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Judicial Watch (JW) announced on Friday they had “received letters from both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) stating they will neither confirm nor deny the existence of emails and other communications related to CIA official Eric Ciaramella, who reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.”
These letters were received in response to two December 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed after the CIA and DOJ failed to respond to November 2019 requests for communications between Ciaramella and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and/or the Special Counsel’s Office and all of Ciaramella’s emails from June 1, 2016, to November 12, 2019.
The CIA’s response stated:
In accordance with section 3.6(a) of Executive Order 13526, the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to the requests. The fact of the existence or nonexistence of such records is itself exempt from FO IA under exemption (b )(3) and Section 6 of the CIA Act of I 949, 50 U.S.C. § 3507, and, to the extent your request could relate to CIA intelligence sources and methods information, the fact of the existence or nonexistence of such records is exempt from FOIA under exemption (b)( I) and exemption (b)(3) in conjunction with Section 102A(i)(l) of the National Security Act of 1947, 50 U.S.C § 3024(i)( I).
This completes our response to the above referenced cases.
The organization received a similar letter from the DOJ. The letter, signed by DOJ attorney Timothy Ziese stated, “I have decided to refuse to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records.”
JW reported that Ciaramella’s name appears in a footnote in the Mueller report.
It concerns a May 2017 meeting between President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office:
(5/9/17 White House Document, “Working Visit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia”) … (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). [Emphasis added] The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller…. (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). [Emphasis added]
Information about this meeting was subsequently leaked to The New York Times.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “The CIA and Justice Department are covering up information about the alleged whistleblower behind the abusive impeachment of President Trump. CIA operative Ciaramella is documented to be involved in the Russia collusion investigation and was a key CIA operative on Ukraine in the both the Obama and Trump White Houses. The incredible secrecy about his activities shows that the DOJ and CIA are trying to cover-up rather than expose any agency abuses that led to unprecedented attacks on President Trump.”
Ciaramella is believed to be the whistleblower who filed the complaint about President Trump’s July 25, 2019 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which triggered the impeachment inquiry. Investigative journalist Paul Sperry published a report on October 30, 2019 which outed Ciaramella as the alleged “whistleblower.” Sperry’s report can be viewed here.
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson received the complaint from the whistleblower. Atkinson provided testimony before House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s impeachment panel and his remains the only transcript Schiff refuses to release to the public, out of 18.
The information that is known about Eric Ciaramella proves that he is affiliated with Obama Administration officials including former Vice President Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. If he indeed is the individual who filed the complaint, and it’s very likely that he is, then he has a lot to answer for.