Excerpts (I've omitted the considerable pro-Brennan spin):
WASHINGTON — The federal prosecutor scrutinizing the Russia investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia’s 2016 election interference, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.
John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.
Mr. Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference, the people said.
Mr. Brennan has come into Mr. Durham’s sights as he has focused on the intelligence community assessment released in January 2017 that used information from the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency to detail Russia’s meddling. They concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an influence campaign that “aspired to help” Mr. Trump’s chances by damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“The president bore the burden of probably one of the greatest conspiracy theories — baseless conspiracy theories — in American political history,” Mr. Barr told Fox News. He has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing an inspector general report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.
Mr. Barr has long been interested in the conclusion about Mr. Putin ordering intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf, perhaps the intelligence report’s most explosive assertion. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. reported high confidence in the conclusion, while the N.S.A., which conducts electronic surveillance, had a moderate degree of confidence.
Instead, a C.I.A. informant close to the Kremlin was a key source for that finding. Mr. Durham has been trying to learn more about any internal debate inside the C.I.A. over the conclusion, former intelligence officials said.
[In fact, the claim that the source was "close to the Kremlin"--an idiotic phrase--is highly dubious.]
Critics of the intelligence assessment, like Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said the C.I.A.’s sourcing failed to justify the high level of confidence about Moscow’s intervention on behalf of Mr. Trump.
￼Mr. Durham’s investigators also want to know to more about the discussions that prompted intelligence community leaders to include Mr. Steele’s allegations in the appendix of their assessment.
Mr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in his 2017 congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the dossier when it helped develop the assessment, and the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has also testified before lawmakers that the same was true for the intelligence agencies more broadly. But Mr. Trump’s allies have long asked pointed questions about the dossier, including how it was used in the intelligence agency’s assessment.
Some C.I.A. analysts and officials insisted that the dossier be left out the assessment, while some F.B.I. leaders wanted to include it and bristled at its relegation to the appendix. Their disagreements were captured in the highly anticipated report released last week by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, examining aspects of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.
Mr. Steele’s information “was a topic of significant discussion within the F.B.I. and with the other agencies participating in drafting” the declassified intelligence assessment about Russia interference, Mr. Horowitz wrote. The F.B.I. shared Mr. Steele’s information with the team of officials from multiple agencies drafting the assessment.
Mr. Comey also briefed Mr. Brennan and other top Obama administration intelligence officials including the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, and Mr. Clapper about the bureau’s efforts to assess the information in the dossier, Mr. Comey told the inspector general. He said that analysts had found it to be “credible on its face.”
But C.I.A. analysts still wanted to leave the dossier out of the assessment, as it was not vetted. Mr. Brennan’s allies have said he was among the officials who wanted to omit the dossier from the assessment.
Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the F.B.I., pushed back, according to the inspector general report, accusing the intelligence chiefs of trying to minimize Mr. Steele’s information.
Ultimately the two sides compromised by placing Mr. Steele’s material in the appendix. After BuzzFeed News published the dossier in January 2017, days after the intelligence assessment about Russia’s election sabotage was released, Mr. Comey complained to Mr. Clapper about his decision to publicly state that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment” about the document’s reliability.
Mr. Comey said that the F.B.I. had concluded that Mr. Steele was reliable, according to the inspector general report. Mr. Clapper ignored Mr. Comey, the report said.
Mr. Brennan told Congress that he had no firsthand knowledge of any attempts by the F.B.I. to vet the dossier. Mr. Clapper went further, testifying at a separate hearing that no evidence existed in the entire assessment to definitively say whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with Russian officials. He also said that the intelligence community “couldn’t corroborate the sourcing” of Mr. Steele’s dossier.
Mr. Brennan’s defenders said he always kept the dossier at arm’s length, arguing against using its findings about the Russian interference campaign in the assessment. The C.I.A. viewed it as “internet rumor,” an F.B.I. official told the inspector general.
It is not clear how much information the C.I.A. has provided investigators, and a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment. The intelligence agencies are continuing to cooperate with Mr. Durham’s investigation, a person familiar with the inquiry said.
For entertainment purposes only:ReplyDelete
Important to read and understand.
Something BIG is coming.
Most intriguing to me was the fact that Durham has requested Brennan's communications from CIA.ReplyDelete
The implication is his private comments to others may contradict his public sworn testimony to Congress regarding the Dossier and related issues.
I'm also waiting with bated breath to see if Durham's review of Brennan's communications reveals a few calls between Brennan and either of two Blackberries possessed until recently by a certain Maltese Professor, and currently in the possession of Durham.
I'd be surprised if Durham didn't obtain most of that stuff months ago. And I'm sure the contents of the Blackberries is probably a pretty closely guarded secret. And will be for a while yet. But who knows ...Delete
I wouldn't underestimate Barr's authority -- delegated to him by the POTUS -- to declassify whatever is needed.Delete
No, of course not. Our problem, in terms of estimating when he might declassify stuff, is that that will probably depend on where his investigations are at, and he's not sharing that info with us.Delete
If Mifsud was an asset of any sort, witting or otherwise, I will be extremely surprised if Brennan was dumb enough to have any direct contact with him.Delete
1. When the NYT is dead and gone, a certain casualty of the assault on journalism carried out by the MSM in the early 21st Century, and when journalism is reborn in the halcyon days to come, I hope we will never have to read another article based on information 'according to three people briefed on the inquiry,' where the three people are not identified and no explanation is given why they have been 'briefed.'ReplyDelete
You can bet Durham and his people aren't briefing anybody on the 'inquiry', and nobody at CIA has any authority to brief anybody about the 'inquiry'.
So that leaves Brennan (and his lawyers) as the source and I would take his characterization of anything related to the Russia Hoax with more than a few grains of salt.
Good try NYT...
2. This is not at all good for Brennan. Durham has been on the case for many months and he likely knows by now exactly what Brennan was up to. So Brennan will now have some hard choices: to come clean or to double down on the cover up, knowing Durham likely has the goods on him. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Not only does the Times attribute statements to multiple unnamed sources, but their bylines have expanded to encompass at least four writers. It seems the more ludicrous and unsupported the piece, the more authors it contains. It would be one thing if they were covering a complicated, global story. These pieces are just manufactured slander. Maybe they would be better off giving credit to some AI bots, but then their writers wouldn't get cushy gigs opining on MSNBC and such.Delete
A shell game is what this looks like. I have long believed this was a conspiracy beginning to end, but one of the odd things was that the Papadopoulos angle was never combined in the Steele Dossier. Reviewing the various stories by the principals involved makes me think this was always done deliberatley- is one prong becomes untenable, they could emphasize the other without either one contaminating each other. And yet both disintigrated under examination.ReplyDelete
I.e., the Papadopoulos angle was an insurance policy?
He [Barr] has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing an inspector general report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.ReplyDelete
The report said that the information was not so little that its use violated FBI regulations.
In other words, FBI regulations did not prevent the use of so little information to begin an inquiry.
Horowitz tried to finesse the standard for opening investigations. I don't expect that from Barr.Delete
a C.I.A. informant close to the Kremlin was a key source for that finding.ReplyDelete
The informant was Oleg Smolenkov, who was an assistant to Yuri Ushakov, who was a foreign-policy advisor in a Kremlin organization called the Presidential Administration.
Smolenkov said that Ushakov said that Putin was saying that Russian Intelligence was meddling in the USA's election in order to sow discord among Americans and to undermine Americans' faith in their Democracy.
CIA Director believed Smolenkov's fabricated nonsense and paid him big money for it.
Durham and Barr will want to know about vetting here.Delete
Durham has been investigating for 9 months and he is finally getting to Brennan?ReplyDelete
And what to make of Durham not releasing any info that would show Trump as justified in asking Ukraine for help in the then 3 month old Durham investigation? I mean, what is a friend in the justice dept for if he will not help in your fight against impeachment?
"Durham has been investigating for 9 months and he is finally getting to Brennan?"Delete
Do you believe everything you read in the NYT?
"what is a friend in the justice dept for if he will not help in your fight against impeachment?"
Could you explain what role you expect Barr to play in impeachment?
if Barr and Durham have uncovered info that would show Trump as justified in asking Ukraine to help Durham investigation, they should release that info to the public. The way to win impeachment vote is to sway public opinion.Delete
And, heck, if Durham has nothing to show wrongdoing by Democrats/deep state in Ukraine/Russia he should announce that. That way Trump defenders could say Trump made honest mistake back in July to ask Ukraine for help. He ( Trump ) just assumed, based on what he was hearing from Giuliani and republican media, that there was something to uncover.
Brilliant. Conduct a criminal investigation as if it's sole purpose is to help the Chief Executive, without any regard to whether the info is subject to GJ secrecy or other considerations.Delete
The current AG never proclaimed himself the current president's "wing man".Delete
Those initially charged and tried show the public serious wrongdoing took place. Also encourages others to take a plea and tell what they know. Very important to help Trump because without him deep state ignores Durham. Run out the clock, with knowledge that President Warren justice dept would decline to prosecute.Delete
Now the current radicalization of our culture is affecting our justice system. This sentence is just plain wrong.ReplyDelete
But here is something in the same vein, albeit with a lesser outcome:
J.K. Rowling, the wildly successful author of Harry Potter books is under fire on social media for posting a tweet in support of science. A tax expert at a think tank in London was fired for tweeting that transgender women can’t change their biological sex. Rowling tweeted in support of her. The horror. The immediate reaction of the cancel culture mob on Twitter was intense. (Snip) The outrage mob on Twitter is calling Rowling a “TERF,” a slur short for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” that is used to describe self-identifying feminists who don’t believe trans women are women.
Now WE are the unprotected, endangered species...
This errant comment was supposed to be on the Don Surber thread about the man sentenced to 15 years for a hate crime for burning an LGBTQetc. flag. I still haven’t figured out how it got here, but would be more than OK with its being deleted by the blogger...Delete
You have to give the NYT credit for their creative license to refer to Russia's "meddling," as election sabotage, and by calling it the Russia investigation, where the target of the investigation was Trump and the Trump campaign.ReplyDelete
As it regards investigating anyone actually acting on behalf of Russian government or such persons "colluding" with any Americans, the investigatory focus appears paper thin.
You also have to credit the NYT with pounding The Narrative, by repeating at the top, that Putin ordered a "campaign that 'aspired to help' Mr. Trump’s chances by damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton" despite the lack of any evidence of Putin "ordering" any such thing. That Russia (and the US!) run disinformation campaigns shouldn't surprise anyone with two working brain cells.
The only purpose of the Jan 2017 intelligence community assessment (produced in record time) was to instill distrust in the November election results and undermine the incoming administration. (And a continuation of previous efforts to leverage media for the same purpose, i.e. distrust and undermine.)
As Yancy suggests, this article is a shell game, as the Steele dossier is (apparently) never doubted, while the bulk of the article is self-serving on Brennan's behalf as a deep dive into the process of assessments and conclusions based on The Narrative, without ever noticing the complete lack of evidence.
The article is part of a campaign of obfuscation that bores the public to death with the minutia of various investigatory processes and bureaucratic routines that compares favorably with watching paint dry.
All of the above.Delete
what gets me is the Russia Bad side never explains how Russia could sway a US election. And if they can do it by planting false stories in the media, what to do about the deceptive tactics and rhetoric routinely practiced by US political candidates.Delete
To the (Dem) MSM, if Russia could sway a US election with totally true stories (e.g the Podesta etc. emails), that is still "horrible" intervention.ReplyDelete
If the truth hurt Dems, it must be horrible!