CNN senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski took to Facebook to vent on Wednesday, breaking news in the process.
Titling the post, “This is How Your Government Responds to Unfavorable News Coverage,” she detailed a phone call she got Monday night from R.C. Hammond, a communications adviser for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Kosinski wrote that a “venomously irate” Hammond opened the call by saying “What the hell are you doing??!!”
“[He] followed up with full-on DEMANDS — over and over, and over again — to tell him who my sources were,” she continued. “He kept pushing, as if he thought this was ample reason. Then, 'Why won’t you tell me who they are?' he bellowed repeatedly, again demanding I at least tell him what jobs they held at State, or in what areas.”
“I had to explain to him that wasn’t how it worked,” she added. “This, mind you, is someone employed by the US government to act as a communications professional.”
While Kosinski never says so outright, the call — judging by its timing — was likely about her Monday night report (co-bylined by Nicole Gaouette) that the State Department was unaware that Tillerson was releasing a statement about the Russian intel sharing story.
She then claims that Hammond said she was losing the “shred of credibility” she had left, before adding that “he would make sure NO ONE — no one — at the department would speak to me, EVER AGAIN.” Kosinski says she then noted that he never replies to her emails, anyway.
“Well maybe there’s a reason for that,” she quotes him as saying. “WE don’t think you’re smart enough to HANDLE OUR information!!!!”
Kosinski concludes that “when you wonder why it seems information might be a bit—ahem—lacking, contradictory, or confusing coming from your own government, just recall the immortal words of RC Hammond: 'WE don’t think you’re SMART ENOUGH to HANDLE our information!!!!!'”
As of this writing, the State Department has not replied to requests for comment.