CNN published a story about how a CIA agent in Russia was pulled out because the CIA couldn’t trust President Trump to handle classified information properly. A fake.
You can read the original at: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/09/politics/russia-us-spy-extracted/index.html
This was an obvious, blatantly false story, proven by subsequent information that the decision to exfiltrate the agent was made in 2016, during the Obama Administration.
The damage is extreme.
First, the Russians do not forgive, they do not forget. They have been embarrassed by CNN who claimed “the spy had access to Putin and could even provide images of documents on the Russian leader’s desk.”
You can bet the Russians had a team on the ground as soon as the story was known, and could have been surveilling the CNN team WHO WENT TO THE AGENT’S HOUSE AND KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. Any information that CNN had was certainly not protected well and is likely in the hands of the Russians by now.
So the agent’s life is in grave danger, and he probably won’t survive the year.
The CIA depends, in large part, on a reputation to recruit agents. They do not use blackmail (not reliable), they use incentives (primarily money) with a mix of patriotism, friendship and a great many psychological influences too numerous to detail. The bottom line is that we care about them as human beings (I am NOT kidding, a case officer is often willing to risk his own life to protect an agent) and we want them to work for us productively for 30 years and then retire. Often, part of the deal is retirement in America.
I don’t know what truly happened with this particular agent, the media speculates but they are often the least reliable source. It could be that something leaked, or an unrelated investigation started in Russia, or information that he provided had to be used, in spite of the risks (President’s do have this option, intelligence too sensitive to be used is useless.)
Or it could be that he just wanted to retire, so agreements were executed and he was pulled out.
We don’t know.
However, all of our agents all over the world, who have meticulously shunned publicity their whole lives, are looking at this article and thinking about the situation this agent is in. They are thinking perhaps that the CIA may not be able to keep their promises, may not protect their identities well enough, and their long happy retirement could end abruptly with an assassin’s bullet, an agonizing poison, or a ghastly car ‘accident.’
This means the CIA will have a much tougher time recruiting agents and keeping current agents active. Some agents may quit (remember the CIA does NOT use coercion to keep agents, it is not reliable), costing America valuable and often critical intelligence information.
Intelligence is a “force multiplier” meaning whatever military or diplomatics resources can do, their capabilities are multiplied many times over by having the right intelligence. Damaging the CIA means that all of the U.S. Government is weaker.
And that can cost lives, millions of them.
This is grave damage to the CIA’s ability to operate, perpetrated by CNN and whoever their “sources” are. The release of information by those sources can be considered nothing else but espionage.