Brennan's Claim That Intel Assessment Didn't Rely on Steele Dossier Contradicted by Former Colleagues
Two top former Obama administration officials have contradicted former CIA Director John Brennan's sworn testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Paul Sperry of Real Clear Investigations reported on Tuesday.
Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have said otherwise -- meaning Brennan may have perjured himself when he testified about anti-Trump Steele dossier.
Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the DNC and Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the assessment, and Clapper conceded in a recent CNN interview that the ICA was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.”
In May of 2017, Brennan told the House Intel Committee that the Steele dossier was "not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community's assessment" that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Sperry points out that "Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on Meet the Press."
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
His skepticism of the dossier may explain why the NSA parted company with other intelligence agencies and cast doubt on one of its crucial conclusions: that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House.
Rogers has testified that while he was sure the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton, he wasn't as confident as CIA and FBI officials that their actions were designed to help Trump, explaining that such as assessment "didn't have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.”
The 16 opposition research-style memos that make up the anti-Trump dossier were underwritten by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s own campaign, and are based mostly on uncorroborated third-hand sources. Yet, according to Sperry, the ICA and the Steele dossier share much of the same language and come to the same conclusions at the heart of the “Russia collusion” narrative that has been plaguing the Trump presidency.
Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, 17 intelligence agencies did not contribute to the assessment. Rather, input from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA, and FBI -- was used, RealClearInvestigations reports.
Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department’s intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.
While faulting Clapper for not following intelligence community tradecraft standards that Clapper himself ordered in 2015, the House Intelligence Committee’s 250-page report also found that the ICA did not properly describe the “quality and credibility of underlying sources” and was not “independent of political considerations."