In today’s hearings on Capitol Hill, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asked former CIA Director James Clapper if he’d ever leaked information, classified or unclassified, to the press. Clapper’s response drew a boisterous laugh from the crowd.
— fake nick ramsey (@nick_ramsey) May 8, 2017
In his desperation to get Clapper to incriminate himself, Kennedy twice poses the nonsensical question about “leaking” unclassified information. Clapper calmly explains to the Senator that “unclassified is not leaking.”
Faced with explosive laughter, Kennedy charges forward in an attempt to redeem himself and shoehorn some type of confession out of the very poised and professional Clapper. Kennedy asks, “Have you ever given information to a reporter that you didn’t want to have your name connected with but you wanted to see it in the paper?”
“I did not,” Clapper responds. “I’ve had many encounters with the media over my career—“
At this, Kennedy replies tersely, “I’m sorry about that.” To reiterate, this is a United States Senator openly expressing his disdain for the “media.” Criticizing our free press – protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution – is not a good look for anyone, much less a Senator.
In the span of 40 seconds, Kennedy managed to humiliate himself twice. Maybe instead of asking irrelevant questions about a leak, he should have focused his interrogation on the much more pressing issue of Russia, which – unlike the leak – is an actual threat facing our nation from an enemy country. Of course, that would require putting country over party.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.