ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
77°
Mostly Cloudy
H 88° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    84°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 78°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
White House disputes accounts of Russian CIA informant
Close

White House disputes accounts of Russian CIA informant

White House disputes accounts of Russian CIA informant
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing on terrorism financing at the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House disputes accounts of Russian CIA informant

The Trump administration on Tuesday disputed reports of a Russian official who was recruited as a spy for the CIA and then evacuated to the United States after revealing information about the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley and the CIA challenged reports that appeared in The New York Times, CNN and elsewhere about a Russian official with high-level access who provided the U.S. with valuable intelligence for years until he was abruptly pulled from the country.

"Suffice it to say that the reporting there is factually wrong," Pompeo said Tuesday, without specifying exactly what he was disputing. Pompeo was head of the CIA at the start of the Trump administration, soon after the spy reportedly was brought to the United States.

The CIA singled out CNN in a statement that disputed the network's reporting about what prompted the evacuation. CNN cited an unnamed source as telling them that the informant was removed in part because of concerns about the Trump administration's mishandling of classified information and the possibility that the Russian official could be exposed.

"CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false," said CIA Director of Public Affairs Brittany Bramell. "Misguided speculation that the president's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence, which he has access to each and every day, drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate."

Gidley also singled out the CNN report as "so wrong" and slammed an NBC report that purported to say where the spy lived.

"For the media, the hypocrisy they have is so egregious to come out and try and say that this president is putting lives in danger with the way he handles information, classified or not," he said on Fox News. "When they are the ones that actually go to this person's house with a video camera, revealing where this person lives, potentially their identity and that of their family."

The reporting, he added, is "dangerous" and "putting lives at risk."

The Times said the official was recruited decades ago, advanced through the ranks of the government and eventually held an influential position and was able to confirm that President Vladimir Putin personally ordered and orchestrated the campaign to influence the American political campaign to favor Trump.

The paper said the official was one of the CIA's "most important — and highly protected — assets" until the end of the Obama administration when the Americans began to worry about his safety because news media coverage of the election interference risked exposing him to the Kremlin.

It said the informant at first refused to be evacuated, or extracted, citing family concerns, which prompted fear at the CIA about whether the person was trustworthy. But months later, after more media coverage that raised the risk of his identity being publicly revealed, he agreed and was taken to the U.S.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was dismissive of the reports and the influence of an official he identified by name. He said the person was fired several years ago and did not have a high-ranking position in the Russian government.

U.S. media reports to the contrary, he told reporters, are "pulp fiction."

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • The State Attorney's Office says a custodian at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs has been arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with attempted production of child pornography, after investigators say he filmed students in the girls' locker room.  According to the criminal complaint, 42-year-old Jason Goff is accused of filming students in the locker room sometime between mid to late August.  Investigators say two students reported finding a possible camera in a locked locker on August 22nd. When school administrators opened it up, they reported finding a cellphone that had been taped to the inside wall with the camera lens pointing out through a hole, aimed at the changing area.  The criminal complaint says a forensic review of the phone turned up images and videos of high school girls changing. Investigators says at the end of one of videos, the phone camera pans down to show Goff's photo ID badge. Additionally, the complaint says the phone also contained 'selfie' photos of Goff.  If ultimately convicted, Goff faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervise release.
  • Beginning Monday, NAS Jacksonville is warning neighbors there will likely be an increase in aircraft activity and noise due to training operations. NAS Jax says carrier-based jet fighters and other types of aircraft will be conducting training out of the base from September 15 through September 25. We're told this training is in support of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) operations.  If you have any noise complaints, you can send them to NASJAX_NOISE_COMPLAINTS@NAVY.MIL.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says a 22-year-old suspect is being charged with murder, after police say he was responsible for a carjacking on the Southside that ended with the victim dying.  According to police, a witness spotted the suspect, identified by JSO as Johnathan Green, jump into a victim's vehicle in a parking lot off of Beach Boulevard, near Southside Boulevard, just after 7:00 AM on August 23rd.  Police say the witness told them that the victim then jumped into the passenger seat and was hanging partially outside of the vehicle, when Green allegedly accelerated, causing the victim to be thrown out of the truck. JSO says that victim was taken to the hospital, but later died from his injuries on August 29th.  As for Green, police say he was arrested in the area on August 23rd and was charged at that time with carjacking and giving a false name to law enforcement. However, with the victim's death, we're told Green is also now being charged with murder/during certain felonies.
  • A federal judge sentenced actress Felicity Huffman to 14 days in prison on Friday after she admitted earlier this year to paying an admissions consultant to falsify her eldest daughter's college entrance exam. >> Read more trending news  Huffman, 56, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors said she paid admissions consultant William 'Rick' Singer $15,000, which she disguised as a charitable donation, to rig her daughter's SAT score. Authorities said her daughter was unaware of the arrangement. Update 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Prosecutors said Huffman has been ordered to self-report to a Bureau of Prisons facility Oct. 25 to begin her 14-day prison sentence. The facility was not immediately chosen. Her attorney asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to allow her to report to the facility in Dublin, California, which is closest to her home, WFXT reported. Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman to serve 14 days in jail and 250 hours of community service after she pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges leveled at her as part of a probe into a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme. In a statement read Friday in court, Huffman apologized to college officials and other students who were affected by her decision to participate in the bribery scheme. She said she felt ashamed of her choice. Prosecutors said prison time would deter others from committing similar crimes and noted that Huffman's reputation would likely recover. Prosecutors said she signed a movie deal with Netflix while awaiting sentencing, according to WFXT. Attorneys for Huffman argued against jail time for the 'Desperate Housewives' actress, pointing to her remorse and her lack of a previous criminal record, among other factors. Update 2:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman appeared in a courtroom on the third floor of the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday for a sentencing hearing. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was also in the courthouse, according to WFXT. He has not been charged as part of the case. Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman arrived at the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday afternoon ahead of her scheduled sentencing hearing. Original report: Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to sentence the 'Desperate Housewives' actress to one month in prison and supervised release, citing her deliberate and repeated deception of her daughter's high school, the college entrance exam system and college administrators. They have also asked she be fined $20,000. 'Her efforts weren't driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity,' prosecutors said last week in a sentencing memo filed in court. Authorities said Huffman coordinated with Singer to convince test administrators to give her daughter extended time to take the SAT in 2017, citing a 'learning difference.' She arranged to have her daughter take the test at a center affiliated with Singer, where her answers were altered to boost her score by about 400 points, prosecutors said. 'She could buy her daughter every conceivable legitimate advantage, introduce her to any number of useful personal connections, and give her a profound leg up on the competition simply because she would be applying to college as the daughter of a movie star,' prosecutors said in the sentencing memo. 'But Huffman opted instead to use her daughter's legitimate learning differences in service of a fraud on the system, one that Huffman knew, by definition, would harm some other student who would be denied admission because Huffman's daughter was admitted in his or her place, under false pretenses.' Attorneys for Huffman have asked Talwani to sentence her to one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine, calling the incident out of character and noting her remorse for her part in the admissions scheme. 'In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,' Huffman wrote in a letter to the court filed last week. 'I honestly didn't and don't care about my daughter going to a prestigious college. I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor. That sounds hollow now, but, in my mind, I knew that her success or failure in theater or film wouldn't depend on her math skills. I didn't want my daughter to be prevented from getting a shot at auditioning doing what she loves because she can't do math.' Huffman is scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in the federal courthouse in Boston. Huffman was one of more than 50 people, including 34 parents, to be charged earlier this year with participating in the large-scale admissions scheme. Prosecutors said the parents involved paid Singer to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities. The scandal also led to the arrests of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both of whom are fighting the charges. The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared to other bribes alleged in the scheme. Some parents are accused of paying up to $500,000 to get their children into elite schools by having them labeled as recruited athletes for sports they didn't even play. Authorities say it's the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, with a total of 51 people charged. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Latest News Videos