IS FORMER CIA DIRECTOR THE NEXUS?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 7, 2019) — The name of Obama’s last CIA director, John Brennan, has consistently made headlines since 2016. Depending on the source, Brennan is depicted as either a dedicated former public servant and undeserving target of President Donald Trump’s ire, or a key individual in the propagation of the false narrative that someone within the Trump campaign, if not Trump himself, was coordinating with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.
On October 25, major news outlets reported that certain members of the U.S. intelligence community are a focus of a now-“criminal” probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia narrative to include Brennan; former FBI counterintelligence deputy chief Peter Strzok; Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper; and Christopher Steele, the purveyor of a “dossier” of unverified claims used to obtain four surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.
One of the dossier’s claims was that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”.
In August 2016, Brennan spoke with members of the so-called congressional “Gang of Eight” about his alleged fear that the Kremlin was attempting to interfere in the upcoming U.S. elections, possibly involving members of the Trump campaign, Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times reported on April 6, 2017, citing unnamed government “officials.”
Less than three months later, after becoming an “editor” at CNN, Lichtblau and two other “journalists” were forced to resign over a poorly-sourced article about alleged ties between a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials” invoking then-Trump supporter and businessman Anthony Scaramucci.
Brennan began his intelligence career in 1980 and served in a variety of high-ranking positions through 2005, when he retired. After leaving government, Brennan became CEO of The Analysis Corporation, one of whose contract employees became embroiled in a 2008 passport-file breach at the U.S. State Department involving the records of Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. John McCain.
On March 20, 2008, The Washington Times reported:
Two State Department employees were fired recently and a third disciplined for improperly accessing electronic personal data on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Bush administration officials said today.
The officials, all contract workers, used their authorized computer network access to look up files within the department’s consular affairs section, which processes and stores passport information, and read Mr. Obama’s passport application and other records, in violation of department privacy rules, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
At the time, Brennan was an adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign, CNN reported.
Brennan served as Obama’s Homeland Security advisor prior to his nomination to head the CIA on January 7, 2013. At that time, Brennan pledged, “If confirmed as director, I will make it my mission to ensure that the CIA has the tools it needs to keep our nation safe and that its work always reflects the liberties, the freedoms and the values that we hold so dear.”
On January 8, 2013, Dr. Jerome Corsi wrote at WND:
John Brennan, the Obama counter-terrorism adviser nominated this week to head the CIA, played a controversial role in what many suspect was an effort to sanitize Obama’s passport records.
On March 21, 2008, amid Obama’s first presidential campaign, two unnamed contract employees for the State Department were fired and a third was disciplined for breaching the passport file of Democratic presidential candidate and then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Breaking the story, the Washington Times on March 20, 2008, noted that all three had used their authorized computer network access to look up and read Obama’s records within the State Department consular affairs section that “possesses and stores passport information.”…
The New York Times reported March 21, 2008, that the security breach had involved unauthorized searches of the passport records not just of Sen. Obama but also of then-presidential contenders Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton…
The New York Times noted that the files examined likely contained sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth, as well as passport applications and other biographical information that would pertain to U.S. citizenship. Only at the end of the article did the New York Times note that State Department spokesman McCormack had emphasized the most egregious violation appeared to have been made against Obama.
Obama was the only one of the three presidential candidates involved who had his passport file breached on three separate occasions. The first occurred Jan. 9, 2008, followed by separate violations Feb. 21 and March 14, 2008. Moreover, all three of the offending employees had breached Obama’s files, while each of the passport files of McCain and Clinton had been breached only once.
In May 2011, Corsi published the book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President” based on questions surrounding Obama’s citizenship, birthplace, and constitutional eligibility to serve as president and commander-in-chief in accordance with Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
Brennan’s confirmation occurred approximately two months after his nomination, although not without Sen. Rand Paul filibustering the nomination on the floor of the Senate for more than a half-day in protest of Obama’s practice of using unmanned drones to kill certain U.S. citizens overseas and the possibility of the same occurring on American soil.
In 2014, Brennan admitted that the CIA penetrated the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee after initially denying it. In March that year, The Hill reported of the committee’s accusations against the agency:
The allegations of misconduct surround the Senate Intelligence Committee’s massive report on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration.
Democratic senators on the committee say that an internal CIA review conducted under former Director Leon Panetta corroborates the committee’s findings and contradicts the CIA’s public statements.
“President Obama’s choice to lead the intelligence agency has undermined core checks and balances with impunity,” The Atlantic reported in late 2014 of the purposeful breaches, terming it “the story of John Brennan’s CIA spying on Congress and getting away with it.”
Further, the article reads, “Brennan and the CIA have behaved indefensibly. But substantial blame belongs to the overseers who’ve permitted them to do so with impunity, including figures in the Obama administration right up to the president and Senate intelligence committee members who, for all their bluster, have yet to react to CIA misbehavior in a way that actually disincentivizes similar malfeasance in the future. President Obama should fire John Brennan, as has previously been suggested by Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan…”
Following Brennan’s late August 2016 conversation with then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about alleged Russian attempts to compromise the election, Reid sent a letter to Comey stating, in part, “The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin.”
Apparently unbeknownst to Reid, the FBI had already opened a counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. On May 9, 2017, less than four months into his presidency, Trump fired Comey. Eight days later, another former FBI director, Robert S. Mueller, III, was brought in to serve as “Special Counsel” to assume the FBI’s counterintelligence probe.
According to a January 12, 2017 article from the BBC, the dossier “was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States.”
The author of the article, Paul Wood, went on to report:
The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.
The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.
Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the Fisa court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.
Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.
Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities – in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.
A lawyer- outside the Department of Justice but familiar with the case – told me that three of Mr Trump’s associates were the subject of the inquiry. “But it’s clear this is about Trump,” he said.
The contents of the dossier were never verified, as is required by FBI policy prior to submitting any evidence to the FISA court to request permission to monitor an American’s communications. A report is anticipated from the Justice Department’s inspector general detailing whether or not investigators found that the U.S. intelligence community abused its power and trust when it applied to the court for warrants to monitor Page’s communications.
Trump called the “collusion” investigation a “witch hunt” with no basis in fact and accused Brennan of “lying to Congress” about his knowledge of the dossier.
For his part, Brennan claimed that Trump was “wholly in the pocket of Putin” following a joint press conference between the two leaders in Helsinki, Finland in July 2018 and predicted more than once that Mueller’s investigation would yield indictments of Trump-administration officials. The following month, Brennan wrote an editorial published in The New York Times titled, “President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash.” On several occasions, Brennan accused Trump of “treason.“
On February 2, 2018, Brennan was hired as a “national security” commentator at MSNBC and NBC News, the same day that then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes released a declassified memo faulting the FBI for failing to disclose that the dossier was a political product commissioned by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.
Sixteen days before the Mueller report was delivered to Attorney General William Barr last March, Brennan said on MSNBC, “I wouldn’t be surprised if, for example, this week on Friday — not knowing anything about it — but Friday is the day the Grand Jury indictments come down.” When it was revealed that Mueller’s team reported that no sealed or future indictments were forthcoming, Brennan said he could have been given “bad information.”
On March 22, Washington, DC became aware that the “Mueller report” had been delivered to Attorney General William Barr with no sealed or outstanding indictments and without a finding that Trump campaign aides “colluded” with the Kremlin.
Part I of the report said evidence was discovered of Russian breaching of DNC servers. The report further alleges that the Russian perpetrators provided thousands of emails from the server to WikiLeaks, which published them in batches in the months leading up to the election.
Clinton blamed WikiLeaks, among other causes, for her devastating election loss to Donald Trump.
The FBI admittedly never analyzed the servers. In a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump mentioned that he was told that one of the DNC servers was located in Ukraine.
Nunes has recently claimed that the dossier originated in Ukraine.
Subsequent sections of the Mueller report found insufficient evidence to conclude that anyone from the Trump campaign, or any American at all, had conspired with Russians to impact the results of the election. On an “obstruction of justice” claim against Trump, the team wrote in Part II that it arrived at no conclusion.
On the May 12, 2019 edition of “Sunday Morning Futures,” host Maria Bartiromo said to her guest, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX4), “I want to ask you about accountability for Jim Comey, Peter Strzok, and also John Brennan, because I’m being told that the director of the CIA is responsible for all counterintelligence operations. That would be John Brennan…”
Some Republican members of Congress claim that “accountability” for those who launched the false “Russia collusion” narrative will be realized as a result of the Justice Department’s announced probe into the “investigators” led by U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham under Attorney General William Barr’s direction.
On May 29, 2019, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew C. McCarthy wrote at National Review, “Suffice it to say that the Obama-administration officials involved in pushing the dossier are running for the hills to distance themselves from it, particularly after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report effectively rejected it. Most prominent in this regard is former CIA director John Brennan.”
As a result of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy, a “whistleblower” reportedly formerly associated with the Obama National Security Council, former Vice President Joe Biden, and the CIA filed a complaint, in apparent coordination with the office of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA28), stating that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U. S. election” in the form of a proposed investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.
The complaint quickly led to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declaring that the chamber was launching an “impeachment inquiry” into President Trump’s alleged “quid pro quo” with Zelenskiy perceived to have been targeting the Bidens for political reasons.
Joe Biden is currently seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
In January 2018, Biden stated at a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) forum that he was responsible for pressuring then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko to fire that nation’s chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was reportedly investigating the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, for possible corruption. Burisma had hired Hunter Biden as one of its Board members at a salary of $50,000 a month as well as his business partner, Devon Archer.
On September 26, two days after Pelosi announced the “inquiry,” Brennan tweeted that the “Whistleblower deserves our praise & gratitude.”
On October 19, NBC News reported that Brennan informed them that he expected to be interviewed by Durham. “I don’t know what the legal basis for this is,” NBC quoted Brennan as having said.
On October 30, Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.com reported that the alleged whistleblower “previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan.”
According to Fox News “Justice with Judge Jeanine” host Jeanine Pirro last Friday, the alleged whistleblower “is connected to [John] Brennan and the liar Susan Rice and the whole lot of them. [He’s an] Obama holdover, worked with [Vice President Joe] Biden.”
In radio interviews beginning last year, the lead investigator into a 5+-year probe into the authenticity of the “long-form” birth certificate image released by the Obama White House on April 27, 2011 invoked Brennan’s name. Mike Zullo’s investigation, authorized by the Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff’s Office in August that year, led him to conclude the image to be a “computer-generated forgery,” along with Obama’s Selective Service registration form. At a press conference in December 2016, Zullo reported that two forensic analysts, both respected in their fields and unaware of the other’s analysis of the image, concurred with his findings.
In late 2017. Zullo reported that he was able to verify that the CIA was involved in breaches of the servers belonging to the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) and University of Hawaii’s archives in a circuitous route leading to Jakarta, Indonesia and back to Washington, DC in the months before the “long-form” image was released publicly.
“I really believe that all roads are going to lead back to John Brennan,” Zullo said.
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Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.