Posted by Curt on 31 August, 2020 at 8:28 am. 1 comment.



By his own admission, ex-CIA Director John Brennan chafed at being questioned earlier this month by federal prosecutor John Durham about the Obama administration’s intelligence assessment that Russia’s meddling in 2016 election was designed to help Donald Trump.

Brennan “questioned why the analytic tradecraft and the findings of the ICA are being scrutinized by the Department of Justice, especially since they have been validated by the Mueller Report and the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Review,” a statement issued by his spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

The answer, according to multiple officials familiar with the evidence, is that the House intelligence committee in 2018 sent a secret report to the CIA inspector general that called into question the tradecraft used in the Brennan-led assessment.

Specifically, the officials said, it highlighted dissent and doubts by some intelligence community analysts about Vladimir Putin’s intentions in intervening in the 2016 election. Some believed it was to help Trump; others believed it was simply to sow chaos without picking a winner, and still others saw evidence Putin might have preferred Hillary Clinton, the officials said.

In other words, an assessment that was portrayed as unanimous when it was made public in early January 2017 was anything but at the analyst level, according to Fred Fleitz, a longtime intelligence officer who was briefed on the House intelligence committee’s concerns when he served as chief of staff in the National Security Council.

“When I was briefed on the House Intelligence Committee report on the January 2017 ICA, I was told that John Brennan politicized this assessment by excluding credible intelligence that the Russians wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election and ordered weak intelligence included that Russia wanted Trump to win, Fleitz told Just the News.

“I also was told that Brennan took both actions over the objections of CIA analysts. I am concerned about what happened to these analysts and worry that they may have been subjected to retaliation by CIA management,” he added. “These analysts are true whistleblowers, and they should come to the congressional intelligence committees to tell their stories and set the record straight on the ICA.”

Officials said the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, who was a member of the House Intelligence Committee before joining the Trump administration, is considering declassifying parts or all of the House Intelligence Committee report to the inspector general.

Ratcliffe hinted Sunday new releases of information are imminent. “I’m optimistic that I’ll be declassifying additional documents soon,” Ratcliffe told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.

Ratcliffe added he has been coordinating his plans for releasing more classified documents in the Russia probe with Durham to ensure he doesn’t jeopardize any criminal investigative work.

“He’s looking at the same documents that I am,” Ratcliffe said. “He’s not sharing his findings or the work that he’s doing. But I’m coordinating with him to make sure that he has the intelligence documents that he needs to do his work. And what I don’t want to do is declassify something that might prejudice his work.”

If Ratcliffe declassifies the House intelligence panel’s complaint to the CIA inspector general, it will signal that Durham does not believe the release would impact any prosecution and could mean no charges are forthcoming concerning the assessment.

But the release of the report would be significant nonetheless, since both Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee have sided with Brennan and agreed Russia was trying to help Trump win.

The belated emergence of evidence — such as dissenting analysts — that calls into question a three-year-old finding would be jarring, especially if it occurred before the election.

One person unlikely to be surprised by questions about the assessment is Daniel Hoffman, the CIA’s former station chief in Moscow and one of the United States’ premier Russia spy tradecraft experts.

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