James Clapper appears to have an unusually casual relationship with the Truth.
Clapper – along with John Brennan – was the architect of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.
The DNI’s Intelligence Community Assessment was effectively constructed by three men:
Former DNI James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and to a lesser extent, former FBI Director James Comey (Strzok was also involved).
The ICA was used to push the Russian Narrative. And despite assurances from both Clapper and Brennan, the Dossier was used in the ICA.
Clapper denied using the Steele Dossier in the ICA during Congressional testimony:
We did not include it in the body of our intelligence community assessment. We couldn’t corroborate the sourcing, particularly the second and third-order sources.
Although carefully spoken – with the nuance missed by most – even this misleading parsing of words was not correct.
Some of the substantive content of the dossier we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community assessment from other sources in which we had very high confidence.
When we did our Intelligence Committee assessment, we were aware that there had been research done and that some Republican candidates had contracted through – I think – Fusion GPS.
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.
The Intelligence Community Assessment is IC gibberish.
It also contained one significant caveat:
CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has only moderate confidence.
NSA Director Rogers went further during Congressional testimony:
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.
Meanwhile, Clapper was just getting warmed up.
Clapper also denied leaking to the press during Congressional testimony:
GRASSLEY: Have you ever been an anonymous source in a news report about matters relating to Mr. Trump, his associates or Russia’s attempt to meddle in the election?
GRASSLEY: Did you ever authorize someone else at your organization to be an anonymous source in a news report about Mr. Trump or his associates?
On April 27, 2018, the House Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of their complete report on Russian election interference – Report on Russian Active Measures.
The report included a number of Findings:
Finding #16: The Intelligence Community Assessment judgments on Putin’s strategic intentions did not employ proper analytic tradecraft.
Finding #44: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN.
Finding #42: The leaks prior to the classified Intelligence Community Assessment’s publication, particularly leaks occurring after the U.S. presidential election, correlate to specific language found in the Intelligence Community Assessment.
Finding #40: Leaks of classified information regarding Russian intentions to sow discord in the U.S. presidential election began prior to election – November 8, 2016.
Finding #41: Leaks of classified information alleging Russian intentions to help elect candidate Trump increased dramatically after the election day – November 8, 2016.
The Intelligence community Assessment was released internally on January 5, 2017.
On this same day, Obama held a secret White House meeting to discuss the dossier with Susan Rice and FBI Director Comey.
Rice would later send herself an email documenting the meeting.
A declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment was released on January 6, 2017.
The same day Brennan, Clapper and Comey attached a written summary of the dossier to the classified briefing they gave Obama.
Later the same day (January 6), Comey met with President Trump to inform him of the Dossier.
This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the ICA and the Steele Dossier.
From Comey’s Memos:
There was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to the PE [President-Elect] about alone or in a very small group.
I then executed the session exactly as I had planned. I told him [President Trump] that I wanted to meet with him to tell him more about what is in the reports written by [redacted – likely Steele]. I said that the written reports themselves were [redacted] and the content known at IC senior level and that I didn’t want him to get caught cold by some of the detail.
I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [REDACTED] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.
Clapper directed FBI Director Comey to speak with then President-Elect Trump.
Comey would only inform President Trump of the “salacious” details contained within the Dossier:
Because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about.
Clapper told Comey specifically what to say to then President-Elect Trump.
These are Comey’s words from an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
From the Tapper/Comey Interview transcript:
TAPPER: Did you brief him about any — any of the other things in the Steele dossier, claims that his associates, Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, were potentially working with the Russians? Or was it only about the prostitutes?
COMEY: It was only about the salacious part of it.
TAPPER: Why? Why only about that?
COMEY: Because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about because we knew it and thought it was about to become public.
Shortly after Comey’s meeting with President Trump both the Trump/Comey meeting and the existence of the Dossier were leaked to CNN.
The significance of the meeting was material – as Comey noted in his Memo:
Media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material.
The media had widely dismissed the Dossier as unsubstantiated and unreportable.
It was only after learning that Comey briefed President-Elect Trump that CNN reported on the Dossier.
DNI James Clapper personally leaked Comey’s meeting with President Trump to CNN.
From the House Intelligence Committee Report:
The Committee’s investigation revealed that President-elect Trump was indeed briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier and when questioned by the Committee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that he confirmed the existence of the dossier to the media.
When initially asked about leaks related to the ICA in July 2017, former DNI Clapper flatly denied discussing the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.
Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper, and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic.
Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed Obama and President-elect Trump, on the Christopher Steele information, a two-page summary of which was enclosed in the highly-classified version of the ICA.
On January 10, 2017, CNN published an article by Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein:
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible.
The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
This article would later be updated and have a January 12, 2017 date.
It unleashed a firestorm of controversy.
The next day, on January 11, 2017, DNI Clapper issued a formal statement:
This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last Friday. I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.
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.
However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.
President-elect Trump again affirmed his appreciation for all the men and women serving in the Intelligence Community, and I assured him that the IC stands ready to serve his Administration and the American people.
Clapper’s entire statement was a formal lie. Every word of it.
Note specifically how Clapper’s statement reaffirmed the Dossier and specified that Clapper had now discussed the Dossier with President-Elect Trump.
- Directed Comey to discuss the Dossier with President-Elect Trump.
- Told Comey to inform Trump of only the salacious details.
- Leaked details of Comey’s meeting with President-Elect Trump to CNN.
- Issued a statement condemning his own leak.
- Further legitimized the Dossier.
On January 10, 2017, immediately following the CNN story, Buzzfeed published the Steele Dossier.
The Trump-Russia Conspiracy was born.
The CNN report would establish the second phase of the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative. It would lead to AG Sessions’ recusal – and the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel.
Small wonder that President Trump began to question the motives of the Intelligence Community…
Despite full awareness of the Dossier, Clapper repeatedly denied any knowledge of the Carter Page FISA Warrant and continued to deny leaking to the media.
Clapper did so on March 5, 2017. during a Meet the Press interview:
From the interview:
TODD: And at this point, you can’t confirm or deny whether that [FISA] exists?
CLAPPER: I can deny it.
TODD: There is no FISA court order?
CLAPPER: Not to know my knowledge.
Clapper again denied any knowledge of the Page FISA Warrant on September 24, 2017 – but in this interview Clapper appeared a bit more…defensive:
Clapper: I can’t comment on a specific FISA Order. I said some things about this on Meet the Press on the 5th of March and I stand on that statement…I can’t confirm or deny it…
On January 31, 2018, Clapper nervously executed something of an about face:
Clapper: 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.
FISAs have finite dates. In other words they have deadlines; they aren’t indefinite.
When the time was up for the initial FISA report, FISA request, then it was time to get an extension.
On its face, I don’t know that the dossier played very much, in this at all….
As it turned out the Dossier played a huge role in the FISA Warrant.
Deputy FBI Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
Ask yourself what the chances are that Clapper had no knowledge of that Carter Page FISA.
And if Clapper really didn’t know what does that say of Clapper & the FBI.
After all, Clapper was the Director of National Intelligence.
One last thing.
I’ve written on FISA abuses uncovered by NSA Dir Rogers.
And how DOJ’s NSD Head John Carlin intentionally hid these abuses from the FISA Court.
It’s highly improbable that Clapper didn’t know about the FISA Abuses as well.
The National Security Division and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are jointly required to routinely review all Intelligence Agency U.S. person queries of content to ensure the Section 702 queries satisfy the legal standard.
The NSD – with notice to the ODNI – is required to report any incidents of Agency noncompliance or misconduct to the FISA Court.
On January 7, 2016, the NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance.
The report detailed a number of abuses & problems.
Neither the NSD (Carlin) or ODNI (Clapper) disclosed this report to the FISA Court.
The NSD and ODNI perform the ongoing reviews of Intelligence Agency Section 702 use.
It is simply not possible they were unaware of the NSA Inspector General’s Report.
James Clapper had to know of this Report.
He also knew the FISA Court remained completely in the dark.
One final data point:
DNI James Clapper & Defense Secretary Ash Carter submitted a recommendation that Rogers be removed from his post as NSA Director.
The move to fire Rogers – which failed – originated sometime in mid-October 2016.
Exactly when Director Rogers was preparing to present his findings to the FISA Court.
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