> Even before her now-famous MSNBC comments explaining why "you have the leaking" on
> alleged ties between Trump officials and Russia, former defense official Evelyn Farkas
> had undertaken a media campaign to pressure her old colleagues in the Obama administration
> -- even Barack Obama himself -- to disclose what they knew. Farkas, who left the
> administration in 2015 after serving as a deputy assistant secretary of defense,
> raised eyebrows in the March 2 interview on MSNBC when she said there had been a
> rush to share information before President Trump took office.
> "I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly speaking, the people on the Hill
> ... 'get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before
> President Obama leaves the administration,' because I had a fear that, somehow, that
> information would disappear with the senior people who left," she said.
> "That's why you have the leaking, because people were worried," she added.
> The interview came two days before Trump accused Obama of wire-tapping Trump Tower.
> While that allegation remains widely disputed, the White House jumped on Farkas'
> remarks as proof that intelligence leaking had taken place in the Obama White House.
> White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called her remarks "devastating." But the
> MSNBC comments were hardly the only time Farkas encouraged the distribution of intelligence
> on Trump officials.
> In a Politico column in December, Farkas voiced concern that the American public
> doesn't have access to the information the intel community has on connections between
> Russia and Trump. "The information needs to be made public," she wrote. "If the
> answers yield further evidence that the president-elect is indebted to the Russian
> government or individuals with Kremlin ties, the intelligence community and policy
> officials should also begin disclosing what they know about whether Trump's associates
> have been in contact with Russian officials, and what they've been discussing."
> She went on to warn that officials with answers to those questions and who could
> declassify that intel were to leave office when Trump took office.
> Just days before Trump took office, Farkas went a step further in a piece for Newsweek
> and called for then-President Barack Obama to step in. "We need President Obama
> to share with the public the information the FBI has to date on this issue, and we
> need President-elect Trump to explain the full extent of his ties with the Kremlin
> and influential Russians," she wrote.
> After the MSNBC appearance, Farkas spoke on March 20 with the BBC about the existence
> of evidence showing Russian interference in the presidential campaign. "Some of that,
> the proof is in very tightly held, classified channels," she said. "... And also the
> question of whether Trump's people were involved probably also would show up in those
> Farkas has not made her encouragement of such disclosures a secret. At the same time,
> she has stressed that she wasn't personally involved, and recently suggested her
> MSNBC comments were taken out of context -- saying she wouldn't specifically encourage
> leaking. "At the end of the interview I did start a new thought 'that's why they
> leaked,' but got cut off. I would have explained that leaking is illegal and I would
> never condone it, but it seems that the people who were leaking to the New York Times
> might have also been concerned that the legislative branch was being left in the
> dark," she told The American Spectator.
> But the totality of her articles and interview appearances makes clear that, in her
> view, high-level Obama officials had potentially damaging information on Trump-Russia
> The comments could draw added attention amid reporting by Fox News and other outlets
> that Susan Rice, former Obama national security adviser, requested to unmask the
> names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance. The unmasked names,
> of people associated with Trump, were sent to all those at the National Security
> Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James
> Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan -- essentially, the officials at the top,
> including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.