White House, Fox News are now blaming an ex-Obama Pentagon Russia expert for the Trump leaks

Evelyn Farkas testifies before Congress in 2014
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

During the 2016 election, Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign tried to counter a steady drip of damaging leaks by pointing out that hacking and leaking emails (as WikiLeaks was doing) is illegal. Republicans and the Trump White House have been turning to the same winning strategy, trying to focus on the leakers instead of the material about Russia being leaked, and their latest target is Evelyn Farkas, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia until September 2015.

On Tuesday, an edited version of a March 2 interview Farkas did on MSNBC about a March 1 New York Times article started spreading online, and Fox News host Sean Hannity focused on Farkas Wednesday and Thursday nights, accusing her of leaking classified intelligence and portraying her interview as proof that former President Obama surveilled President Trump's transition team — a claim Trump tweeted out on March 4, two days after the Farkas interview. On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that senior White House staff was huddling to discuss Farkas, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer mentioned Farkas by name in Thursday's press briefing. CNN wrapped all that video up on Thursday night, plus Farkas' incredulous reaction:

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.