James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committe hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC January 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis
US intelligence chief James Clapper on Wednesday expressed “profound dismay” to Donald Trump over leaked details of a security briefing that reportedly contained explosive but unsubstantiated allegations about the president-elect.
American intelligence officials last week presented to Trump, as well as to President Barack Obama, a two-page synopsis about the potentially embarrassing allegations involving Russia, according to CNN, The New York Times and other media.
Clapper in a statement said that he and Trump spoke on Wednesday about unverified claims that his aides colluded with the Kremlin to win the US election, and that Russia has compromising information on Trump.
“This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last Friday,” Clapper said.
“I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security,” he said.
Trump at a press conference on Wednesday denied explosive allegations about his ties to Russia, and attacked US intelligence agencies and the media over the allegations.
But Clapper said he told the incoming US president that it is doubtful that the leak came from within the intelligence community.
“I emphasized that this document is not a US intelligence community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC,” Clapper said.
“The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions,” he added.