To Maintain Secrecy During Trump/Russia Meetings, Obama Officials Cut Video Feed in Situation Room

On Oct. 28, 2013, President Barack Obama and James Comey participate in the installation ceremony for Mr. Comey as FBI director at the bureau’s Washington headquarters. PHOTO: CHARLES DHARAPAK/ASSOCIATED PRESS



Breitbart’s Aaron Klein discovered some intriguing information buried deep inside a June 23, 2017 Washington Post story about the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump/Russia collusion investigation.

The article described the extraordinary measures taken by senior administration officials to ensure maximum privacy during their meetings. The most noteworthy was their practice of cutting the video feed in the situation room during their meetings, a rather Nixonian thing to do.

In an interview with Fox News last week, Attorney General William Barr said:

The thing that’s interesting about this is that this was handled at a very senior level of these departments. It wasn’t handled in the ordinary way that investigations or counterintelligence activities are conducted. It was sort of an ad hoc, small group — and most of these people are no longer with the FBI or the CIA or the other agencies involved. I think there’s a misconception out there that we know a lot about what happened. The fact of the matter is, Bob Mueller did not look at the government’s activities.

The Post’s article detailed the highly compartmentalized nature of the original Russia investigation and the manner in which other U.S. intelligence agencies were deliberately kept in the dark.


According to the Washington Post, in the summer of 2016:

CIA Director John Brennan convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI…It functioned as a “sealed compartment” hidden even from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community; a unit whose workers were all made to sign additional non-disclosure forms.”

They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.

The article said that initially, only four senior officials were allowed access to the Russian investigation intelligence. This group included Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey. (Not even their aides were allowed in the beginning.)

Adding that:

Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others. Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries — including John F. Kerry at the State Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon — arrived in envelopes that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.


These meetings began in August 2016 and officials would cut the video feed. (There is no audio feed.) Klein notes that the video feed allows aides to know when a meeting is in progress.

So, aides saw only “blacked-out” screens which was highly unusual. This was “seen as an ominous sign among lower-level White House officials who were largely kept in the dark about the Russia deliberations even as they were tasked with generating options for retaliation against Moscow.”

The January 2017 Intelligent Assessment which we’ve been hearing about lately, was written only by the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. Normally, this document includes input from all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.

Each of the three agencies assigned a rating to the “conclusion that Putin favored Trump and worked to get him elected.” The NSA had “moderate confidence” in this statement, while the FBI and the CIA had “high confidence.”

The House Intelligence Committee issued a report in April 2018 which noted the difference between the NSA’s rating and the “high confidence” ratings of the CIA and the FBI. The House Report found no evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians and stated that the IC assessment “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft, contained significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the judgments, including the failure to be independent of political considerations.”


This was not business as usual for top level Obama administration officials. Intelligence agency chiefs were painstaking in their efforts to maintain secrecy. 

Additionally, it’s hard to imagine that Obama was not involved.

And judging from comments made in his interview last week, it appears that Bill Barr is onto them.


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