Stephen F. Cohen: Forget "Russiagate," "Intelgate" Is Real Scandal; Someone In CIA "Running An Operation" Against Trump


'The Young Turks' politics reporter Michael Tracey interviews NYU & Princeton professor of Russian studies, Stephen F. Cohen, to discuss the political establishment's response to accusations that President Trump "colluded" with Russia, major intelligence leaks about Russia, and the "New Cold War."

First, Cohen responds to comments made by former DNI James Clapper on the May 30 edition of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' where he said that Russians are "genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, and gain favor."

MICHAEL TRACEY, THE YOUNG TURKS: So that is James Clapper, the person who is sought after as an authority on those issues demonstrating that his mindset is one of attributing inborn qualities to Russians that make them somehow inherently disposed to carry out spycraft or subterfuge. You have to assume that this mindset is shared within the intelligence community, which he essentailly headed. And it is this intelligence community who are behind many of these anti-Russia leaks, which are being seized upon by Democrats as the unadulterated truth...

STEPHEN F. COHEN: Let me play poker with you and 'Call' you and tell you that things are actually even worse. But then step back a bit. What Clapper said about Russians, that they are "genetically disposed" to do us in and to be evildoers is just a form, I guess, of racism. Like saying Jews are genetically disposed to cheat you financially, or blacks are this, or the Irish are that.

This is something that we wouldn't tolerate [about almost any other group], and nobody protested... He said it... on 'Meet the Press,' [on May 30] and by the way, I heard him say the same thing in Australia two days before, so it wasn't an accident. But let's step back a bit... I think that there has been an intelligence operation run against Trump, surreptitiously, since at least early 2016. I would call it Intelgate. And it is that, not Russiagate, that really rivals Watergate. And it needs to be investigated what these intelligence agencies have been doing, in addition to breaking the law. With this pattern of secret surveillance, and leaking to the press, for months and months. Who are these people, who sat through, I guess, the Obama adminsitration, and have only now departed, who ran our intelligence services.

We know that Clapper is a Russophobe. He thinks they are genetically evil people. But look what Brennan said in his testimony. He was the director of the CIA. He said something absolutely astonishing, and I am glad we know it.

I can't quote him exactly, but I paraphrase accurately. He said Americans who have contacts with Russians have a risk of heading down a treasonous path that they are not aware of until they commit treason. Stop and think about that. This is a guy who is downright paranoid about unofficialy contacts with Russia... I've had scores, hundreds of contacts with Russians over my life... That is what I do... But imagine saying that. That was the director of the CIA.

And then we have Comey's testimony. And he comes forward and says he is a great authority on Russia. He knows they hacked us, but then he admits he was one of the leakers! So we have these three top intelligence guys essentially outing themselves, and the strange thing is, nobody pays a mind to what they said...

My back away it this: When I was teaching at Princeton, I had a number of very good students... who didn't want to become academics, they wanted to work for the CIA. Because they didn't want to kill anybody or spy on anyway, but the CIA had a unit on Russia that did nothing but research...

Back in those days, I would be invited to join in their seminars... so these people in the agency were good people, intelligent people... Which reminds us that the intelligence services are highly factionalized. There is no The FBI, The CIA. There are rival factions warring with each other, and they have been throughout my lifetime...

I think what we're seeing in the last year is a powerful element at the top of the FBI and CIA, less so the NSA, waging a surreptitious campaign agaisnt Trump and his 'associates' and leaking. But I wouldn't say all these agencies are tainted. This was a leadership problem. Now they're out, but presumably some of them are still there because the leaks continue.

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