CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2016, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the Islamic State. Brennan said that the Islamic State remains “formidable” and “resilient,” is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for its territorial losses in the Middle East. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The New York Times reports that “according to a person briefed on the inquiry,” U. S. Attorney John Durham, who is leading the investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia investigation, has requested former CIA Director John Brennan’s “communications records including emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A.” Durham’s team is also said to be scrutinizing prior testimony given by Brennan.
According to the Times, Durham wants to learn what “Mr. Brennan told other officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, about his and the CIA’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.” Additionally, Durham is trying to determine if “Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference.”
Their source also said the team has been examining the roles of the agencies which contributed to the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). This would include the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency. The report concludes that the Russians had meddled in the 2016 U.S. election and “aspired to help” Trump win the race.
Durham’s team is especially interested in two areas where there was serious disagreement among intelligence officials. First, they are trying to determine if the Russians actually wanted to help elect Donald Trump win or if they merely want to create chaos in the election. Second, they are investigating the role of Christopher Steele’s dossier in the ICA. There was disagreement among officials over whether or not to include it.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz addressed this in his recent report. The report stated, “Mr. Steele’s information “was a topic of significant discussion within the FBI and with the other agencies participating in drafting” the declassified intelligence assessment about Russia interference.” The IG report said FBI shared the dossier with “officials from multiple agencies drafting the assessment.”
Comey told the IG that he had also “briefed Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and other officials including the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, about the bureau’s efforts to assess the information in the dossier. He said that analysts had found it to be “credible on its face.””
However, CIA analysts did not want to include the dossier in the assessment because it had not been vetted. Surprisingly, Brennan’s allies said he did not want it to be included.
“Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the FBI, pushed back, according to the inspector general report, accusing the intelligence chiefs of trying to minimize Steele’s information.”
In the end, they struck a compromise and “included information about the dossier in the appendix. After BuzzFeed News published the dossier in January 2017, days after the intelligence assessment about Russia’s election sabotage was released, Comey complained to Mr. Clapper about his decision to publicly state that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment” about the document’s reliability.”
According to the IG report. Comey said the FBI had concluded that Steele was reliable and that Clapper had ignored Comey.
During Congressional testimony, Brennan said he had no firsthand knowledge of any attempts by the FBI to vet the dossier. Clapper, testified “at a separate hearing that no evidence existed in the entire assessment to definitively say whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with Russian officials. He also said that the intelligence community “couldn’t corroborate the sourcing” of the Steele Dossier.
Anyway, John Brennan is under investigation.
How long will it take before John Brennan starts “cooperating” with John Durham’s team?