Earlier this week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, John Brennan, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, commented on the recently concluded two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no evidence of collusion between anyone associated with the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Brennan, who has repeatedly expressed his conviction that President Trump is a Russian agent and a “traitor” appeared eager to distance himself from those accusations now and to claim no special knowledge of what had actually transpired.
“I don’t know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was, said Brennan. “I am relieved that it’s been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election,” he added.
Let’s put this in perspective. Mr. Brennan was not a disinterested third-party with no direct knowledge of the facts of the Russia investigation. He was not a shoe salesman in Des Moines while all this was transpiring. He was not a florist, a cab driver or the manager of a supermarket. He was in short, not just another American, doing his best to figure out the facts from what passes for the news these days and guess the truth.
He was the head of the CIA.
What we do know about the Trump-Russian hoax.
There are a lot of things we still don’t know about the origins of the Russia-Trump-Collusion hoax. There are a lot of other things we do know, and which at this point no one disputes.
Sometime in the summer of 2016 the FBI began an investigation into allegations contained in a dossier prepared by Michael Steele, a former British MI6 officer who had served in Moscow. It may, in fact, turn out that the FBI or members of that organization had some hand in creating that dossier in the first place, but, at a minimum, we know that as of July 2016 the FBI was investigating allegations that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President was colluding with the Kremlin and that the Russians had salacious, compromising information regarding his behavior on Russian soil.
The FBI is a domestic law enforcement and intelligence agency. It has no charter to operate abroad other than in a liaison capacity. When operating abroad it is required to coordinate with the CIA. When seeking information on foreign persons it routinely coordinates with the CIA and requests its assistance. All relationships with foreign intelligence services are properly the province of the CIA not the FBI.
CIA’s Role, FBI’s Role
In this context, what are the chances that the FBI received information from a former member of British intelligence and did not inquire of CIA what they knew about Mr. Steele, the circumstances under which he left the Queen’s employ and his reputation for truth and veracity.
In this context, what are the chances that the FBI came into possession of information regarding the actions of Donald Trump, his connections to the Russians and possible meetings on foreign soil and did not ask CIA what they knew already?
What are the chances that the FBI opened an investigation into possible Russian connections to the man who could be the next President of the United States and did not engage with CIA about these counterintelligence concerns?
What are the chances that while the FBI was conducting an investigation into the possibility that the Kremlin was one step away from putting a controlled agent in the White House the CIA simply stood by, did nothing, contributed nothing, investigated nothing and waited for the FBI to finish its work.
And finally, what are the chances that conversations between the FBI and the CIA regarding a possible counterintelligence threat that could reach to the Oval Office were not, at a minimum, brought to the attention of the most senior levels of CIA leadership.
Again, zero. In fact, Mr. Brennan has previously admitted publicly that an inter-agency task force on the topic was stood up, that it worked out of CIA Headquarters and that he was aware of its work.
In point of fact, discussions on this topic, if not conducted personally by Mr. Brennan would have been briefed to him personally almost real time. This is not something that would have happened at some lower level and escaped notice. Given CIA’s penchant for compartmentation, likely only a handful of individuals would have known anything about the case. Mr. Brennan has tacitly acknowledged as much publicly including in testimony before Congress where he stated in part, “I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion — cooperation occurred.”
So, any attempt by Mr. Brennan to distance himself from this matter, to feign ignorance, to profess to be as puzzled as we are at what happened is completely disingenuous. How exactly the Russian collusion allegations were launched we still do not know. To what extent they were the product of a deliberate, carefully orchestrated plot remains undetermined.
What we do know is this. Mr. Brennan, in one capacity or the other was in on this hoax from the outset. Before any of the rest of us ever heard a word about “collusion,” Mr. Brennan had already been briefed. He may have been doing much more than that.
Mr. Brennan needs to answer a great many questions.
Let’s start with two.
What did he know? When did he know it?