After DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s damning report into the FBI’s abuses of the FISA process to spy on the Trump campaign in the 2016 Russia investigation, even Obama’s notoriously political former CIA Director John Brennan admitted there were “serious mistakes.” Even so, he insisted on the talking point that there was no evidence of political bias in the Obama administration’s investigation into the opposing party’s campaign.
“Well clearly, there were mistakes made based on the inspector general’s reports,” Brennan told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “And I know that a lot of people attribute it to either to incompetence or politicization. Well, I might just attribute it to, these were FBI agents who were doing their level best to try to prevent Russia interference in the election.”
He continued, “They were probably overly aggressive, they didn’t pay careful enough attention to some of the details, they may have ignored some aspects of the work that was uncovered. But I think the IG was very clear that politicization did not seem to creep into any aspect of their work either at the initiation of the investigation or throughout.”
Brennan was referring to the top-line finding that Horowitz “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations.” Yet this statement does not prove there was no bias — in fact, the notorious text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok reveal unmistakable bias.
Yet Brennan could not finish his interview on this point. He went on to berate Trump for supposedly politicizing the intelligence community, which is rich coming from him.
“We would like to think that whether you’re Republican or Democrat you are really going to value the work and the missions of these national security agencies and you’re not going to be pursuing political agendas in that oversight responsibility,” the former CIA director said. “And I’ve seen it time and time again that one party will try to use the law enforcement or intelligence agencies to try to get back at the other party. This has to stop, and I think the women and men of the FBI, NSA, CIA, and others are sick and tired of being the political football in Washington.”
While it is indeed lamentable that the intelligence community has been politicized, Brennan is himself responsible for it.
As National Review‘s Andrew C. McCarthy has long pointed out, “there is considerable evidence that intelligence was rampantly politicized on Brennan’s watch as CIA director and, before that, Obama’s homeland-security adviser.”
For example, Obama officials deceptively downplayed weapons threats posed by Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Brennan directed the CIA to keep hidden the vast majority of documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan — because that information exposed as a lie the Obama narrative that al-Qaeda had been decimated while Iran had been moderating. Brennan’s CIA also presented NDAs to survivors of the Benghazi terrorist attack at a memorial service for those killed in that attack, in order to silence them and uphold the Obama re-election narrative. In 2015, more than 50 intelligence analysts complained that their reports on ISIS and al-Qaeda were being altered to support pro-Obama narratives.
Brennan himself pushed the narrative that the Islamic concept of “jihad” refers merely to a “holy struggle,” denying any connection between jihad and terrorism. He and other Obama officials systematically lied about the threat of Islamist ideology, going so far as to purge that threat from training materials.
Brennan also lied after his CIA had been caught hacking into the computer system of the Senate Intelligence Committee staff. The CIA director indignantly denied the allegation, but that denial was proven false. After he belatedly apologized, he went on to handpick an “accountability board” that whitewashed the matter.
After Trump’s election, Brennan suggested that if he could only speak publicly about what he knew, Americans would quickly agree that the “treasonous” president who was “wholly in the pocket of Putin” has “exceed[ed] the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.'”
Talk about politicizing intelligence!
Given this history, it is remarkable that Brennan even admitted the FBI made “mistakes” in the FISA process, even though it is utterly undeniable after the IG report.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.