It looks like James Clapper and John Brennan are back in the News.
The much-hyped Obama intelligence report that determined “Vladimir Putin ordered” Hillary Clinton’s campaign e-mails hacked and leaked “to help Trump’s chances of victory”…matches the main allegations leveled by the Clinton-paid dossier on Trump, which wormed its way into intelligence channels, in addition to the FBI, Justice Department and State Department, during the 2016 campaign.
After learning Obama Justice and FBI officials relied heavily on unsubstantiated rumors in the dossier to wiretap a Trump adviser during the election, congressional leaders now suspect the dossier also informed Obama intelligence officials who compiled the ICA.
The report was released Jan. 6, 2017 — the same day intelligence officials attached a written summary of the dossier to a highly classified Russia briefing they gave Obama about the dossier, and the day after Obama held a secret White House meeting to discuss the dossier with his national-security adviser and FBI director.
On Tuesday, Nunes sent letters to Obama intel officials responsible for the report. He demanded former top spook John Brennan and intel czar James Clapper provide answers about how they used the dossier in intel reports and when they learned the Clinton camp paid for it.
The Defense Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security, State Department’s intelligence bureau and other agencies with relevant expertise on Russia were excluded, in violation of normal rules for drafting such assessments. And in another departure from custom, the report is missing any dissenting views or an annex with evaluations of the conclusions from outside reviewers.
You can find my discussion of the Nunes letter along with an intriguing interview here.
From the article:
Chairman Devin Nunes posed a string of dossier-related questions to current and former intelligence, law enforcement and State Department officials. Among them were Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan
He specifically wants to know when they learned the document was funded by Democratic sources, and how it was used to obtain one or more surveillance warrants at the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
We’ve long suspected that Clapper and Brennan were already ensnared in the Inspector General’s Investigation – see John Brennan & James Clapper – Complicity, Lies & Bill Priestap.
Clapper was the architect of the report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. It’s this report the Post refers to.
I first discussed the report in Russian Dolls – An Intelligence Fabrication. I discussed it again in Political Hacks, Our Intelligence Agencies & Putin.
Clapper’s Assessment Report was the third in series of reports – each building on the other.
The first report, an assessment of Russian Intervention, was made in an October 7, 2016, Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence noting the Intelligence Community was confident of Russian involvement in our election.
Later testimony by our various Intelligence Directors confirmed that Russia is always involved in Presidential elections.
The October report was followed up by a December 29, 2016, Joint Analysis by Homeland Security and the FBI titled GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity.
This report was meant to directly tie Russian hacking to the election.
What the report actually did was use technical language to describe a generalized hacking process – and the means by which hacking and phishing can be generally prevented.
I strongly encourage you to read the report. Its lack of actual detail is eye-opening.
On January 6, 2017, the DNI issued a third, more press friendly, report – utilizing data from the earlier two reports – and intelligence assessments from the heads of the CIA, FBI and NSA.
This report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections was highly generalized with very little in the way of substance.
And it was used to push the entire Russia Narrative.
Clapper took data from the first two reports – along with information from the Dossier – and packaged it into a media friendly publication that used broad assertions, sweeping statements and very little factual data.
The report was technically created by a joint effort between the CIA (former Director John Brennan), FBI (former Director James Comey) and the NSA (current Director Mike Rogers) – and assembled by the DNI (former Director James Clapper).
The joint report contains one significant caveat:
CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has only moderate confidence.
Actually, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers stated in Senate hearing testimony that his confidence did not reach even this threshold:
I wouldn’t call it a discrepancy, I’d call it an honest difference of opinion between three different organizations and in the end I made that call.…It didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.
In essence, the DNI’s report was constructed by just three men – former DNI Director Clapper, former CIA Director Brennan and former FBI Director Comey.
This “report” was then used to push the entire Russian Narrative we have been subjected to as a nation.
All these Congressional hearings, all the media reports and hysteria – stemming from reports supposedly blessed by “all 17 intelligence agencies” – actually stem from reports constructed by just three men.
Former DNI Director Clapper, former CIA Director Brennan and former FBI Director Comey.
Clapper did an October 25, 2017 interview on CNN:
When we did our Intelligence Committee assessment, we were aware that there had been research done and that some Republican candidates as a matter of fact had contracted through I think Fusion GPS to obtain what it later became much known as a dossier.
If Clapper knew that Republicans originally contracted with Fusion GPS, he had to know that Fusion later contracted with the Clinton Campaign to produce the Dossier.
We had some concerns about it from the standpoint of its sourcing which we couldn’t corroborate.
But at the same time, some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community assessment which from other sources in which we had very high confidence to it.
Clapper either used or affirmed some data from the Steele Dossier in the IC Assessment Report.
On January 11, 2017, Clapper issued a formal statement after meeting with President Trump regarding Intelligence Leaks:
We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it.
I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.
Every single assertion in Clapper’s statement is factually incorrect based on what we now have knowledge of.
The Intelligence Community:
knew of the Dossier from the start.
helped in the Dossier’s creation.
directly leaked information – almost certainly including Clapper himself.
relied on the Dossier in obtaining the FISA Warrant.
relied on the Dossier – at least in part – in the IC Assessment Report.
repeatedly lied about doing so.
Interestingly, despite full awareness of the Dossier, Clapper has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the FISA Warrant.
This was simply an extension of uh, the original, uh, FISA request. Meaning that, or implying, that apparently, there was information that was considered, uh, ‘valuable’, that was being obtained, via the initial FISA request.
When the time was up for the initial FISA report, FISA request, then it was time to get an extension.
CIA Director John Brennan also denied knowing the Clinton Campaign commissioned the Steele Dossier. He also denied ever relying on it. Both of these statements are almost certainly untruthful.
GOWDY: Director Brennan, do you know who commissioned the steel dossier?
BRENNAN: I don’t.
GOWDY: Do you know if the FBI paid for any — portion of the steel dossier?
BRENNAN: I don’t know. I know that there are press reports related to that, but I — I don’t know, I have no firsthand knowledge of that.
GOWDY: Do you know whether any of the underlying allegations made in the steel dossier were ever tested, probed, examined, cross-examined, whether the sources were examined for reliability, credibility?
BRENNAN: I know that there were efforts made by the Bureau to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that was valid, but I just — I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of it.
GOWDY: Do you know if the Bureau ever relied on the steel dossier as any — as part of any court filings, applications, petitions, pleadings?
BRENNAN: I have no awareness.
GOWDY: Did the CIA rely on it?
GOWDY: Why not?
BRENNAN: Because we — we didn’t, it wasn’t part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had. It was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done. It was — it was not.
One other item to note.
During Congressional testimony, Brennan repeatedly made the assertion that he turned over any and all evidence the CIA had to the FBI.
BRENNAN: It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign was shared with the bureau [FBI].
BRENNAN: … and we were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.
As we now know, the FBI relied almost exclusively on the Dossier to secure a FISA Warrant.
The Dossier was the entirety of the evidence.
You can see where this headed.
Clapper and Brennan have some questions to answer.
Here are some excerpts from a broader timeline:
- Mid/Late July 2016 – FBI begins counter-intelligence investigation into Russia and Trump.
- August/September 2016 – CIA Director Brennan meets with Gang of Eight suggesting Russia is helping Trump.
- October 7 2016 – DNI James Clapper officially accuses the Russian government of hacking the DNC “to interfere with the US election process.”
- October 21 2016 – DOJ & FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (Title I – not Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC.
- December 9 2016 – The CIA [Brennan] tells Congress that Russia conducted hacking operations to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning presidency.
- December 9 2016 – Obama orders a full review of Russian-election hacking.
- December 15 2016 – James Clapper signs off on Executive Order 12333 changes impacting the NSA – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
- January 3 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
- January 5 2017 – Obama, James Comey, AG Sally Yates, Joe Biden and Susan Rice have follow-on conversation after briefing by IC leadership (Clapper & Brennan) on Russian hacking during 2016 election. Rice will document this meeting in an email to herself on January 20, 2017.
- January 6 2017 – Comey briefs President-Elect Trump on existence of “salacious and unverified” Russian “Dossier”.
- January 6 2017 – Within hours of Comey’s meeting with Trump, the Trump/Comey meeting and the existence of the Dossier was leaked (James Clapper named as possible leaker).
- January 6 2017 – Clapper and Rogers testify before Senate Armed Services Committee. Clapper reaffirms his belief that Russians hacked the election.
- January 10 2017 – U.S. intelligence chiefs Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Rogers brief Obama on Russian “Dossier” and attempts to “influence” Trump.
- January 12 2017 – The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General announces initiation of a review into actions taken by the DOJ and FBI in advance of the 2016 election.
- January 19 2017 – Obama’s top intelligence and law-enforcement deputies meet to talk about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak.
- January 20 2017 – President Trump’s Inauguration.
- January 20 2017 – Susan Rice sends email regarding January 5, 2017 meeting to herself.
The January 5, 2017 meeting was not officially documented. But it’s at this meeting that DNI Clapper presents his Russian Intelligence Report to Obama. The Steele Dossier was attached as an appendix.
The meeting would later be revealed in a Susan Rice email – discussed here.
This implies that the January 10, 2017 meeting was a formality – NSA Rogers was not included in the undocumented January 5, 2017 meeting.
Brennan and Clapper have been complicit from the very beginning.
And Devin Nunes knows it.
newer post Adam Schiff’s Memo & A Response by Nunes