CNN's report on Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump was briefed by intelligence chiefs that Russia had information on him intended to compromise him is "unsettling," writes David A Graham at The Atlantic, but adds it is important to note what the report does and does not say.
The CNN report notes that the intel officials gave Trump a two-page classified memo when they briefed him on their findings that Russia had interfered with the American election process. They attempted to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton's chances and help Trump's.
The report said Russia had "compromising personal and financial information" about Trump, but it was not clear whether the intelligence community believe those allegations to be true.
Still, Graham notes, that is not to say the information was not true.
"The origin of the claim, in fact, is decidedly partisan," Graham said. "A major source for the report delivered to Trump was a set of memos prepared by a former British intelligence operative, who gathered the information while working as an opposition researcher for both anti-Trump Republicans and later for Democrats," Graham writes.
The British operative is believed to be credible based on past performance, but even if his sources are genuine, they could be attempting to sow disinformation, Graham points out. That is, after all, a favorite Kremlin tactic, the unclassified version of the report says.
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