by WorldTribune Staff, May 13, 2020
Newly declassified documents show that Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan “suppressed” intelligence that Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election.
The documents also revealed that more than a dozen Obama administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden asked the National Security Agency to “unmask” a U.S. citizen in classified foreign-intelligence reports that revealed the identity of Michael Flynn.
Brennan was a key player in developing the 2017 intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election. That assessment determined with “moderate” to “high” confidence that Russian President Valdimir Putin and the Kremlin actively sought to boost Donald Trump’s 2016 election chances.
The newly declassified documents “could get sticky” for Brennan, Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry reported on Tuesday.
“There’s other intel that may have been more serious suggesting that Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, rather than balancing that out in the assessment they put out there in that assessment, and set the narrative that Russia wanted Trump to win,” Henry said on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Noting that Fred Fleitz, a former CIA officer and National Security Council chief of staff, first blew the whistle on Brennan’s alleged efforts to hide this information, Henry said he has a separate intelligence source who confirmed this intelligence is among the four or five batches of documents that acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell is working to declassify.
In a Fox News op-ed last month, Fleitz, who was John Bolton’s former chief of staff, said House Intelligence Committee members told him that Brennan “suppressed facts or analysis that showed why it was not in Russia’s interests to support Trump and why Putin stood to benefit from Hillary Clinton’s election. They also told me that Brennan suppressed that intelligence over the objections of CIA analysts.”
Fleitz is also on the WorldTribune.com Board of Advisors.
“House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election,” Fleitz added. “Instead, the Brennan team included low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards to support the political claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed. They said that CIA analysts also objected to including that flawed, substandard information in the assessment.”
The Senate intelligence panel’s 158-page bipartisan report, which was heavily redacted upon release last month, said investigators found no evidence of political pressure to reach a specific conclusion and determined that the assessment by the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency “presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Brennan, a vocal Trump critic, said that the Senate Intelligence Committee report “totally validated” the 2017 intelligence community assessment.
“I’m just very glad that the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday came out with a report that totally validated the intelligence community’s assessment about Russian interference in the election in 2016 to help Donald Trump,” Brennan told Politico. “Donald Trump continues to call all these things hoaxes. They’re not. The only hoax is his representation of the facts. That’s the hoax. It’s because, I think, he has this quite understandable insecurity about what he’s done — well, this is what others have done.”
A House Intelligence Committee report released in 2018, a product that was not bipartisan, came to a different determination than the one in the Senate.
The GOP-led effort in the House concluded, “The majority of the Intelligence Community Assessment judgments on Russia’s election activities employed proper analytic tradecraft” but found that the “judgments on Putin’s strategic intentions did not.” The Democrats on the panel released their own assessment that said they found “no evidence” to cast doubt on the ICA’s assessment.
Fleitz, who was a senior aide to former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, argued the House Republicans got it right. He said, “Intelligence officers likely told different stories to Republican House Intelligence Committee and bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee investigators because of the strong political bias within intelligence agencies against President Trump.”
Henry reported that the Department of Justice told him it is not going to release the information being declassified, instead waiting for Grenell to do it himself.
Capping his report, Henry said there is criticism about his reporting.
“There are a lot of critics out there saying, ‘This is hype; there’s nothing here,’ ” he told Carlson. But he also stressed that “people on the inside” say, “Wait” because “there’s a whole lot more coming.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday:
The National Security Agency received and approved requests from more than a dozen Obama administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, to “unmask” a U.S. citizen mentioned in classified foreign-intelligence reports that revealed the identity of Michael Flynn.
The requests were made between President Trump’s November 2016 election and inauguration in January 2017, according to a declassified memo made public Wednesday.
The officials, which also included then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, then-Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and others, were authorized to receive the reports, according to information contained in a memo from NSA Director Paul Nakasone dated May 4. The unmasking requests were approved through the NSA’s regular process, which includes a review of the justification for the request, the memo said.
The officials wouldn’t have known Flynn’s identity until after receiving the unmasked reports from the NSA. Biden’s request to see an unmasked intercept occurred on Jan. 12, 2017, eight days before he left office.
Unmasking U.S. identities in intelligence reports is a fairly routine process that occurs thousands of times annually, according to statistics maintained by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and is requested by senior administration officials to better understand the context of intercepted conversations that are being reviewed.