If this turns out to be true, it’s at least a narrative changer, if not a game changer. Fox News host and reporter Ed Henry drops this into his conversation with Tucker Carlson last night, focusing first and mainly on the revelation earlier in the day that acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell had declassified the list of those requesting the unmasking of Michael Flynn from intel intercepts. When Carlson asks what else Grenell has declassified, Henry adds that the package also contains intel analysis that concluded Russia wanted not Donald Trump but Hillary Clinton to win the election — a “known quantity,” as well as a family with which Russia had worked in the past.
Instead of including that in the overall analysis to balance out intelligence analysis, John Brennan hid it to preserve the narrative of Russia attempting to help Donald Trump win, Henry says, mentioning that the release could make things “sticky” for Brennan:
President Trump’s spy chief is reportedly declassifying information that shows former CIA Director John Brennan “suppressed” intelligence on Russia wanting Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election.
Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry said Tuesday evening that “it could get sticky” for Brennan, who served as CIA director under former President Barack Obama, due to his role in developing the 2017 intelligence community assessment on Russian election interference that determined with “moderate” to “high” confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin sought to boost Trump’s 2016 election chances.
“There’s other intel that may have been more serious suggesting that Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, rather than balancing that out in the assessment they put out there in that assessment, and set the narrative that Russia wanted Trump to win,” Henry reported on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Noting that Fred Fleitz, a former CIA officer and National Security Council chief of staff, first blew the whistle on Brennan’s alleged efforts to hide this information, Henry said he has a separate intelligence source who confirmed this intelligence is among the four or five batches of documents that Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, is working to declassify.
Gee, why might Russia want Hillary over Donald? Jeff Dunetz reminds us:
While the reports that the Russians tried to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election were believable, it was hard to understand that they were trying to make Trump, rather than Hillary president. Between the Uranium One and Skolkovo deals, Hillary helped Putin and the Russian Oligarchs make tons of money.
It’s at least one possibility, and one apparently supported by intelligence that Brennan allegedly suppressed. Fleitz wrote about this three weeks ago, citing House Intelligence Committee sources. It’s not that Brennan lied about the intelligence pointing to a Trump-favorable position in Russia, Fleitz wrote. It’s that Brennan suppressed other intelligence that pointed in any other way, a decision driven purely by politics, Fleitz argued:
“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. They also told me that Brennan suppressed that intelligence over the objections of CIA analysts,” Fleitz wrote.
“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,” he added. “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.”
The Senate intelligence panel’s 158-page bipartisan report, which was heavily redacted, said investigators found no evidence of political pressure to reach a specific conclusion and determined that the assessment by the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency “presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
That might explain why Grenell decided to declassify the intel analyses pertaining to the issue. If they corroborate Fleitz’ point, Brennan and others who testified before House and Senate committees face not just political consequences. They could face criminal charges for lying to Congress and obstructing Congress. Michael Cohen got sentenced to three years in prison for those crimes, and his testimony wasn’t anywhere near as consequential to congressional investigations as this particular point would be.
That is, they have good reason to be worried if this is in fact what Grenell declassified, and what it in fact demonstrates. Their reaction so far to the efforts to scrutinize the work of law enforcement and intelligence officials certainly seems to indicate they’re worried about something these days. Grenell’s delivery of this to the Department of Justice almost certainly has gone to John Durham’s investigators and prosecutors, who had already taken a keen interest in Brennan’s actions with this intelligence and his previous testimony.
Don’t expect too many revelations on the contents soon, though. Durham’s kept his cards close to the vest. We’ll know if and when a grand jury returns an indictment on the basis of these revelations. For now, though, this suggests that Russia’s efforts in 2016 was to delegitimize the results of the election no matter who won — and thanks to Democrats, succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
That’s not the only narrative changer out this morning. Testimony at the House Intelligence Committee shows that no one ever did verify that it was Russia that hacked the DNC’s servers — not even Crowdstrike, the firm hired by the DNC. Their connections to both Robert Mueller and Hillary Clinton’s campaign are notable too, writes Aaron Maté at RealClearInvestigations:
CrowdStrike, the private cyber-security firm that first accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails and served as a critical source for U.S. intelligence officials in the years-long Trump-Russia probe, acknowledged to Congress more than two years ago that it had no concrete evidence that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee’s server. …
Henry personally led the remediation and forensics analysis of the DNC server after being warned of a breach in late April 2016 – he was paid by the DNC, which refused to turn over its serves to the FBI. Asked for the date when alleged Russian hackers stole data from the DNC server, Henry testified that CrowdStrike did not in fact know if such a theft occurred at all: “We did not have concrete evidence that the data was exfiltrated [moved electronically] from the DNC [servers], but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated,” Henry said. …
The firm’s work with the DNC and FBI is also tainted by partisan affiliations. Before joining CrowdStrike, Henry served as executive assistant director at the FBI under Mueller. Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the pro-NATO think tank that has consistently promoted an aggressive policy toward Russia. And the newly released testimony confirms that CrowdStrike was hired to investigate the DNC breach by Michael Sussmann of Perkins Coie – the same Democrat law firm that hired Fusion GPS to produce the discredited Steele dossier — which was also treated as central evidence in the investigation. Sussmann played a critical role in generating the Trump-Russia collusion allegation. Ex-British spy and dossier compiler Christopher Steele has testified in British court that Sussmann shared with him the now-debunked Alfa Bank server theory, alleging a clandestine communication channel between the bank and the Trump Organization.
One point on exfiltration: We do have evidence of exfiltration, of course. The DNC e-mails got widely published, so of course the data was exfiltrated at some point, by someone. But it seems we have much less certainty as to who did the intrusion, who did the exfiltration, when it occurred, and whether there were multiple entities involved in the whole process. That also might end up changing a narrative or two down the road.