There is widespread outrage found in the media this week over President Trump's frank position that he would be willing to listen to a foreign nation's government if they claimed to have information damaging to a political opponent. Trump said he would listen, and depending on the information, might call the FBI.

As I wrote earlier this week, my position is big, fat, hairy deal. It's what I would do, too.

But should we as a nation refuse to listen to information offered, based on who is telling it? It's not like we don't have a multi-billion dollar intelligence community to look into these things.

An example comes to mind.

Since March of 2011, the Russians attempted to warn the Obama administration about a threat and, according to Vladimir Putin, were told not to "interfere" with American domestic affairs.

Russian intelligence had warned the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's religious journey to "radical Islam" and plan to become a militant by training in the Caucasus (Chechnya and Dagestan).

While the FBI did poke around a bit, they and U.S. Customs obviously ignored the threat enough for the successful and horrible attack by Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar, who placed bombs in the middle of a crowd at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in a region known for terrorist activity, and as a foreign national, could have been expelled permanently had he stayed the 180-day limit. He returned in 178 days and only after two of his known radicalized contacts were killed by Russian forces in the same direct area in which he was traveling. It was not confirmed if he had actually met up with either.

While this example is not regarding political opposition info, it is a reminder that information from anywhere could be useful and necessary to know. There are plenty of scenarios when an American president ought to simply listen to information offered. Of course, you consider the source and, if warranted, alert the proper authorities.

A reminder that the American mission in space is only made possible by Russia allowing us to travel back and forth in their vehicles. Russia was instrumental in helping us defeat ISIS.

That said, Russia is no doubt adversarial in many differing national interests between our two nations. But there are common interests between the two nations as well.

I have no desire to see Russia interfere with American elections. I also think we can practice what we preach. Bill Clinton acknowledged that he attempted to covertly interfere with Israeli elections in 1996 and we've meddled across the globe, including in 1996 Russia.

There are two sides to every story, but you still have to sift through them to find the truth.

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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