Did This NYT Piece Give the CIA Cover for Their Reported Refusal to Cooperate with the DOJ's Russia Probe?

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Posted: Feb 14, 2020 2:45 PM
Did This NYT Piece Give the CIA Cover for Their Reported Refusal to Cooperate with the DOJ's Russia Probe?

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It’s disgusting that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is a known liar, will get off scot-free. The Department of Justice announced they were no longer investigating him. If he can walk, so can Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. Yet, the probe that U.S. Attorney John Durham and Attorney General William Barr are running—the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion fiasco—remains open. It’s now a criminal investigation, and a lot of dirty laundry could be aired from people who thought this would be swept under the rug because Hillary would be president. As Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth. That punch was Donald Trump’s upset 2016 win.

For two years, the liberal media peddled the myth that the Russians colluded with Trump to win the election. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two -year investigation into the matter proved that there was zero evidence to prove such an allegation. And then DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report on Obama-era FISA abuses that proved the Trump dossier, the basis for this Trump-Kremlin myth, was pretty much trash. It was unreliable. And that concluded the end of the Russian collusion circus that has driven the Left mad. The double-tap was rendered. This story is dead. For a lot of us, we knew that this was a nothingburger after lead after lead, “bombshell” after “bombshell” collapsed because there was no evidence. So, who gave this whole theory life? No, there is no consensus among the 17 intelligence agencies when it was just the CIA, FBI, and NSA who came up with this conclusion. Did Russia interfere? They tried, but they didn’t do it in concert with the Trump campaign, which was the hook. And is this behavior out of the ordinary? No. We’ve done it. We’ve interfered in other nation’s elections. It’s a hallmark characteristic of the Cold War—and nations still do it. This is geopolitics. Of course, this is on the table for everyone.

Yet, now the DOJ probe is focusing on how the intelligence analysts on this case came to this conclusion—and the CIA is reportedly stonewalling the investigation. Former CIA Director John Brennan, a Trump critic, is sure to be put under the microscope. After all, he’s not known for having a spotless tenure at Langley having spied on the staff of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Still, the liberal media is anti-Trump. They have to protect their own and the people who could be burned for it, so one could read this New York Times piece as running interference on the notion that the intelligence community could have bad actors. From the get-go, the piece tries to discredit the deep state activities against this administration, whilst also making the case that DOJ investigators just cannot comprehend how the IC works or something. Therefore, this is really about Trump going after Brennan. Granted, the publication noted that Durham was part of the probe investigating the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program under Bush, which is buried of course (via NYT):

Trump administration officials investigating the government’s response to Russia’s election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow’s covert operation, according to people familiar with aspects of the inquiry.

[...]

Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said.

[…]

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Thursday evening, Mr. Brennan was asked to respond to this article. He both dismissed Mr. Durham’s apparent line of inquiry and portrayed it as dangerous.

“It’s kind of silly,” Mr. Brennan said. “Is there a criminal investigation now on analytic judgments and the activities of C.I.A. in terms of trying to protect our national security? I’m certainly willing to talk to Mr. Durham or anybody else who has any questions about what we did during this period of 2016.”

[…]

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Thursday evening, Mr. Brennan was asked to respond to this article. He both dismissed Mr. Durham’s apparent line of inquiry and portrayed it as dangerous.

“It’s kind of silly,” Mr. Brennan said. “Is there a criminal investigation now on analytic judgments and the activities of C.I.A. in terms of trying to protect our national security? I’m certainly willing to talk to Mr. Durham or anybody else who has any questions about what we did during this period of 2016.”

But other intelligence officials, according to an American official, are reserving judgment about Mr. Durham, who previously spent years investigating the C.I.A. over its torture program and its destruction of interrogation videotapes without charging anyone with a crime. Two detainees died in the agency’s custody.

[…]

In recent months, Mr. Durham and his team have examined emails among a small group of intelligence analysts from multiple agencies, including the C.I.A., F.B.I. and National Security Agency, who worked together to assess the Russian operation. Investigators have interviewed those analysts and their supervisors about the motivations behind several episodes in which some sought access to delicate information from the other agencies and were told — initially, at least — that they could not see it.

One fight, they said, concerned the identity and placement of a C.I.A. source inside the Kremlin. Analysts at the National Security Agency wanted to know more about him to weigh the credibility of his information. The C.I.A. was initially reluctant to share details about the Russian’s identity but eventually relented.

But officials disagreed about how much weight to give the source’s information, and the intelligence community’s eventual assessment apparently reflected that division. While the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. concluded with “high confidence” that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was specifically trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, the National Security Agency agreed but said it had only “moderate confidence.”

But officials disagreed about how much weight to give the source’s information, and the intelligence community’s eventual assessment apparently reflected that division.

[…]

A second fight that Mr. Durham is focused on, the people said, centered on a certain data set. The nature of the data and of the dispute remains unclear, though one person suggested that the disagreement concerned whether N.S.A. analysts could see the raw information or whether the C.I.A., before sharing it, needed to filter the data to mask names and other identifying details about Americans and American organizations.

[…]

One problem in making sense of these disputes between the intelligence agencies nearly four years later, several people said, is that officials did not caveat their emails with detailed descriptions of their motivations and rationales for balking. That has left the messages open to multiple potential readings.

Of course, the parties at the center of this story declined to comment, but the root of all this—with regards to putting the IC under the microscope—could be traced to the Times’ own reporting on the Crossfire Hurricane, the non-spying, spying operation that the FBI ran against the Trump campaign. Yes, the FBI had sources attempt to glean information from Trump officials without them knowing who they worked for and then relayed any said information to another party, but that’s not spying or something. One of the people at the center of this operation was George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign official who was accosted by “Azra Turk,” a woman who sent to run this intelligence exercise. Stefan Halper, another known CIA asset, was also another person tasked with gleaning information from Trump folks. Papadopoulos had zero problems with the Times’ report on this 2016 rendezvous, though he fled Turk was CIA, not FBI.