John Brennan has issued a response to the release of his handwritten notes of a White House briefing, where it was revealed that senior members of the Obama Administration, including Pres. Obama himself, were advised of information obtained by the Intelligence Community about a “plan” approved by Hillary Clinton to “vilify” Donald Trump by linking him to Russian election interference.
The immediate reaction last week to these revelations, when they were disclosed in a letter from DNI John Ratcliffe to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, was to wave off the allegations of their having been a “plan” by calling the intercepted material Russian “disinformation” — all part of the overall, Russian election interference efforts designed to undermine Clinton’s campaign to win the presidency and to support Donald Trump in that regard.
Since his actual notes of the meeting were released this morning, Brennan has used his position as a contributor at CNN to try another tack in the effort to throw cold water on this white-hot story.
He’s been backed up in that regard by “four people familiar with the matter” – all anonymous – who have told Democrat party house scribe Natasha Bertrand at Politico:
…the Russians’ assessment of Clinton was only one part of a larger intelligence report that was billed as an initial examination of Russian cyberattacks targeting the 2016 election, and was not the reason why it was referred to the bureau.
Ummmm — ok.
An “initial examination” — in September 2016, months after the CIA and FBI began investigating suspicions of Russian election interference efforts, including the alleged “hack” of the DNC computers in May 2016.
I guess they are going to stick with that.
I, on the other hand, have this little guide to the IC’s interest in Russian activities which I refer to from time to time. I’m sure it’s not comprehensive, and there is other source material available. But the IG Report on the “Four FISAs,” at page 49, sets forth the following information gleaned from government records about the IC’s concerns regarding Russian “cyberattacks” related to the election: (emphasis added)
The Russian efforts included cyber intrusions into various political organizations, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Throughout spring and early summer 2016, the FBI became aware of specific cyber intrusions for which the Russian government was responsible, through ongoing investigations into Russian hacking operations conducted by the FBI’s Cyber Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division (CD). In March and May 2016, FBI field offices identified a spear phishing campaign by the Russian military intelligence agency, known as the General Staff Intelligence Directorate (GRU), targeting email addresses associated with the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, as well as efforts to place malware on DNC and DCCC computer networks.
The FBI had been investigating Russian cyberattacks targeting political entities since March 2016. There was no need — in SEPTEMBER 2016 — to make a referral to the FBI of a “larger intelligence report billed as an initial examination of Russian cyberattacks.”
Really, that is just “word salad” that means nothing substantively. But that is ALL Bertrand could write with the help of her “four sources” – none of whom were named or quoted – in an effort to diffuse the impact of Brennan’s notes and the Memorandum.
But Brennan’s own words on CNN are best of all. This guy is so dumb, it’s shocking that he was heading up the CIA. Talk about “failing up.” He claimed that the writings are his…
“…notes from the 2016 period when I briefed President Obama and the rest of the national security council team about what the Russians were up to, and I was giving examples of the type of access that the U.S. intelligence community had to Russian information and what the Russians were talking about and alleging.”
“[I]f, in fact, what the Russians were alleging — that Hillary was trying to highlight the reported connections between Trump and the Russians — there is nothing at all illegal about that.”
First question as a trial lawyer I would ask, with Brennan testifying and trying to keep himself out of jail: “Was it your practice to take notes about what you are briefing other people on? Was it your habit to talk — and write about what you are saying — at the same time?”
The notes in question have a redacted “source” in the margin, and the format of the notes seems to reflect that Brennan is writing what that OTHER person is telling those in attendance. That is consistent with Brennan having taken notes of what “JC” said, what “POTUS” said, what “Denis” said, and what “Susan” said. If Brennan is conducting the briefing, and Brennan is giving “examples” of the type of access the CIA had to Russian thinking, why is he writing it down, as notes to himself, the things he is saying?
So the notes DO NOT reflect Brennan “giving examples of the type of access” the CIA had to the thinking of Russian intelligence agencies. On a witness stand or otherwise testifying under oath, Brennan will be made to eat those words.
But, industrial-strength Moron comes next — his claim that, even if it was true that the Clinton Campaign “was trying to highlight the reported connections between Trump and the Russians, there is nothing illegal about that.”
In going down this path, Brennan has offered up the argument that it was, IN FACT, true that the Clinton campaign was behind the leaks and whisper campaign that DROVE the Crossfire Hurricane investigation begun on the thinnest of thin reeds of the pub talk between Ambassador Downer and George Papadopoulos.
Brennan’s “even if it was true” rationalization pins the blame for everything known as “Crossfire Hurricane” — fertilized with the bulls**t lies purchased from Christopher Steele — on Hillary Clinton, the Democrat party establishment in Congress, and the willing and complicit mainstream press.
Brennan might want to ask the CIA to bolster his security detail for the foreseeable future.