President-elect Donald Trump, after growing suspicious that intelligence officials were leaking news about their classified briefings with him, says he conducted a sting operation to try to prove top spies were behind the leaks.
Trump revealed the extraordinary scheme to try to entrap the senior spies in a furious press conference where he suggested the intelligence community had been behind salacious and totally unproven allegations against him.
‘I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. First of all, it’s illegal. These are classified and certified meetings and reports,’ Trump said during a press conference at Trump Tower – his first since getting elected.
Then he revealed the details of the stealthy sting he says he conducted on the nation’s senior spooks.
‘I’ll tell you what does happen. I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it,' Trump complained, possibly referencing reports on his classified briefings, which he has chosen not to receive daily.
President-elect Donald Trump said he set a trap for his intelligence briefers and that they fell for it by leaking word of a classified briefing he had with them
'Somebody’s leaking them out,’ Trump said, after inveighing against leaks generally.
‘So I said, "Maybe it’s my office. Maybe my office." Because I’ve got a lot of people … Maybe it’s them?’
‘What I did, is I said I won’t tell anyone. I’m going to have a meeting, and I won’t tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence,’ Trump continued.
He even shielded one of his closest aides from word of the meeting.
‘Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew,’ Trump continued – drawing laughter from collected family members and staff.
Having set the trap, Trump says the word leaked anyway.
‘The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting. So, I don’t want that. It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country what’s happening,’ he said.
President-elect Donald Trump blasted 'phony stuff' contained in a dirt dossier against him that was released and blasted whoever leaked it – mentioning the intelligence agencies
Degrading acts in bed used by president: The extraordinary - and entirely unverified - allegations that Donald Trump ordered prostitutes to commit degrading sex acts in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow are contained in a dossier drawn up by a former British spy
Trump blasted the intelligence community at his press briefing, saying it was behind the leak of a dossier of information about him, but without revealing evidence
President-elect Donald Trump conducted the sting after growing frustrated that word of his classified briefings were leaking. Pictured are FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan (L-R) testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee
OUT OF THE LOOP: Trump says he didn't even tell his executive assistant, Rhona Graff
Thomas Barrett, chief of media relations for the Director of National Intelligence, declined to comment on the substance of Trump's alleged sting.
'I’m sorry, we have nothing to offer on this matter,' he told DailyMail.com.
As president-elect, Trump is entitled to a daily briefing of the 'crown jewels' of the intelligence community. The briefings typically are conducted by high level intelligence officers.
On Friday, he got a briefing that included James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence and other top intelligence officials.
At his Wednesday press conference, he went after the intelligence community as being behind the leak of a dirty dossier of material alleging the Russians had compromising information on him, saying it would be a 'blot' on the record if true.
The office of Director of Intelligence James Clapper declined to comment on Trump's purported sting operation
He blasted those who published it, but in a twist, complimented outlets which stayed away from the claims.
'They looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies,' Trump said, referencing a dirt dossier against him.
'Who knows, it may be the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot of their record if they did that,' Trump said, in just his latest shot at the intelligence community.
'A thing like that should have never been written … and it certainly should never have been released,' Trump continued.