In what’s hopefully a sign there’s more to come, RedState emeritus Stu Cvrk posted a fantastic column today titled, Digging Into the Corpulent Alexander Vindman. I won’t spoil your pleasure and reveal any of the interesting details except to say that I was both shocked and gratified to see this one:
Note that Investigative journalist Paul Sperry reported on Sunday that John Brennan “ran a secret task force out of Langley with its own separate budget to investigate the Trump campaign and alleged ties to Russia.”
DEVELOPING: Investigators have learned that Obama CIA Director John Brennan ran a secret task force out of Langley with its own separate budget to investigate Trump campaign and alleged ties to Russia. Task force set up before FBI officially launched its own probe on 07/31/16
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) September 8, 2020
The reason for my somewhat contradictory reaction to Sperry’s news is that we’ve known about Brennan’s secret taskforce since a June 2017 Washington Post story headlined, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.
In fact, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to it since a column from way back in March of last year.
As you can maybe guess from its headline, the point of that Washington Post story is to brush aside the obvious fact that the Russian election interference on which Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats never tire of blaming her humiliating defeat occurred on Obama’s watch. And, of course, they try to absolve Obama by blaming his failure to stop it on Republicans.
If good governance consisted of never taking responsibility for anything except your opponents’ successes, today’s Democrats would be the greatest political leaders in all of history.
This particular exercise in blame-dodging, like most of what passes for political journalism at the Washington Post, is as blatant a piece of propaganda as anything Pravda ever published. A trio of Washington Post “journalists” basically just slapped their name on a story written by a bunch of anonymous high-level Obama administration officials.
The accounts of meetings only attended by a handful of intelligence bureau chiefs and their inner thoughts and objectives had to come from one or more of Hillary Clinton’s three Obama administration stooges; CIA Director, John Brennan (Moe ), FBI Director James Comey (Larry), and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Curly).
The propaganda is so over the top that it’s actually kind of funny. Though, of course, not nearly as funny as it would be if we could get those three to start poking each other’s eyes out and hitting each other in the head with hammers. But that Washington Post hymn to Obama’s beneficent wisdom is all we’ve got for now, so it’ll have to do.
The Post informs us that “Obama’s approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious,” and “often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Don’t make things worse.” We also learn of his “determination to avoid politicizing the Russia issue.”
Don’t you just miss him already?
CIA director John Brennan “move[s] swiftly to schedule private briefings with congressional leaders,” but “getting appointments with certain Republicans proved difficult.”
The White House is “[s]tung by the reaction” of Republicans, having “hoped that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective.”
Republican objections to letting Obama’s crooked gang of incompetents muck around in state election systems under the guise of “cybersecurity assistance” are described as “partisan squabble.”
But in the midst of this naked attempt to absolve Obama and his people of any blame, we get a typical example of how unbelievably stupid they all are. You see, whichever stooge or stooges wrote the Washington Post story wound up revealing the existence of Moe’s secret task force when they tried to show how hard Obama’s people were working to stop the Russians.
Moreover, when you add other information we learned later, a pretty good picture of what they were up to emerges along with some interesting facts about other projects the seditious cabal took on.
For example, it turns out they wrote the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment validating that Putin sent the most incompetent agents in all of history on one of its most significant missions when, for some reason, he took it upon himself to balance out all the corporate media’s election interference to make sure America had someone competent at the helm instead of a wretchedly corrupt mentally deteriorating bungler.
I’m talking about Hillary Clinton, not the one they’re running this year.
Even without knowing the January 2017 ICA was a Three Stooges production, the only thing it shows is that, if this is the best they could do, there couldn’t possibly be a shred of evidence that Russia interfered with the election.
Some of the main evidence cited are press reports of public statements Vladimir Putin made. The last 7 of its 12 pages – and I’m not kidding here – consist of a 2013 report on the news outlet Russia Today that is itself just a cut-and-paste job from the internet.
And, besides looking like a homework assignment done at the last minute by a stoned high school student who ran out of his ADHD medication, it actually includes this caveat – again, not kidding:
Judgements are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.
Moreover, we found out a few months ago that the president of the DNC tech firm that was the only entity allowed to examine their servers testified to congress that there was, in fact, no evidence that the Russians stole a single file. And, there’s a lot more that’s wrong with the story he’s telling besides that.
If Hillary Clinton and her acolytes hadn’t shrieked about Russian election interference to deflect all the revelations about her corruption and incompetence WikiLeaks published and undermine Trump’s presidency, we literally would have barely heard anything about it. That’s the only real purpose the story ever served.
There’s a mountain of other conclusive reasons we know that the Russians weren’t responsible for any of the proof WikiLeaks revealed to the American people about Hillary Clinton’s gross unfitness for office.
But, honestly, even if they were, I would take the kind of election interference that reveals the truth over the kind practiced by CNN, the Washington Post, and the rest of the corporate media which deals in propaganda and lies any day of the year no matter who it came from.
Since writing about Moe’s secret task force last year, I’ve been frustrated that so much attention has been paid to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation but almost none to its top-secret shadow.
Both Comey and Peter Strzok were involved in Crossfire Hurricane as well as Brennan’s operation and, as Stu suggests, they were basically just different official hats the seditious cabal put on.
Last month I pointed out that the same is true of Mueller’s Independent Counsel Investigation. It was just “the new, more powerful, identity Crossfire Hurricane took on after it faked its own death.” And the way Congressional Republicans tend to fully recognize that the FBI investigation was corrupt but somehow treat Mueller (aka Shemp) and his team who officially took it over as somehow more legit makes no sense at all.
But even though the seditious cabal’s third incarnation under the guise of Shemp’s investigation hasn’t received nearly the attention it deserves, it’s been a source of frustration to me that what may be it’s very first incarnation as lead-stooge Brennan’s top-secret task force has received virtually none.
So it’s nice to hear that investigators are finally paying attention to an issue I reported on last year. And I thought our readers might be interested in learning more about what Brennan was up to now that it’s in the news. So, without further ado, here’s an updated version of my column from last year headlined:
Obama’s OTHER Russian-Election-Interference investigation.
According to that June 2017 Washington Post story, sometime in the summer of 2016, Brennan received,
a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.
But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.
The Post is cagey about exactly when Brennan received this alleged “intelligence bombshell.” All we know for sure is that it must have been in or shortly before “early August,” since that’s when he sent it to the White House “in an envelope that “carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.” And he couldn’t have wasted much time before apprising Obama.
After consulting Obama, the Post tells us that Brennan,
convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI…
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.
Since Crossfire Hurricane began on July 31, Brennan’s investigation must have begun at around exactly the same time. If Paul’s Sperry’s tweet posted above is right, it started before Crossfire Hurricane, though that would place the date in July meaning that the Post’s claim that Obama wasn’t informed until early August is a little off. But the two investigations had to be opened within a week or so of each other unless the Post’s dates are way off.
And, even apart from some of Brennan’s team also coming from the FBI, we know that Comey was fully involved in Brennan’s investigation from its inception since, according to the Post, the evidence produced was initially shown only to Comey, Clapper, Susan Rice, and Loretta Lynch.
Moreover, it appears that Peter Strzok, who ran and, according to Lisa Page’s testimony, even initiated Crossfire Hurricane, was also a member of the team working for Brennan!
You see, the Post reports that the Obama administration’s January 6, 2017, Intelligence Community Assessment alleging that the Russians conducted cyber-espionage on Trump’s behalf “was based largely on the work done by” Brennan’s investigators.
That’s confirmed by Clapper’s testimony to the Senate that the ICA was the product of “two dozen” “hand-picked analysts” from the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Apart from the Post using the words “several dozen” instead of “two dozen,” that’s exactly how they describe Brennan’s team.
But, according to a May 2018 piece by Paul Sperry, “[a] source close to the House [of Representatives Intelligence Committee Russia] investigation” reports that Peter Strzok was “was one of the authors of the ICA “ and “the intermediary between Brennan and Comey.”
Independently of Sperry’s source, before he was fired Strzok lead the FBI’s Counterespionage section.
So, it makes sense he would be one of the FBI agents Brennan chose and Comey’s representative on the task force. And Sperry’s source received confirmation from text messages between Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page discussing a meeting between Strzok and Clapper in the weeks before the ICA’s release.
Given that (i) Comey was intimately involved in Brennan’s investigation, (ii) Brennan had agents from the FBI on his team, and (iii) it appears Peter Strzok numbered among them, contra Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes assertion, it’s tough to believe that a hard partition existed around the FBI investigation. Even more so given that Brennan’s investigation and Crossfire Hurricane must have started around the same time.
So the question is raised of exactly what information might have been shared and how much about Crossfire Hurricane made its way to President Obama. Regardless, there’s no question that he knew all about what Brennan was up to.
But what’s just as interesting is the nature of that “intelligence bombshell” Obama’s people used as the predicate for convening Brennan’s task force.
The Steele Dossier
As Margot Cleveland pointed out in March of 2019, despite DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s subsequent finding that the infamous Steele Dossier played no role in opening up Crossfire Hurricane, it’s very implausible to suppose the FBI didn’t know about it when the investigation began.
We know from DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr’s testimony that the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, had an FBI handler, Special Agent Mike Gaeta, to whom he gave two of his reports. As Cleveland also notes:
Ohr’s testimony confirms press reports that Steele flew to Rome to meet with an FBI contact and later, with approval of the assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, “on July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.” Nuland would later appear on “Face the Nation,” acknowledging that Steele passed on “two to four pages of short points,” and that their immediate reaction was “this needs to go to the FBI. . . . That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”
When you add the fact that Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the Steele dossier for Clinton’s campaign, it becomes a bit hard to believe that neither Comey, McCabe, nor Strzok had heard anything about it when Crossfire Hurricane was opened.
But the fact that Brennan’s task force was responsible for the January 2017 ICA raises questions about whether portions of Steele’s completely discredited pile of rubbish might have also comprised the so-called “intelligence bombshell” used to justify Brennan’s shadow investigation.
For, Paul Sperry also reported in May of 2018 that Obama’s National Security Agency Director, Michael Rogers “stated in a classified letter to Congress” that the Steele Dossier played a role in producing the ICA. Indeed, according to Sperry, Adm. Rogers told congress “a two-page summary of the dossier” appears as an appendix to the classified version. And, as Sperry notes, James Clapper has confirmed that Brennan’s task force used the Steele dossier.
But that Washington Post story revealing the existence of Brennan’s secret task force mentions Adm. Rogers too. It reports that he was “reluctant to view” the intelligence which Brennan used to justify his investigation “with high confidence” because it came from another country.
The Steele dossier is, of course, named after former British spy, Christopher Steele, who authored the seventeen memos it comprises. And according to a November 2017 story appearing in the Guardian, Brennan received the report used to justify his investigation from none other than British intelligence agency GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, who “flew to the US to personally brief” him.
The Washington Post tells us that the “intelligence bombshell” Brennan received from Britain came from a highly-placed source within the Russian government who alleged that Putin had instigated a cyber-intelligence operation whose aim was to “defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect…Donald Trump.”
And, it just so happens that Steele’s first memo, dated June 20, 2016, alleges the existence of a Russian espionage operation to help Trump that was “supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin” based on information from a “former senior [Russian] intelligence officer.” Indeed, Steele’s August 5 memo describes this operation as designed “to aid Trump and,” using the Post’s exact words, “damage Clinton.”
Steele’s July 19th memo also says that these efforts included “state-sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia.”
In short, everything the Post says was included in the report from British intelligence used to justify Brennan’s investigation happens to have been in the memos already produced by ex-British spy Christopher Steele when Brennan received it.
If the “intelligence bombshell” used to justify Brennan’s investigation wasn’t the first few memos of the Steele dossier that’s one hell of a coincidence.
Much attention has been paid to Crossfire Hurricane and rightly so. But it’s well past time that more was given to Obama’s other higher-level shadow investigation into the non-existent Russian efforts to help Trump win the White House to determine what information was shared, if Brennan’s operation also involved any spying on Trump’s campaign, and whether it was justified by the first memos in the completely discredited, Clinton-funded Steele dossier.
Let’s hope Paul Sperry is right and someone is finally looking into what the seditious cabal who ran Crossfire Hurricane was up to while operating in the guise of Brennan’s secret task force.
It couldn’t have possibly been anything wholesome, that’s for sure.
[An earlier version misread an ambiguity in Sperry’s tweet. h/t @Goldenman_Doq for pointing it out.]