A week ago the NY Times reported that the ongoing Durham investigation was looking at former CIA Director John Brennan’s possible role in pushing the Steele dossier. Today Politico published a piece which reads like push back against the Durham investigation from the CIA:
Intelligence community veterans say the Durham probe could force Haspel to choose between protecting her agency from Trump’s wrath and bowing to Barr’s wishes; they point to FBI chief Chris Wray, who has found himself at odds with the president in recent weeks over a watchdog report about the bureau’s conduct in the Russia probe.
And they say the Barr-Durham probe represents overreach by an attorney general who seems to have already made up his mind and is bent on imposing his own skeptical view of the Russia investigation on the intelligence community…
“It is unprecedented and inappropriate to do this via Justice department prosecutors who will tend to apply the standards of a courtroom to the more nuanced, and often more challenging world of intelligence analysis,” said John McLaughlin, who served as both deputy director and acting director of the CIA from 2000-2004…
“I find this troubling and I suspect many inside the intelligence community do as well,” [CIA veteran John] Sipher said, specifically pointing to the CIA’s Brennan records review. The inquiry “was initiated and sold in a partisan manner and this news only highlights that concern,” he said.
So who are these folks expressing concern about the Durham investigation? John McLaughlin is a former CIA Deputy Director who said last month “Thank God for the deep state” when talking about the push to impeach President Trump [Notice that John Brennan is sitting next to him]:
And John Sipher (great name for a CIA agent) has a Twitter account with a blue check mark. You’ll be shocked to learn that he is also a partisan rooting for impeachment:
If Republican politicians are too cowardly to admit the obvious, maybe we should rethink the primary process. It just encourages extremists. https://t.co/LwXNQSGqii?
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) December 22, 2019
A lot of the outraged fake-victim Trump supporters are calling me seditious today. Must be a new word for them.
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) December 15, 2019
Sipher has specifically defended Brennan on the dossier:
You ought to find some new high level sources. You old ones lied. https://t.co/ZbLfVW3LWL
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) December 9, 2019
Here’s another one related to the dossier (found by the Federalist’s Sean Davis):
There's garden-variety dumb, there's paint chip-eating stupid, and then there's this. https://t.co/OxokIIg84Y
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 13, 2019
You can scroll through his feed on your own but it’s 70% about impeachment.
If there’s nothing to see here, what are Sipher and McLaughlin so worried about? Durham has a good reputation as a straight-shooter. Why not let him run his investigation and follow it wherever it leads? Maybe he won’t find anything but if he does, shouldn’t we know about it? After all, the Horowitz investigation found that Nunes’ memo was basically correct about the FISA application while the Schiff counter-memo was wrong. The FISA court has already demanded changes from the FBI in the wake of the Horowitz report to improve the process. Horowitz also found that an FBI agent had intentionally lied to the FISA court about Carter Page’s involvement with the CIA. So where is the downside? All of this seems significant and worth knowing even if it’s not what Sipher and McLaughlin want to hear.