Former CIA Director John Brennan is once again coming under intense scrutiny for his role in assessing Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the Washington Examiner.
Fred Fleitz, formerly an officer with the CIA and National Security Council (NSC) chief of staff, has come forward to claim that House Intelligence Committee staffers told him that Brennan “suppressed” evidence showing that Russia in fact wanted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to defeat then-candidate Donald Trump, Fox News reports.
Dueling reports at issue
This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a heavily redacted report that defended the 2017 intelligence community against claims of political bias and that found with “moderate” to “high” confidence that Russia did indeed look to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
“In all the interviews of those who drafted and prepared the [intelligence community assessment], the Committee heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions,” the report stated. “All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object to content, and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic process.”
Brennan, in the wake of the report’s release, celebrated, according to Politico, saying:
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. 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.
These findings stand in direct contrast to a report that was released by the House Intelligence Committee in 2018. According to the Washington Examiner, it found that “‘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.'” Democrats on the panel, though, thought otherwise.
Fred Fleitz explains
On Thursday, Fleitz came forward in a Fox News op-ed to explain what he — as an insider — has heard specifically about Brennan, the Examiner reported. According to Fleitz, the House Intelligence Committee actually found that Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election — but that’s not all.
“More gravely, they said that CIA Director 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,” he wrote. “They also told me that Brennan suppressed that intelligence over the objections of CIA analysts.”
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. 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.
Will Durham find the truth?
So who should Americans believe? Perhaps Fleitz put it best.
“One anticipates that a tough lawman like [John] Durham, with confidence from both sides of the political aisle, will finally answer whether the 2017 intelligence community assessment was rigged to hurt Trump politically,” he wrote.
In other words, it may behoove everyone to simply wait and see what U.S. Attorney Durham finds in his own investigation into the origins of the Trump–Russia collusion probe. After all, it has already been widely reported that Brennan’s activities throughout the period in question have indeed been a focus of the federal prosecutor’s attention for quite some time.