The Washington Post gave its readers a clear-eyed view this weekend of how American intel agencies work with sympathetic reporters to smear and discredit political opponents, ignoring a specific explanation from one of the article’s targets of how reporters were being used, and leading to embarrassing corrections in multiple articles (as well as in The New York Times and at NBC News).
The story targeted Rudy Giuliani and Wisconsin’s Sen. Ron Johnson, excitedly reporting that they were the targets of Russian disinformation campaigns and had been warned of this by the FBI. Sound familiar? Unsurprisingly, there were a number of problems.
First, powerful people across the planet are often the targets of foreign disinformation campaigns; this is normal. Second, powerful intel agencies have a history of conducting briefings solely to create records that can then be leaked to sympathetic reporters in order to generate stories about said threats.
Third, there were no actionable specifics in the Johnson briefing, as