‘CIA leaks like a sieve, Obama’s holdovers should be probed' - Roger Stone, former Trump adviser
Rumors of the US President’s ties to the Kremlin are based on nothing but loosely interpreted illegal leaks from rogue intelligence agents, former Trump adviser Roger Stone told RT, denouncing anti-Russian hysteria as neocons’ attempt to justify their warmongering.
RT: You have been named as one of the people with whom “Russian intelligence” allegedly had contact with. Flat out, is that true?
Roger Stone: It is absolutely categorically untrue. And the New York Times has reported that the FBI or more precisely “intelligence agencies” say they have e-mail transmissions, the transcriptions of the overheard conversations and financial records that prove this. Yet no one in the media, no one in the Senate or house Intelligence Committee and not the President of the United States has seen any of this alleged proof. So what we have here is an allegation based on the assessment of the intelligence agencies who are holdovers in this case from Barack Obama. I categorically deny this, Paul Manafort the chairman of Trump’s campaign has as well.
The real issue here in my opinion is that Donald Trump does not want to go to war with the Russian state over Syria. He favors détente and hard-headed negotiations with President Putin in the hopes that we can live in peace and perhaps work together to crush ISIS. So Trump was the peace candidate, the military and industrial complex in this country is very upset with his election, thus this allegation about Russian interference in our elections, which I stress again is entirely unproven.
RT: You have called for an official investigation into the alleged inappropriate Russian links. Do you expect an investigation to unfold and do you consider Jeff Sessions the right person to lead such an investigation, since he was a part of the transition team specifically dealing with national security issues as well?
RS: I think that it’s very important that the air be cleared on this, and therefore I favor any fair, unbiased investigation. In retrospect, Jeff Sessions is probably compromised on this, has a conflict and therefore I’d suggest that he appoint a special counsel, which we have a provision for under federal law to investigate the matter, report to the American people and to the courts.
Alternatively, a congressional investigation with public hearings would be acceptable. I would relish the opportunity to testify in public and put the lie to this entire charge that the Russian state somehow aided or boosted the election of Donald Trump. It is simply not true.
RT: Do you feel that your position was covered unfairly in the media?
RS: I have never been notified by anyone in law enforcement in the United States that there even is an investigation. I read that a FISA court has approved the wiretapping and the monitoring of my phone calls and my e-mail accounts. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m told that there’s a grand jury convened.
But I can sleep at night because no investigation will harm Donald Trump, or Roger Stone, or Paul Manafort because we had no contacts with the Russian state and therefore I would like to clear the air on this, and I think a public investigation, a publicly made investigation report would be the best way to do this.
RT: Do you think Trump gave in to the media pressure in the Flynn situation?
RS: First of all, a review by the attorney general and by the White House council determined that General Flynn had violated no laws in his phone call to the Russian ambassador, the purpose of which was to set up a phone call between President Vladimir Putin and the new President Donald Trump. That is Mr. Flynn’s job, that is entirely appropriate. Based on the transcript, the portion of the transcript published by the New York Times, there was no indication that General Flynn discussed sanctions, in fact when it came up in the conversation he essentially brushed it off and said: “I can’t talk about that now.”
So, what we do know is, however, that those who leaked the fact that General Flynn was being shriveled by the government did violate the law. That is very specifically illegal and carries a 10-year penalty in jail.
So perhaps we should investigate who has illegally leaked this information, rather than trying to find a greater fault in General Flynn. Frankly, I think the President acted very quickly, and in retrospect I think General Flynn might have apologized to the President and the nation and moved on in this very crucial role. General Flynn, as you know, attended a banquet for the commemoration of RT, I think that's perfectly appropriate. I nether thought I would ever see the day when Russian media is less censored than the media in the United States, but that is the case.
RT: Trump is now seemingly giving priority to non-mainstream media outlets. How does that change balance of the press power in the future of the United States?
RS: Well, this was the election in we’ve reached the tipping point. Based on technological advances the majority of people now get their news from their hand-held device, no longer from a television set. And because of that access to the internet which would be required to go watch television on your hand-held device, opens the door to numerous alternatives to the main three television networks and the two cable networks. Thus the alternative media now is being disproportionately watched and listened to by the American people. This is a healthy thing. ABC, NBC and CBS had a monopoly on the dissemination of political information for the last thirty years and this has not served us well.
Today, the consumer, the voter, has broader choices, and the power of the media has been de-massified. I think this is very positive. It keeps the New York Times on their toes to know that Breitbart has excellent investigative journalists now covering the news.
RT: Russia is basically portrayed as a ‘bogeyman’ by the West. Why does this Cold War approach persist?
RS: Because the neocons have to justify their intended war in Syria. They have made it very clear, I should say Ms. Clinton made it very clear, that if elected president, she would have expanded the proxy war in Syria, and I think brought the United States and Russia to the brink of World War. Thank God we have stepped back from that under President Trump.
But the hysteria about Russia is being used to justify moving troops to the Syrian border, to the Russian border, and for all of the war talk. It is the policies of Obama and Clinton that have brought us to the brink of war with Russia. Like my mentor Richard Nixon, I prefer détente. If Brezhnev and Richard Nixon can get together to negotiate strategic arms limitations, then Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin can get together to negotiate peace. I think this is entirely possible.
RT: Could the intelligence agencies be mounting some sort of an unofficial coup there? What’s actually happening with this souring relationship between Trump and the intelligence community?
RS: First of all, let’s review the record of the Central Intelligence Agency. They lied about torture in the Iraq war, they lied about weapons of mass destruction being held by Saddam Hussein, they lied about Iran-Contra, they lied about Vietnam, they lied about the Kennedy assassination. This is what spies do – they lie. And the only CIA officer today loyal to the President is the Director who has only recently been confirmed. In the second and third levels of the agency you still have Obama’s holdovers, consequently the place leaks like a sieve. For example, the leaks regarding General Flynn. My advice to the President would be to clean house and appoint people loyal to your administration to intelligence agencies.
RT: Do you still talk to President Trump?
RS: I have talked to him from time to time, but I consider these conversations to be private and privileged. And I’m not going to violate that trust by discussing them. I’ve been a friend of Donald Trump for 40 years, have great affection for him and his family, and frankly I’m just honored to have been a small part of the biggest upset in American political history.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.