The Washington Post committed a trifecta of incompetent journalism with their May 26th piece on Jared Kushner and Russia. They reported that Kushner, a Trump advisor, discussed setting up a secret and secure communication channel between the transition team and Russia. According to intercepted Russian communications this proposal was made on December 1st or 2nd.
The first instance of journalistic incompetence the Post commits is when they say that “people familiar with the matter say the FBI considers the encounter…to be of investigative interest.” Why would it be of investigative interest if as the Post admits all incoming administrations have contacts with foreign officials?
They do so by linking this proposal to the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. They wrote “but new administrations are generally cautious in their handling of interactions with Moscow, which US intelligence agencies have accused of waging an unprecedented campaign to interfere with last years presidential race.”
That is they are attempting to link a meeting that took place in December to an investigation into events that took place prior to the election. The Post never explains why this would be investigated by the FBI in relation to this matter. Furthermore they never explain why two parties that supposedly colluded to rig an election would wait until after it to set up a secret and secure back channel.
In a blow to their own premise that this back channel would be secret they quote a former intelligence official as saying the FBI would know when these communications were taking place because he would be seen going in and out of the Russian Embassy.
Further into their story the Post says “Russia at times feeds false information into communication streams it suspects are monitored… But officials said that it is unclear what Kislyak (Russian Ambassador to U.S) would have to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow.
This sort of incompetence should not be accepted at one of the nations leading papers. It is easy for anyone not looking to push a false narrative to see what the Ambassador would have to gain. US intelligence agencies and Congress have already told us that Russia is trying to undermine our institutions. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean that it will stop.
Russia would have plenty to gain from spreading misinformation about Kushner. It hamstrings the Trump administration with investigations and worse a feeling of illegitimacy among the American people. This makes it more difficult for Trump to enact his foreign policy agenda.
The fact that the Post published what appears to be part of Russia’s campaign against the West is the last instance of incompetence by the paper. It appears that they didn’t ask simple questions such as: how did we intercept this communication from the Russian Ambassador to Moscow if they have a secure means of communicating that Kushner wanted to take advantage of ? Why would he choose to discuss this sort of request over an unsecured channel when he has access to a secure line?
If the Post asked these questions it would have seemed obvious that the Russians wanted U.S intelligence to intercept this conversation. That should have raised red flags that this was potentially part of a misinformation campaign and should be reported as such. That it wasn’t just goes to show that the media isn’t opposed to such a campaign as long as it targets someone they despise.