(National Sentinel) Oversight: House Intelligence Community chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., plans to widen an already broad investigation into Obama-era abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to include former CIA Director John Brennan, according to investigative reporter Paul Sperry.
The reason: Nunes is concerned about Brennan’s alleged role in promoting as a legitimate piece of intelligence the so-called “Trump dossier,” which was never vetted and was instead a political opposition research document paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Also, according to Sperry, Nunes believes that the former CIA chief may have perjured himself during sworn congressional testimony.
Writing in Real Clear Investigations, Sperry reported:
In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”
Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document (excerpt here), even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Last week Nunes released the scandalous “FISA Memo,” which detailed, among other things, serial abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by upper echelon officials in the FBI and Justice Department to prevent Donald J. Trump from becoming president and to undermine him after he defeated Hillary Clinton in November 2016.
Subsequent reporting has claimed that the FISA memo is only the first of several that Nunes plans to release over the next several months, all of which will provide further details into the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into alleged “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign and Moscow’s interference in the last election.
The dossier was commissioned by oppo research firm Fusion GPS, which retained former British spy Christopher Steele to compile it. He reportedly relied on Russian sources who passed along often salacious information regarding President Donald J. Trump’s behavior in Moscow hotels, including involvement with prostitutes. But none of the information has checked out.
Also, Nunes and the committee are concerned about ranking officials within the Obama FBI and Justice Department using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISC warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
Sperry says Nunes’ probe includes additional senior Obama officials throughout the Executive Branch who may have played a role in the spying scandal. He reported further:
Nunes plans to soon release a separate report detailing the Obama State Department’s role in creating and disseminating the dossier — which has emerged as the foundation of the Obama administration’s Russia “collusion” investigation. Among other things, the report will identify Obama-appointed diplomats who worked with partisan operatives close to Hillary Clinton to help ex-British spy Christopher Steele compile the dossier, sources say.
“Those are the first two phases” of Nunes’ multipart inquiry, a senior investigator told Sperry. “In phase three, the involvement of the intelligence community will come into sharper focus.”
The investigator said that Nunes will focus on Brennan’s role, but also examine any possible involvement by “Obama’s first CIA director, Leon Panetta, along with the former president’s intelligence czar, James Clapper, and national security adviser, Susan Rice, and security adviser-turned U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, among other intelligence officials.”
“John Brennan did more than anyone to promulgate the dirty dossier,” the investigator said. “He politicized and effectively weaponized what was false intelligence against Trump.”
Several Capitol Hill sources say Brennan, a fiercely loyal Obama appointee, talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They say he also fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, while pressuring the bureau to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign figures starting in the summer of 2016.
As the operation against Team Trump intensified, it appears as though more Obama officials than previously thought may have been involved. One thing is certain, Sperry said — several people, including Hillary Clinton and Steele, were desperate to get the contents of the dossier into the press, and attempted to do so throughout the summer of 2016.
None of the traditional “mainstream” media outlets were interested, however, because the contents of the dossier could not be verified. However, finally, Buzzfeed published the entire 35-page document in January 2017, shortly before Trump took office. The news site has since been sued by “Trump campaign lawyer Michael Cohen, whom the dossier accused of conspiring with the Kremlin to pay Russian hackers to steal Clinton campaign emails. It’s one of several libel and defamation lawsuits tied to the dossier,” Sperry noted.
Russian tech firms named in the dossier have also filed suit.
Former CIA field operations officer Gene Coyle, a 30-year agency veteran who served under Brennan, said he was “known as the greatest sycophant in the history of the CIA, and a supporter of Hillary Clinton before the election.”
“I find it hard to put any real credence in anything that the man says,” he added.
Brennan, now a CNN analyst, has been openly critical of Nunes and Republican House Intel members, as well as Trump.
I had many fights with Congressional Dems over the years on national security matters. But I never witnessed the type of reckless partisan behavior I am now seeing from Nunes and House Republicans. Absence of moral and ethical leadership in WH is fueling this government crisis. https://t.co/KEUrsgtqhp
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) February 1, 2018
“I had many fights with Congressional Dems over the years on national security matters. But I never witnessed the type of reckless partisan behavior I am now seeing from Nunes and House Republicans. Absence of moral and ethical leadership in WH is fueling this government crisis,” he tweeted earlier this month.
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan tore into Nunes for releasing the FISA memo, claiming the head of the intelligence panel has “abused the office of the chairmanship.”
“It really underscores just how partisan Mr. Nunes has been,” Brennan said.
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