Barr slams media coverage of document declassification, Mueller report

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Attorney General William Barr recently sat down for a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with CBS News that covered topics including the Robert Mueller-led special counsel investigation, the current probe into the origins of the Russian collusion narrative, and the impending declassification of key documents related to those inquiries.

Over the course of the interview, Barr took several well-deserved shots at the predominately liberal media, particularly over inaccurate and “irresponsible” reporting, not to mention their utter lack of interest in covering stories that don’t align with the left’s narratives.

Questioned on declassification

During the interview, Barr was asked about the declassification efforts that are currently underway, specifically whether he would work closely with agency and department heads to ensure that sensitive information wasn’t unnecessarily or unwisely made public. He answered in characteristically frank fashion:

“I’m amused by these people who make a living by disclosing classified information, including the names of intelligence operatives, wringing their hands about whether I’m going to be responsible in protecting intelligence sources and methods. I’ve been in the business as I’ve said for over 50 years, long before they were born, and I know how to handle classified information and I believe strongly in protecting intelligence sources and methods.” Barr added that if pertinent sensitive information needed to be released, he would do so in a responsible manner.

Asked about the media criticism and worries regarding declassification, Barr replied, “Well, the media reaction is strange. Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually, the media doesn’t care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do and I will.”

Incurious “watchdogs”

Earlier in the interview, when asked about his investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Obama administration officials, Barr commented on the media’s lack of interest in finding out the details of alleged governmental abuses of power.

“The fact that today people just seem to brush aside the idea that it is okay to, you know, to engage in these activities against a political campaign is stunning to me, especially when the media doesn’t seem to think that it’s worth looking into,” the attorney general said.

“They’re supposed to be the watchdogs of, you know, our civil liberties,” Barr added.

Mueller and the media

The attorney general also aimed a couple of pointed jabs at the media in relation to coverage of the Mueller report and his four-page summary of conclusions, as well as Mueller’s letter lamenting the lack of contextual background provided to the media at the time.

With regard to his decision to release the summary of conclusions, Barr commented on unfounded media speculation about supposedly impending indictments of Trump family members and suggested that the “wild and irresponsible speculation” of the media and former government officials could have had a detrimental impact on the country if left unchecked.

As to the letter from Mueller, Barr clarified that it was less focused on lodging complaints about Barr’s summary and more on how, in the absence of additional context, “the vacuum had been filled with media reports that were then causing confusion, and he wanted it clarified by putting more of an explanation of his reasoning out.”

Attorney General Barr levied several wholly-earned and justifiable criticisms at the partisan media for their “wild and irresponsible speculation” and utter lack of curiosity at uncovering wrongdoing by the prior administration, and though the media will likely whine about it, they really have no room to complain.

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