WASHINGTON—Just a week after the former CIA director and now secretary of state admitted that the agency prior to and under his direction “lied,” “cheated” and “stole,” Mike Pompeo has delivered another claim that, despite his recent admission of dishonesty, has been regurgitated with little scrutiny by a variety of media outlets.
In what Venezuelan government officials claimed was an attempt to provide cover for the failure of last Tuesday’s U.S.-backed coup attempt to gain any traction, Pompeo claimed that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had been ready to flee to Havana, Cuba, amid the early morning chaos of Tuesday’s failed military uprising, but had been convinced to stay by the Russian government. Pompeo made the claim during an interview with CNN, stating: “He [Maduro] had an airplane on the tarmac. He was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay.”
Pompeo then made a similar claim during a subsequent appearance on Fox News, stating that Maduro “was ready to go. He made a decision that we had been urging him to make for quite some time. And then he was diverted from that action by the Russians.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova outright denied Pompeo’s claim, calling his statements “absolute disinformation and fake news” and part of a U.S. effort to wage an “information war” in regards to current events in Venezuela.
However, as the coup attempt was underway last Tuesday morning, Russian security officials did meet to discuss the situation. In addition, the Russian government stated that its small troop presence in Venezuela would not seek to aid the Maduro-led government in the event of any military uprising. MintPress reported on Russia’s numerous interests in Venezuela earlier this year and why it has sought to back the Maduro-led government amid U.S.-backed attempts to enact regime change.
MSM takes job as U.S. gov’t stenographer
Neither CNN nor Fox chose to question the veracity of Pompeo’s claims or ask for any proof of them, even though Pompeo had stated to an audience in Texas just a week prior that when he “was a CIA director, we lied, we cheated, we stole… like, we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” In fact, the vast majority of mainstream outlets—including the Miami Herald, NPR, The Week and Bloomberg, among others—all failed to place Pompeo’s recent statement regarding the coup in the context of his recent statements about his time in the CIA.
Pompeo: “I was CIA director, we lie, cheat, we steal. we even had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment”. What a man. What a country. Not only CIA. It told us it had hard evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq.
Soon after Pompeo made this statement on CNN—for which no further evidence was provided—President Donald Trump threatened Cuba with a “full and complete” embargo as well as the “highest-level sanctions,” in response to the alleged presence in Venezuela of Cuban soldiers, whom National Security Adviser John Bolton had referred to as “Cuban thugs” last Tuesday. Cuba’s government maintains that it has no soldiers in Venezuela. After the comments, Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, called Bolton a “pathological liar who misinforms Trump.”
MintPress reported last year that Bolton has a history of making false claims, particularly about Cuba, including falsifying information about a non-existent Cuban biological weapons program in an unsuccessful effort to have the country added to the George W. Bush administration’s “Axis of Evil.” After becoming national security advisor, Bolton created his own “Axis of Evil,” which he named the “Troika of Tyranny” last November—composed of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Bolton has pledged that the Trump administration would take “direct action” against all three regimes, which he referred to as a “cradle of communism” that threatened the entire Western hemisphere.
With Bolton and Pompeo—two men hardly known for their honesty—being the public faces of the Trump administration’s efforts to topple not one but three governments in Latin America, the lack of scrutiny from the mainstream media on their claims, even after one recently admitted regularly lying, is yet another troubling sign of the transformation of many mainstream media outlets into faithful government stenographers.
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.