An article, Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan’s Denial of Reliance on Dossier, caught the attention of a bunch of folks:
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.
“Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA,” according to the source.
As a result of the article, I’m re-upping relevant portions from a February 23, 2108 post, Did Brennan & Clapper Use the Steele Dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment:
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. I’ve previously discussed the report here and here.
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 (just-retired 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 Intelligence Community Assessment was constructed by just three men – former DNI Director Clapper, former CIA Director Brennan and to a lesser extent, 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 and Brennan affirmed – and used – 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 (Brennan/Clapper):
- knew of the Dossier from the start.
- helped in the Dossier’s creation.
- directly leaked information – 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.
We also know the Intelligence Community Assessment did not employ proper analytic tradecraft.
Interestingly, despite full awareness of the Dossier, Clapper 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 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.
I have long maintained Brennan stands at the center of everything. Clapper provided the assists.
For more on Brennan’s Role see:
- Clapper Leaks Twice to CNN. Brennan Stands in the Shadows. A Russian Narrative is Born
- The Nunes Interview – “No Official Intelligence Used” & Problems for Brennan
- The Electronic Communication, Redacted Names & John Brennan
- John Brennan’s Role in the FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation
older post Heroes in the Room