Did Russia interfere in the 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton? Contrary to the left’s favorite narrative, the reverse was true — and known to be true among the U.S. Intelligence Community, according to Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff to Trump’s National Security Council. Fleitz claimed that then-CIA Director John Brennan suppressed the truth and put forward lower quality intelligence to claim the Russians backed Trump.
Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who also worked on the House Intelligence Committee, took to Fox News to disagree with a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday. That report claims that the 2017 intelligence community assessment showing that Russia backed Trump over Clinton followed proper procedures, contradicting a House committee report from March 2018 showing that it did not.
Newly declassified intelligence further undermines the 2017 assessment, and Fleitz focused on a few basic procedures that were violated in the production of that assessment.
“For example, although the protocols require intelligence community assessments to be ‘community products’ and vetted with all intelligence agencies and analysts with equities in a given subject, only three intelligence agencies were asked to draft this assessment: the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI,” he wrote. “With the 14 other intelligence agencies left out, the three participating agencies included only two dozen ‘handpicked’ analysts.”
Worse, Fleitz said his sources inside the House Intelligence Committee told him “the actual drafting of the intelligence community assessment was done by three close associates of former CIA Director Brennan, who has proven to be the most politicized intelligence chief in American history. Contrary to common practice for controversial intelligence community assessments, Brennan’s team allowed no dissenting views or even an annex with reviews by outside experts.”
“These were extraordinary violations of intelligence community rules to ensure that analysis is accurate and trusted. The Senate committee reports ignored these foundational violations,” Fleitz wrote.
The recent Senate report claims that “all analytical lines are supported with all-source intelligence” and that analysts who wrote the assessment said they “were under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions.”
Yet the House Intelligence Committee staff told Fleitz they found the opposite. They told him “there was conflicting intelligence evidence on Russian motivations for meddling in the 2016 election.”
The staff alleged that 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.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The best intelligence suggested Russia favored Clinton in the 2016 election, but CIA Director John Brennan covered that up — even when CIA analysts complained.
“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,” Fleitz 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.”
Republican staff on the House Intelligence Committee refused to comment on the matter to PJ Media, but they did not deny Fleitz’s claims.
These are extremely serious charges against Brennan, but they make sense given the former CIA director’s blatant politicization of intelligence.
As The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen Hayes reported, Brennan directed the CIA to hide most of the documents seized in the Osama bin Laden raid, because that information undermined the Obama administration’s narrative of a “decimated” al-Qaeda, a moderate Iran, and success in the war on terror. Brennan’s CIA also presented non-disclosure agreements to survivors of the Benghazi terrorist attack at a memorial service for the victims of that attack, in order to silence them while the Obama administration’s response to Benghazi was being investigated. In 2015, more than 50 intelligence analysts complained that their reports on ISIS and al-Qaeda had been altered by senior officials to support the Obama administration’s line. Brennan purged information about the religious motives of radical Islamic terrorists.
All that came prior to the former CIA director’s tweets suggesting he had classified information proving that Trump had committed treason.
In other words, it stands to reason that John Brennan may have hidden intelligence suggesting Russia preferred Hillary Clinton to the less predictable Donald Trump. While the new Senate report has muddied the waters, Fleitz expressed hope that John Durham’s investigation will reveal the truth.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.