This morning I was taking a look at an article by Ray McGovern, DoJ Bloodhounds on the Scent of John Brennan, which also focuses on reporting that Brennan's task force is being targeted by Barr and Durham. It happens that McGovern's article closes with a pointed reference to the Intelligence Community Assessment and its exclusion of any views that might have been, well, independent. Earlier, in About that IC Assessment: Paul Sperry Has Good News, we quoted Sperry's reporting that GOP Congressional investigators have been honing in on the production of that Assessment and, in particular, the growing likelihood that--like virtually all else Russia Hoax--it was essentially a byproduct of the Steele "dossier":
Staff investigators for GOP Rep. Devin Nunes’ intelligence committee, for one, are now going over “every word” of the ICA — including classified footnotes — to see if any of the analysis was pre-cooked based on the [Steele] dossier. On Tuesday, Nunes sent letters to Obama intel officials responsible for the report. He demanded former top spook John Brennan and intel czar James Clapper provide answers about how they used the dossier in intel reports and when they learned the Clinton camp paid for it.
Under oath, Brennan has denied knowing the Clinton campaign commissioned the dossier. He also told the House intelligence panel the CIA didn’t rely on the dossier “in any way” for its reports on Russian interference. Committee staff are taking a second look at his May 2017 testimony.
Clapper, for his part, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the ICA was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.
In that light, here are the closing paragraphs of McGovern's article, in which McGovern highlights the exclusion of DIA and DoS from the task force and, therefore, from any voice in developing the ICA:
Happily, at least for those interested in the truth, some of the authors of the rump, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” commissioned by Obama, orchestrated by Brennan-Clapper-Comey, and published on January 6, 2017 will now be interviewed. The ICA is the document still widely cited as showing that the “entire intelligence community agreed” on the Russia-gate story, but this is far from the case. As Clapper has admitted, that “assessment” was drafted by “handpicked analysts” from just three of the 17 intelligence agencies – CIA, FBI, and NSA.
US Attorney Durham would do well to also check with analysts in agencies – like the Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department Intelligence, as to why they believe they were excluded. The ICA on Russian interference is as inferior an example of intelligence analysis as I have ever seen. Since virtually all of the hoi aristoi and the media swear by it, I did an assessment of the Assessment on its second anniversary. I wrote:
“Under a media drumbeat of anti-Russian hysteria, credulous Americans were led to believe that Donald Trump owed his election victory to the president of Russia, whose “influence campaign” according to the Times quoting the intelligence report, helped “President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”
Hard evidence supporting the media and political rhetoric has been as elusive as proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002-2003. This time, though, an alarming increase in the possibility of war with nuclear-armed Russia has ensued – whether by design, hubris, or rank stupidity. The possible consequences for the world are even more dire than 16 years of war and destruction in the Middle East.
The Defense Intelligence Agency should have been included, particularly since it has considerable expertise on the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence agency, which has been blamed for Russian hacking of the DNC emails. But DIA, too, has an independent streak and, in fact, is capable of reaching judgments Clapper would reject as anathema. Just one year before Clapper decided to do the rump “Intelligence Community Assessment,” DIA had formally blessed the following heterodox idea in its “December 2015 National Security Strategy”:
“The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.”
Any further questions as to why the Defense Intelligence Agency was kept away from the ICA drafting table?
So the idea is that Brennan and Clapper feared that DIA might have wanted to analyze and critique the "intelligence" fromt the Steele "dossier" for reliability--or even plausibility. And they couldn't risk an independent viewpoint. Far better to staff the task force with reliables like Peter Strzok and other handpicked analysts.