On May 23rd, President Trump granted Barr the authority to declassify any documents he and his team required to conduct their investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia probe. The President also ordered the intelligence community to comply with all of Barr’s requests. According to Real Clear Investigation’s Paul Sperry, inside sources say that “establishment” officials inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) have continued to withhold documents which Barr has requested.
Both the Director, Dan Coats, and his deputy, Sue Gordon, left the agency on August 15th. Gordon was said to be a close ally of former-CIA Director Brennan’s.
Although Coats and Gordon have departed, agency officials have continued to “drag their feet.”
Sperry writes that the specific documents being withheld include:
1. Evidence that President Obama’s CIA, FBI, and Justice Department illegally eavesdropped on the Trump campaign.
2. President Obama and CIA chief John Brennan: key briefing still under wraps.
3. An August 2016 briefing CIA Director John Brennan hand-delivered in a sealed envelope to Obama, containing information from what Brennan claimed was “a critical informant close to Putin.” The informant is believed to have actually been a Russian source recycled from the largely debunked dossier compiled by ex-British agent Christopher Steele for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
An email exchange from December 2016 between Brennan and FBI Director James Comey, in which Brennan is said to have argued for using the dossier in early drafts of the task force’s much-hyped January 2017 intelligence assessment. That spread the narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the alleged Clinton campaign hacking to steal the election for Trump.
Copies of all FBI, CIA and State Department records related to Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor whose statements regarding Papadopoulos allegedly triggered the original Russia-collusion probe.
4. Transcripts of 53 closed-door interviews of FBI and Justice Department officials and other witnesses conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. The files were sent to the agency last November.
The DNI was created after 9/11 and is now the “gatekeeper” for much of the government’s classified information.
A source “close to the situation” told Sperry that, “There’s been a huge impasse in getting key documents to Congress and declassified during the Russia investigation. Several House members, especially Devin Nunes [of House Intelligence] and Mark Meadows [of House Oversight)] were upset that Coats refused to cooperate in releasing this explosive material to Congress…It was clear Coats was not acting on the president’s behalf and had been co-opted by the intelligence bureaucracy.”
Trump has reacted by shaking up the senior leadership of the agency. He has said he would like to eliminate the agency altogether, however, because it was established by legislation, he cannot do so. But he can certainly downsize it.
Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire is currently the acting DNI. President Trump is expected to nominate a permanent Director after the Labor Day holiday.
National security consultant Christopher C. Hull told Sperry that “a new director might help break the logjam in declassifying documents for Barr’s investigation.” He added that, “it’s now toweringly obvious that some portion of U.S. intelligence worked to undermine Trump.”
Trump is said to have eight names on his shortlist. The top two on this list are Pete Hoekstra and Fred Fleitz. Hoekstra, currently the US ambassador to the Netherlands, is a former Congressman.
Fred Fleitz is a “20-year veteran of the CIA who also worked for Hoekstra on the House intelligence panel as staff director and, most recently, for Trump in the White House as an adviser on national security.”
The Director of National Intelligence is a cabinet level position and therefore, the nominee must be approved by the Senate.