud, without proof, if the intelligence community had “maybe” leaked the document to the press. He even said he had kept secret his meetings with intelligence officials from his staff in order to ensure they were not the source of leaks about the meetings.
On Wednesday morning, Trump said the leak was characteristic of Nazi Germany (he was criticized for that tweet by the Anti-Defamation League):
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017