May 15, 2017

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster flatly denied a story about Donald Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, but the story he denied was not the story the Washington Post reported.

Reading from a prepared statement, McMaster first assured everyone "there is nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people."

"The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation," he continued.

"At no time -- at NO time -- were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known," McMaster insisted.

However, that is not what the Washington Post report says. That report says that material was shared with Russia about highly sensitive "details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft."

McMaster's denial is fine, but it is simply unrelated to the report of what WAS disclosed. A bait-and-switch maneuver, clumsily executed.

He went on, "Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record account should outweigh those of anonymous sources."

He added, "I was in the room. It didn't happen."

Well, yes. I'm sure there was no discussion of intelligence sources or methods. But again, that's not what WaPo reported. So this statement means less than nothing.

Update: Well, Senator John McCain's former chief of staff actually does think it means something:

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.