NEW YORK — Former Vice President Joe Biden was reportedly one of the few Obama administration officials who participated in secretive meetings during the early stages of the Obama-era intelligence community’s initial operations regarding suspected Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
That tidbit was contained deep inside a 7,700-plus word Washington Post article published June 23, 2017 in which the newspaper also detailed the highly compartmentalized nature of the original Russia interference investigation and the manner in which other U.S. intelligence agencies were deliberately kept in the dark. Part of the efforts eventually involved unsubstantiated and ultimately discredited charges made by the Christopher Steele dossier that Trump campaign officials were colluding with Russia.
Biden’s largely unreported role in the initial Obama administration meetings on the matter of Russian interference could spark further questions now that Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to investigate the origins of the Russia collusion claims.
Only last week, Barr commented that the intelligence community’s early handling of the Russia investigation may itself raise questions. He noted that it was first handled at a “very senior level” and then by a “small group.”
In an interview on Fox News, Barr stated:
The thing that’s interesting about this is that this was handled at a very senior level of these departments. It wasn’t handled in the ordinary way that investigations or counterintelligence activities are conducted. It was sort of an ad hoc, small group — and most of these people are no longer with the FBI or the CIA or the other agencies involved. I think there’s a misconception out there that we know a lot about what happened. The fact of the matter is, Bob Mueller did not look at the government’s activities.
The lengthy Washington Post article from 2017 detailed the closed circle of Obama administration officials who were involved in overseeing the initial efforts related to the Russia investigation — a circle than was narrowly widened to include Biden, according to the newspaper report.
According to the newspaper, in the summer of 2016, CIA Director John Brennan convened a “secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.”
The Post described the unit as so secretive it functioned as a “sealed compartment” hidden even from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community; a unit whose workers were all made to sign additional non-disclosure forms.
The unit reported to top officials, the newspaper documented:
They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.
The number of Obama administration officials who were allowed access to the Russia intelligence was also highly limited, The Post reported. At first only four senior officials were involved, and not Biden. Those officials were CIA Directir John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey. Their aides were all barred from attending the initial meetings, The Post stated.
The circle of those who attended the secretive meetings on the matter soon widened to include Biden, The Post reported (emphasis added):
The secrecy extended into the White House.
Rice and White House homeland-security adviser Lisa Monaco convened meetings in the Situation Room to weigh the mounting evidence of Russian interference and generate options for how to respond. At first, only four senior security officials were allowed to attend: Brennan, Clapper, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI Director James B. Comey. Aides ordinarily allowed entry as “plus-ones” were barred.
Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others.Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries — including John F. Kerry at the State Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon — arrived in envelopes that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.
Adding another layer of secrecy, the newspaper reported that when the closed Cabinet sessions on Russia began in the White House Situation Room in August, the video feed from the main room was cut off during the meetings.
The feed, which allows only for video and not audio, is usually kept on so that senior aides can see when a meeting takes place.
The paper reported:
I cant see Joe getting involved unless his kid got a big payday.
No, his job was to look in only one direction; find something to be used against Trump.
The coup ringleaders.
Instead, they did nothing and waited until Hillary lost to blame the Russians for interfering. Please ignore the fact that numerous times since DEMOCRATS have been caught doing the same thing.
Obama probably made Biden the government fall guy if their coup went south and Biden was too dumb to realize it.
@Deplorable Me: Getting Biden involved insured its failure.
He has been a welfare queen for ever never did anything else, can we list his vast accomplishments?
@kitt: I’ll speculate that Biden was there to report directly back to Obama without any IC or Justice people making White House visits. Obama, as he did with all his other scandals, kept himself at a distance. That’s the way crime lords work.