DNI John Ratcliffe Releases Underlying Documents Related to CIA Director Brennan Briefing White House on 2016 Clinton Inspired Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative…


Posted originally on The Conservative tree house on October 6, 2020 by sundance

CTH is delayed in analysis of this story because we are a stickler for source document origination. For some unknown reason the originating document source is identified as ODNI, yet the documents themselves are not officially released.  That is not comforting, and points toward controlled messaging.

According to reports today, most citations returning to [Federalist and Fox News], the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, has released the background documents (pertaining to an earlier declassification of documents) showing handwritten notes by CIA Director John Brennan briefing the White House and the CIA referral to the FBI -of Clinton coordinating the Trump-Russia narrative- for operation Crossfire Hurricane.

The two releases today would be connected to the earlier release (red boxes) to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Without an official originating source for the handwritten notes I am cautious to expand discussion.  The Federalist and Fox News appear to have received the notes.

The notes would pertain to a July 26, 2016, discussion between CIA Director John Brennan and an advisor to Hillary Clinton.  That discussion subsequently led Brennan to brief President Obama, Denis McDonough, Susan Rice and possibly James Comey on July 28, 2016, as noted by Brennan himself in a recent op-ed.

[…]  on the afternoon of July 28, 2016, I informed [President Obama] in a hurriedly scheduled meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized his intelligence services to carry out activities to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost the election prospects of Donald Trump. (link)

Candidate Hillary Clinton proposing the strategic deployment of a Russian collusion narrative on July 26, 2016, is additionally important because only one day earlier, July 25, 2016, Clinton campaign Manager Robby Mook advocated for this exact narrative on the first day of the 2016 Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia.

  • April 2016 – Fusion GPS hired to dig up dirt on Trump.  Fusion hires Chris Steele to write his fabricated Trump-Russia Dossier.
  • June 2016 – Clinton campaign coordinates with State Dept. allies to introduce Veselnitskaya to Donald Trump Jr.
  • July 2016 – Clinton campaign pushes Russian conspiracy narrative to allies in intelligence community, John Brennan.   Peter Strzok begins Trump-Russia investigation; FBI, DOJ and aggregate intelligence community weaponized to assist.
  • August 2016 – Clinton campaign advisor, former Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, writes op-ed in New York Times postulating Trump-Russia collusion narrative.
  • September 2016 – U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok regarding “U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server.” (link)

Which brings us to the second release today.  The release of the September 2016 referral.

This is the referral from Brennan to James Comey and Peter Strzok, perhaps a CYA of sorts, telling the FBI about the Clinton campaign involvement.

[fyi the font of the date on this document seems different]

Here’s the investigative referral as released:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/478987772/content?start_page=1&view_mode&access_key=key-ErWWSZsTY0WfYyNBpE66View this document on Scribd

.

Here’s where we need to go back to TWE’s exceptional review of Brennan’s working group:

[…] On June 27, 2016, Director James Clapper signed the “Coordination of Clandestine Human Source and Human-Enabled Foreign Intelligence Collection and Counterintelligence Activities in the United States”. The same day, Director Brennan and Chief Alex Younger spoke with each other.

Two days later, on June 29, 2016, Director Brennan gave remarks at the Council On Foreign Relations.

The next month, in July 2016, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterintelligence Mission Center served as a conduit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by using contacts developed by the Central Intelligence Agency between Russian individuals and members of the Trump campaign.

“The unit helped trigger the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia by serving as a conduit to the FBI last year for information the CIA develooped on contacts between Russian individuals and Trump campaign associates, officials said.” — The Washington Post

“Last year, the center played an important part in detecting Russian efforts to cultivate associates of the Trump campaign. Former CIA director John Brennan testified in May that he became ‘worried by a number of contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons’ and alerted the FBI.” — The Washington Post

On July 2, 2016, Special Agent Strzok, David Laufman, the boyfriend of Sally Moyer, [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] interviewed Hillary Clinton at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters, with David Kendall, Katherine Turner, Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson and [REDACTED] attending the interview.

Strzok then listened to Hillary’s phone interview on CNN, where she denied sending classified information, as he and Page texted each other about Director Comey’s intention to announce that they were nearly complete with the Midyear Exam investigation. Director Comey also engaged in a discussion over the telephone with the Midyear Exam investigation team about Hillary’s interview.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “You interview Hillary Clinton I guess it was July 2nd– 2016. But actually, you’re not there?”
JAMES COMEY: “No ’cause I’m the dir– at that point, the director of the F.B.I. Only on TV is the director jumping out of helicopters and conducting interviews. My job is to make the final decisions. The pros will do the interview, the agents who had actually been investigating her and crawling all around her life for a year. And that’s the way it should be.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “And after the interview, what did you learn?”
JAMES COMEY: “Spent a lotta time on the phone with the team that afternoon and learned that we didn’t find anything, the team didn’t, that changed their view of the case. That this was a case that the Department of Justice would never prosecute. And, most importantly, they didn’t want to do additional investigation. There was nothing she said that they believed we could prove was false. And there was nothing else they needed to run down to see if she was testifying to us falsely. And so the view of the team was, ‘We’re done here. Our view of this case is firm. No prosecutor would prosecute this case.” — ABC News

On July 5, 2016, Director Comey announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be closing the Midyear Exam investigation, with zero recommendations for charges for Hillary Clinton. The next day, Attorney General Lynch released her statement that there would be no charges.

On June 13, 2016, Director Brennan — introduced by General John Allen and moderated by Bruce Riedel — hosted a discussion titled “CIA’s Strategy In the Face of Emerging Challenges” at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

A few days later, on July 19, 2016, Director Brennan attended a Leadership Dinner at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, where he discussed the modernisation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Open Source Enterprise.

Two days later, on July 21, 2016, a number of White House officials attended a high-level security meeting, which featured people from the National Security Council, the United States Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. During the meeting, they discussed the reports that the Russian Government had hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

Hours later, on July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks started to publish the e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. At the same time, American intelligence started to collect conversations where Russian officials discussed contacts with Trump associates.

“The warning signs had been building throughout the summer, but were far from clear. As WikiLeaks was pushing out emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee through online publication, American intelligence began picking up conversations in which Russian officials were discussing contacts with Trump associates, and European allies were starting to pass along information about people close to Mr. Trump meeting with Russians in the Netherlands, Britain and other countries.” — The New York Times

The next day, on July 23, 2016, Alexander Downer informed Elizabeth Dibble at the United States Embassy in London of his conversation with Papadopoulos from May 10, 2016. The information was then transmitted from the United States Department of State to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters.

Four days later, on July 27, 2016, Trump hosted a press conference, where he said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.” At the same time, the Aspen Security Forum started, which was attended by Director Brennan, Director Clapper, Director Comey, John P. Carlin and Representative Adam Schiff.

Towards the end of July 2016, American intelligence agencies proceeded to inform the White House that the Russian Government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

On July 29, 2016, Strzok and Page texted each other about a new case and whether Page had discussed it with Deputy Director McCabe. The next day, on July 30, Strzok texted Page and wondered if he would be able to bring her to London with him.

On July 31, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, as Strzok texted Page about the importance of his visit to London.

Crossfire Hurricane had four targets:

  • George Papadopoulos — The May 2016 Downer meeting.
  • Carter Page — The 2013 Russian intelligence incident.
  • Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — The Russia Today dinner.
  • Paul Manafort — The Ukraine investigation.

The next month, in August 2016, Carter Page left the Trump campaign.

Now this is where we to have split it between two articles. This will focus on the Working Group. We will return the bigger half later.

At some point, Director Brennan received intelligence from an intelligence agency in the Baltic States — the Estonian Information Board — which featured a recording about money being moved from the Kremlin into an American presidential campaign.

“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.” — Paul Wood, BBC News

“According to the BBC, the justice department’s request came after a tipoff from an intelligence agency in one of the Baltic states. This is believed to be Estonia.” — The Guardian

As previously discussed, it should be noted that the Estonian Information Board conducted intelligence gathering on a meeting in the Czech Republic maintained by the organisation Rossotrudnichestvo, a meeting described within the Steele dossier, which allegedly featured Michael Cohen. It should also be noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation were aware of Sergei Millian through a 2011 investigation into Yury Zaytsev, the head of Washington’s Rossotrudnichestvo.

Director Brennan would also meet with Director Robert Hannigan of GCHQ and receive intelligence at “director level”, despite the two not being counterparts.

This Working Group was either formed in April or in August.

“The informal, inter-agency working group began to explore possible Russian interference last spring, long before the FBI received information from a former British spy hired to develop politically damaging and unverified research about Trump, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry.” — McClatchy

The McClatchy article, if taken at face value, would suggest that the Working Group was active months before mid-September 2016, which is the moment that the Crossfire Hurricane team received the Steele memos.

Alternatively, The Washington Post suggests that the Working Group was formed in August 2016, which contained several dozen analysts. For the purposes of these articles, we will be using the August 2016 start time.

After the beginning of August 2016, Director Brennan convened a secret task force — the “Working Group” — which was composed of agents from multiple agencies:

  • Central Intelligence Agency — Foreign
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation — Domestic
  • National Security Agency — Foreign
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence — Foreign
  • United States Department of Justice — Domestic
  • United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — Domestic

The Working Group operated out of the Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters, where it worked in secrecy away from the other members of the various intelligence agencies. Agents that participated in the Working Group had to sign non-disclosure agreements to access the shared intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. It has also been described as “informal”.

The Working Group would also report to two different sets of people:

  • President Barack Obama and less than fourteen (14) senior United States Government officials.
  • Operations specialists at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency
Image for post

The Working Group had a number of tasks to accomplish in their investigations of Donald Trump, his campaign and Russian interests.

  • The transfer of money from the Kremlin to assist the Trump campaign through the use of a system which paid thousands of Russian-American pensioners by funnelling the monies to e-mail hackers in the United States, or to funnel that money to intermediaries.
  • Locate the main financier behind the e-mail hacks of both the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta.

Attorneys at the United States Department of Justice’s National Security Department then attempted to file a FISA application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to intercept electronic records for two Russian banks — SVB Bank and Alfa Bank.

The Crossfire Hurricane investigation team, in conjunction with a number of agents at the Eastern District of Virginia under United States Attorney Dana Boente, reported to the Working Group, including the Central Intelligence Agency. During this time, they investigated the four main targets of Crossfire Hurricane, and they also investigated Roger Stone as part of their expanded WikiLeaks investigation.

“The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.” — The New York Times

As part of the secrecy surrounding the Working Group and Crossfire Hurricane, the Crossfire Hurricane team was provided their own source of funding, and they worked in a secure area, titled the “war room”, within the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters, which required special clearance to enter.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network warned officials and United States Congress that both American citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data had been illegally searched and stored. Those breaches extended to other intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

This was accomplished as the Office of Intelligence and Analysis opened a back door to give access to the intelligence agencies. Another aspect was that the United States Department of the Treasury attempted to transfer the work of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which was fought back by employees at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

At the time, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis was ran by the Assistant Secretary For Intelligence and Analysis, S. Leslie Ireland, whom also simultaneously worked as the National Intelligence Manager For Threat Finance at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She started both positions in July 2010, and left both positions in November 2016.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, in the summer of 2016, also inquired about reviewing the Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ guidelines under Executive Order 12333, but they were ultimately removed from the e-mail chain surrounding the issue.

The National Security Agency successfully collected the records of 151 million American phone calls through the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders to collect information from 42 individuals. This involved the distribution of 3,914 reports which contained information about Americans gathered in warrantless surveillance programs. The National Security Agency also collected metadata through pen register orders for 41 targets.

For a visual aide, you can use this interactive image from The Guardian to showcase how the two hop system works.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the United States Department of the Treasury all collectively worked on the investigation into Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as they scrutinised his communications to determine the extent of his communications with Russian Government contacts.

In August 2016, Paul Wood of BBC News contacted a retired spy, where the spy mentioned that they had heard of the existence of Russian blackmail on Trump from “the head of an East European intelligence agency”. The same month, Director Brennan shared intelligence with Director Comey, which contained information showing that the Russian Government was behind the interference of the 2016 United States presidential election. Directors Brennan and Comey would engage in further conversations as summer rolled on.

On August 2, 2016, Strzok and another agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation met with Downer in London, where they discussed Papadopoulos. This led to concern from Deputy Director McCabe about information control, while the United Kingdom requested Strzok not to disclose any identities outside of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The next day, on August 3, 2016, the Russian Foreign Ministry transferred $30,000.00 to the Russian Embassy’s Citibank account in Washington, DC, where they left a memo line: “to finance election campaign of 2016”.

On August 19, 2016, Paul Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign, as a ramification of the actions of Ukraine.

In September 2016, Paul Ahern argued with numerous employees at the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network about the Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ powers over searching American citizens’ bank accounts and financial details as there were draft guidelines which authorised it, although the guidelines were never finalised.

On September 14, 2016, Special Agent Strzok attended a briefing hosted by the National Security Agency.

On September 26, 2016, John Carlin filed a notification with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court. These efforts to acquire a FISA on Carter Page were discussed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as Lisa Page learned of the plans around this time.

“According to Page’s testimony, she first learned of plans to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page approximately a month before the FISA was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.” — Jeff Carlson, The Epoch Times

By the end of September 2016, agents at both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, people at Capitol Hill, and other people at other intelligence agencies were leaking information surrounding the investigation of Trump and Russia to The New York Times, which was investigated in an effort led by Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers.

On October 21, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice — signed off by Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates — formally filed their Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to monitor the communications of Carter Page, in a document containing over 50 pages.

The secret surveillance order was then approved by Judge Rosemary Collyer at the Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act Court, which granted permission to conduct electronic surveillance on Carter.

The FISA order was ultimately used by Director Brennan’s Working Group, as the information gathered gave them multiple investigative leads into the Trump campaign. This was most likely used in conjunction with Paul Manafort’s own active FISA, which was also being used for surveillance.

The FBI and other US agencies have been combing through information obtained through that FISA as part of its ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.” — CNN

“A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine’s former ruling party, the sources told CNN.

The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.

The FBI then restarted surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.” — CNN

As a reminder:

“Here is one hypothetical scenario. The NSA requests approval from the FISA court to collect the communications of the Arab-American Civil Rights League on the grounds that it suspects some dubious characters have been using its facilities. Over a period of months (if there a restriction on the duration of electronic surveillance under FISA rules), they register 1,000 communications. Using ‘first hop’ privileges they identify 250 persons whose own communications they wish to tap. Using “second hop” privileges they next identify a total of 1,500 more people whose communications they wish to tap. That makes a total of 2,700 persons whose telephone calls they are monitoring and storing. Each year, the NSC requests warrants from the FISA courts about 500 times. Hence, we can project more than 1 million telephone numbers now under surveillance for an indefinite period of time. For we should further note that once an official investigation is begun the records acquire the status of legal documents in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding.” — Michael Brenner, The Huffington Post

Between November 1–6, 2016, Paul Wood met with Glenn Simpson at BBC News’s Washington station to have lunch, where Simpson provided Wood with a redacted copy of the Steele memos. Shortly after this, Wood then contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in an attempt to corroborate the information, where he received an unofficial intermediary whom said they the Steele memos were credible and they had numerous outside sources to it.

Mr Wood said he had asked the CIA about the allegations made in the dossier, which is said to have circulated for months among major media outlets, who were not able to corroborate its contents, before it was published by BuzzFeed.
I sent a message to the CIA at the beginning of November to ask them about these allegations,’ said Mr Wood.
‘It was illegal for any official to talk to me about them, but I got a message back through an intermediary that said the allegations were regarded as credible. And more than that, there was more than a single source for them, not just this MI6 man.’” — The Independent

On December 9, 2016, President Obama ordered a review to be carried out by American intelligence agencies to research Russian interference in United States elections going back to 2008. The same day, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller — with assistance from Julie Tate — published the article “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” in The Washington Post, while David E. Sanger and Scott Shane published “Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says” in The New York Times.

As part of the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment, Director Brennan hand-picked a number of agents from both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one of whom was Special Agent Peter Strzok, whom worked as an intermediary between Director Comey and Director Brennan.

The next day, on December 10, 2016, Nakashima and Entous — again with Tate’s assistance — published the article “FBI and CIA give differing accounts to lawmakers on Russia’s motives in 2016 hacks” in The Washington Post. A reporter, meanwhile, sent an inquiry to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they asked whether they agreed with the conclusion that Russia assisted President-elect Trump with his election victorr, which was responded to by Special Agent Strzok.

Three days later, on December 13, 2016, Eric Lipton, Sanger and Shane, with contributions from Kitty Bennett, published the article “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.” in The New York Times. On the same day, Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Lindsay published the article “Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking — sources” in Reuters, which was about the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

This resulted in Director Clapper, Director Brennan, Director Comey and Director Vincent Stewart all collectively declining to brief the House Intelligence Committee on the issues surrounding their conflicting assessments on the Russian cyber attacks. At the same time, Strzok and Page’s texts allegedly stopped being stored internally, as the initial batch of texts messages end on December 13.

Two days later, on December 15, Strzok and Page texted each other about a sister organisation leaking to the mainstream media. The next day, December 16, Strzok texted Page again, this time to discuss an article in The Washington Post“FBI in agreement with CIA that Russia aimed to help Trump win White House”, where Strzok argued that the Central Intelligence Agency is more capable of manipulating the press and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had the initial position, not the Central Intelligence Agency.

Two days later again, on December 18, 2016, Strzok and Page discussed his intelligence submissions to the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference. Strzok expressed concern that the White House would scapegoat the Federal Bureau of Investigation using the classified portion of the report. One day later, on December 19, Page texted Strzok about the number of mainstream media stories where they actively played a personal role in, as Strzok questioned whether he should have done anything differently to prevent the rise of Donald Trump.

On January 5, 2017, Director Comey, Director Brennan, Director Michael Rogers and Director Clapper briefed President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the Intelligence Community Assessment and a 2-page synopsis of the Steele dossier. But we’ll talk more about this later.

On January 18, 2017, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon published the article “FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump” in McClatchy.

On January 21, 2017, Zeeshan Aleem published the article “6 different agencies have come together to investigate Trump’s possible Russia ties” in Vox.

On January 22, 2017, Carol E. Lee, Devlin Barrett and Shane Harris published the article “U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia” in The Wall Street Journal.

On June 9, 2017, Special Agent Strzok received an agency coin with the signature of Director Brennan. Agency coins are handed out to “exceptional employees” recognised by the Agency.

On September 20, 2017, John Brennan created his Twitter account.

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And he’s been tweeting threats towards President Trump ever since, to the point that his national security clearance was revoked.

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