White House blasts CNN report on spy’s extraction, warns lives could be ‘in danger’

The White House on Tuesday rebuked CNN for a widely challenged report claiming the CIA had pulled a high-level spy out of Russia after President Trump “mishandled” classified material – saying the report is wrong and could put lives at risk.

"CNN's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger,” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

CNN is standing by its reporting that the U.S. pulled its source from Russia in 2017, in part out of concern that the Trump administration had "repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy."

But both the White House and the CIA slammed the reporting, with the latter calling the reporting "misguided" and "simply false."

The New York Times also published a piece late in the evening, which largely contradicted CNN's story. According to the Times, CIA officials "made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia" — weeks before Trump took office.

Concerns about media reporting on Russian election interference drove the decision, according to the Times, which described the source as "the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders” from Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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