Former United States Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he believes Attorney General William Barr spoke out of turn when he said that he believed spying did occur during the 2016 presidential election.
“I thought it was both stunning and scary. I was amazed at that and rather disappointed that the attorney general would say such a thing.
“The term ‘spying’ has all kinds of negative connotations and I have to believe he chose that term deliberately.
Clapper went on to say that he felt Barr shouldn’t have spoken up about unconfirmed opinions, that he should have spoken with his inspector general as to whether he believed there was impropriety on the part of the FBI.
“It would have been far more appropriate for him to just defer to that investigation rather than postulating with apparently no evidence. He just has a feeling that there was spying against the campaign,” Clapper said.
Clapper was referring to testimony given by Barr on Wednesday before United States senators, in which he specifically said he believes there was U.S. “spying” on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“I think spying did occur,” Barr said at a Senate hearing in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, according to The DailyMail.
While the attorney general didn’t elaborate as to who he believed to have been spying, he didn’t mention the intelligence community in his comments.
“But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation.
“I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. And I am not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly,” he continued.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal – it’s a big deal,” Barr said.