Let’s cut the cheesiness and go straight to the nutshell:
Whose Bright Idea Was RussiaGate?
The answer to the question is Russiagate was created by CIA director John Brennan. The CIA started what is called ‘Russiagate’ in order to prevent Trump from being able to normalize relations with Russia. The CIA and the military/security complex need an enemy in order to justify their huge budgets and unaccountable power. Russia has been assigned that role.
The Democrats joined in as a way of attacking Trump. They hoped to have him tarnished as cooperating with Russia to steal the presidential election from Hillary, and to have him impeached. I don’t think the Democrats have considered the consequence of further worsening the relations between the US and Russia.
And please do not try to make the point the intelligence community is composed of neutral agencies; “neutral” meaning apolitical. John Brennan is buddies with Obama. He’s a Hillary Clinton supporter as well. Being anti-Trump is understandable – he’s a demagogue dotard – but that doesn’t excuse cheating.
C’mon now. This whole thing is about whether or not Russia cheated in the 2016 US presidential election. We know Hillary cheated in the primary. Past time to call a spade a spade, folks. Brennan is a Democrat. The Clintons are corrupt. The Trump family of grifters is the most corrupt we’ve ever seen in charge.
The former CIA director, Michael Morell, is also an out of the closet Democrat and Hillary supporter. Check out his advertisement in the NYTimes. The word du jour to describe Hillary Clinton is hawk, which is to say in geek speak, she advocates a neoconservative, interventionist foreign policy:
Her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.
There is some question as to when the UK got involved in the transfer of intelligence to Brennan. The most likely source of the initial information is not the UK, but rather the Dutch or Estonia. It is possible Brennan solicited dirt from outside the US, rather than these European countries coming to the CIA with the intel on their own initiative.
As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries”. Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.
In spite of continued controversy over its methods, the Five Eyes relationship remains one of the most comprehensive known espionage alliances in history.
Since processed intelligence is gathered from multiple sources, the intelligence shared is not restricted to signals intelligence(SIGINT) and often involves defence intelligence as well as human intelligence (HUMINT) and geospatial intelligence(GEOINT). The following table provides an overview of most of the FVEY agencies involved in such forms of data sharing.
In order to bypass the sensationalist American press and the bias that comes with, here are a couple excerpts from the British press:
Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.
It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. 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.
Here is another British report, which confirms the main outline of its genesis:
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives.
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.
Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians.
The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia, and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material.
Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.
Too late for Trump to Get Smart.
Another account, this one from a recent book, Russian Roulette:
Under John Brennan, the CIA operated as an opposition research outfit for the Hillary Clinton campaign. It appears from leaked news stories in the British press that Brennan’s oafish spying on Trump began around April 2016, right after Trump’s biggest primary victories. As it became urgently clear to Brennan that Trump was going to face off against Hillary, Brennan turned to “intelligence partners” in Europe for dirt on Trump. But they didn’t have any, save some pretty skimpy material on “contacts” between Trump campaign officials and Russians.
Whatever Brennan collected was so insubstantial that Robert Mueller hasn’t even interviewed him about it. Consider that for a second: Mueller was supposedly appointed to complete the counterintelligence probe into Trumpworld, and he hasn’t felt the need to talk to the father of it. Brennan has tried to explain this astonishing discrepancy away by vaguely saying that whatever Mueller needs he could find in “CIA files.”
Those files are no doubt as elliptical as the formal document starting the probe. It appears that Brennan’s alleged “tips” were too flaky and unofficial for the Obama administration to commit to print. Brennan had his own partisan hunches, fueled by his feverish hatred of Trump and perhaps a few spit-balling conversations with other Trump-hating spy chiefs abroad (the “special relationship” had turned sinister against Trump, as evident from Britain’s sorry role in this mess), but he had no evidence to meet any reasonable threshold for a counterintelligence probe of a presidential campaign, especially one undertaken by an administration supporting that candidate’s opponent. Brennan’s espionage against Trump was as audacious as a paranoid LBJ wiretapping Nixon’s campaign plane in the thick of a race against LBJ’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey.
In his own clumsy way, Brennan knew that he was treading on a political minefield. He referred to the FBI/CIA’s spying on the Trump campaign as an “exceptionally, exceptionally sensitive issue.”
Brennan dimly understood there would be hell to pay if it came out Hillary partisans in the U.S. government were spying on her opponent’s campaign, making use of opposition research that she had purchased. But Brennan, who was auditioning to be Hillary’s CIA director and choking on his anger at the thought of Trump as president, couldn’t help himself apparently.
From April 2016 to July 2016, according to leaked stories in the British press, he assembled a multi-agency taskforce that served as the beginnings of a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign.
Brennan was running an anti-Trump spying operation right out of Langley. Even after the FBI probe formally began in July 2016, Brennan was bringing CIA agents, FBI officials, and NSA officials into the same room at CIA headquarters to pool their anti-Trump hunches. To give these outrageous meetings a patina of respectability, Brennan invoked the post-9/11 rationale of inter-agency cooperation, The political import of them is still unmistakable.
During these months, he was “personally briefing” Obama on “Russian interference” — Brennan’s euphemism for spying on the Trump campaign — and was practically camped out at the White House. So in all likelihood Obama knew about and had given his blessing to Brennan’s dirt-digging.
The FBI’s liaison to Brennan was Peter Strzok, whose hatred for Trump equaled Brennan’s. But even Strzok knew that Brennan was blowing smoke about Trump-Russian collusion. Strzok would later tell his mistress he sensed the probe would prove a crock — “there is no big there there.”
The Caucasian Mountain Dog was originally bred to guard livestock in medieval Russia.
Another account of how RussiaGate began for information corroboration:
The Washington Post and a number of other mainstream media outlets are sensing blood in the water in the wake of former CIA Director John Brennan’s public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The Post headlined a front page featured article with Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump. The article states that Brennan during the 2016 campaign “reviewed intelligence that showed ‘contacts and interaction’ between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign.” Politico was also in on the chase in an article entitled Brennan: Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides.
The precise money quote by Brennan that the two articles chiefly rely on is “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals.”
Now first of all, the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens and tracking the activities of known associates of a presidential candidate should have sent warning bells off, yet Brennan clearly persisted in following the trail. What Brennan did not describe, because it was “classified,” was how he came upon the information in the first place.
We know from the New York Times and other sources that it came from foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and there has to be a strong suspicion that the forwarding of at least some of that information might have been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. But whatever the provenance of the intelligence, it is clear that Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time.
That is how Russiagate began.
In his testimony, Brennan also hit the main theme that appears to be accepted by nearly everyone inside the beltway, namely that Russian sought to influence and even pervert the outcome of the 2016 election. Interpreting his testimony, the Post article asserts that “Russia was engaged in an ‘aggressive’ and ‘multifaceted ‘effort to interfere in our election.” As has been noted frequently before, even though this assertion has apparently been endorsed by nearly everyone in the power structure AKA (also known as) “those who matter,” it is singularly lacking in any actual evidence.
Nor has any evidence been produced to support the claim that it was Russia that hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server, which now is accepted as Gospel, but that is just one side to the story being promoted. Last Wednesday, the New York Times led off its front page with a piece entitled Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer. Based, as always, on anonymous sources citing “highly classified” intelligence, the article claimed that “American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers…” The “discussions,” which are presumably NSA intercepts of phone calls, reportedly focused on two aides in particular, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, both of whom had established relationships with Russian businessmen and government officials.
The article goes on to concede that “It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn…,” and that’s about all there is to the tale, though the Times wanders on for another three pages, recapping Brennan and the Flynn saga lest anyone has forgotten. So what do we have? Russians were talking on the phone about the possibility of influencing an American’s presidential candidate’s advisers, an observation alluded to by Brennan and also revealed in somewhat more detail by anonymous sources. Pretty thin gruel, isn’t it? Isn’t that what diplomats and intelligence officers do?
It would appear that the New York Times’ editors are unaware the United States routinely interferes in elections worldwide and the action taken in various places including Ukraine goes far beyond phone conversations. In some other places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan the interference is particularly robust taking place at the point of a bayonet, but the Times and Washington Post don’t appear to have any problem when the regime change is being accomplished ostensibly to make the world more democratic, even if it almost never has that result.
How one regards all of the dreck coming out of John Brennan pretty much depends on the extent one is willing to trust what the government, its highly-politicized bureaucrats and the media tell the public is true. For me, that would be not a lot.
The desire to bring down the buffoonish Donald Trump is understandable, but buying into government and media lies will only lead to more lies that have real consequences, up to and including the impending wars against North Korea and Iran. It is imperative that every American should question everything he or she reads in a newspaper, sees on television “news” or hears coming out of the mouths of former and current government employees.
Many Americans look to John Brennan as the Great American Hero. Mainly because he talks junk to Trump on Twitter. Any enemy of my enemy is my friend. Oh boy…
Problem is Brennan is far from a nice guy who wants to help. Mainly he’s playing the CYA game now.
For example, Brennan lied to Congress about the drone program. You would think this qualifies as perjury. Michael Flynn got nailed for lying to the FBI. George Papadopoulos got nailed for lying to the FBI. Paul Manafort got nailed for an attempt to “suborn perjury” from witnesses. So how come Brennan skated on perjury, yet the men his investigation led to perjuring themselves are in deep doo doo?
Back in 2013 John Brennan, then Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, had a difficult time with the Senate Intelligence Committee explaining some things that he did when he was still working at CIA. He was predictably attacked by some senators concerned over the expanding drone program, which he supervised; over CIA torture; for the kill lists that he helped manage; and regarding the pervasive government secrecy, which he surely condoned to cover up the questionable nature of the assassination lists and the drones.
Not at all surprisingly, he was forced to defend the policies of the administration that he was then serving in, claiming that the United States is “at war with al-Qaeda.” But he did cite his basic disagreement with the former CIA interrogation policies and expressed his surprise at learning that enhanced interrogation, which he refused to label torture because he is “no lawyer,” had not provided any unique or actionable information.
He claimed that he had only “raised serious questions” in his own mind on the interrogation issue after reading the 525 page summary of the 6,000 page report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee which detailed the failure of the Agency program. Brennan’s reaction, however, suggested at a minimum he had read only the rebuttal material produced by CIA that had deliberately inflated the value of the intelligence produced.
Surprisingly, the subject of rendition, which Brennan must surely have been involved with while at CIA, hardly surfaced though two other interesting snippets emerged from the questioning. One was his confirmation that the government has its own secret list of innocent civilians killed by drones while at the same time contradicting himself by maintaining the program does not actually exist and that if even if it did exist such fatalities do not occur.
And more directly relevant to Brennan himself, Senator John D. Rockefeller provided an insight into the classified sections of the Senate report on CIA torture, mentioning that the enhanced interrogation program was both “managed incompetently” and “corrupted by personnel with pecuniary conflicts of interest.” One would certainly like to learn more about the presumed contractors who profited corruptly from waterboarding and one would like to know if they were in any way punished, an interesting sidebar as Brennan has a number of times spoken about the need for accountability.
Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, a Barack Obama friend and protégé as well as a current paid contributor for NBC and MSNBC, has blasted President Donald Trump for congratulating President Vladimir Putin over his victory in recent Russian national elections. He said that the U.S. President is “afraid of the president of Russia” and that the Kremlin “may have something on him personally. The fact he has this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin …continues to say to me he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear.”
It is an indication of how low we have sunk as a nation that a possible war criminal like Brennan can feel free to use his former official status as a bully pulpit to claim that someone is a foreign spy without any real pushback or objection from the talking heads and billionaire manipulators that unfortunately run our country.
If Trump is actually being blackmailed, as Brennan implies, what evidence is there for that? One might reasonably conclude that Brennan and his associates are actually angry because Trump has had the temerity to try to improve relations with Russia.
I don’t think going in, a lot of people thought President Obama would be more aggressive, more on the offense than President Bush was, in that region, and he has been,” says Michael Leiter, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “And a big reason he has been, in my view, is because John made him comfortable that those were the means necessary to accomplish the goal.“
In his previous job as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Brennan would often make the final recommendation to the president, and receive the go or no-go for high-stakes strikes. He was, reportedly, the primary supervisor of a new “playbook,” a set of rules that will govern our drone program going forward.
It is a worrying indication of where things are headed that in his May counterterrorism speech, the president actually had to reassure people, “For the record: I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen—with a drone, or with a shotgun—without due process, nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.”
(header image Abe Lincoln and Teddy Bear Roosevelt ~ Matthew McKeown)