By Jon Dougherty
A report in The New York Times late Wednesday likely spells very dire news for some of former President Obama’s ranking federal law enforcement and intelligence community officials.
Granted, we tend to take NY Times reporting with a grain of salt when it comes to all things “Spygate,” but if true, fired FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper might want to “lawyer up,” said Fox News host Sean Hannity last night on his show.
According to the Times, U.S. Attorney John ‘Bull’ Durham wants to interview senior CIA officials regarding the origins of the Spygate probe — and it’s not likely just an off-the-cuff, off-the-record chat like the kind Comey had with Hillary Clinton in 2016:
Justice Department officials intend to interview senior C.I.A. officers as they review the Russia investigation, according to people briefed on the matter, indicating they are focused partly on the intelligence agencies’ most explosive conclusion about the 2016 election: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia intervened to benefit Donald J. Trump.
The interview plans are the latest sign the Justice Department will take a critical look at the C.I.A.’s work on Russia’s election interference. Investigators want to talk with at least one senior counterintelligence official and a senior C.I.A. analyst, the people said. Both officials were involved in the agency’s work on understanding the Russian campaign to sabotage the election in 2016.
While the Justice Department review is not a criminal inquiry, it has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the C.I.A., according to former officials. Senior agency officials have questioned why the C.I.A.’s analytical work should be subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny. Attorney General William P. Barr, who is overseeing the review, assigned the United States attorney in Connecticut, John H. Durham, to conduct it.
It should be noted that a) the Justice Department doesn’t do anything but ‘criminal inquiries,’ so the Times’ effort to downplay the significance of this development is typical Left-wing pabulum; b) if this wasn’t a ‘criminal inquiry,’ then you have to ask why folks within the CIA are so nervous and full of “anxiety.”
Oh, and Gina Haspel, the current CIA director, is instructing her agency to cooperate fully — another sign that this is a legitimate ‘criminal inquiry’ and not just some random fact-finding exercise:
Ms. Haspel will not block the interviews and has told the agency that talking with Mr. Durham need not jeopardize secrets and is consistent with cooperating with Mr. Barr’s inquiry.
As for Hannity, his sources have been really good regarding ongoing developments in the Spygate case. He noted during his opening monologue Wednesday evening that Durham’s probe is going international — “pay attention to Italy, Great Britain, and Australia,” he said, mentioning three U.S. allies, two of which are members of the “Five Eyes” global intelligence-sharing agreement (the U.K. and Britain).
“High-ranking former bureaucrats [of the deep state], they are in deep, deep, trouble tonight, and there’s no stopping this train,” Hannity noted.
In a separate appearance on Fox News, John Yoo, former assistant attorney general under the George W. Bush administration, said it’s natural that the Justice Department, under Attorney General William Barr’s instructions to get to the origins of the ‘Russiagate’ probe, would want his people to talk to the intelligence community.
After all, that’s where it began.
Yoo got to the nub of the issue.
“The CIA should not be surprised,” he said. “I mean, Attorney General Barr, I think, is carrying out his duty to find out how it was that the [Obama] Justice Department, the FBI, put a warrant, and wiretaps, and launched an investigation into a presidential campaign using the powers they usually use for counterintelligence (my emphasis).
“That’s a red line that hasn’t been crossed since Watergate in which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was designed to stop,” he continued. “So of course, the attorney general is going to want to find out, where did the idea come from.
“And look, here’s another news flash,” Yoo said. “Soon you’re gonna see a leak: ‘Attorney General William Barr wants to interview FBI officials,’ and then there’ll be another leak, ‘Attorney General Barr wants to interview Justice Department officials.’
“This is all just sort of the natural start of any kind of investigation,” Yoo noted further. “And they certainly shouldn’t be leaking to The New York Times that they’re upset about being questioned.”
As for the three countries Hannity mentioned:
— Italy: Last month, we reported that “In a surprise move earlier this week, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fired his country’s top three intelligence officials, reportedly because they cooperated with the Obama regime in its treasonous ‘Spygate’ operation against the 2016 Trump campaign.” This got almost no coverage in the U.S. media.
PM @GiuseppeConteIT has suddenly requested resignations from 6 deputy directors of Italian intelligence agencies: DIS, AISI and AISE.
Partito Democratico replies: "it's a regime", but in Rome, everybody knows its' all about SpyGate and Trump sabotage.https://t.co/6M6WrLns2S
— Giulio Occhionero (@g_occhionero) May 16, 2019
Il Giornale reported:
As revealed by La Repubblica , the Conte government has requested that four deputy directors – two from the Information Security Department (Dis), one from the External Security Information Agency (AISE) and the other from the Internal Security Information Agency (Aisi) – voluntarily resign.
This was huge because obviously, the Italian PM acted on POTUS Trump’s request.
— Britain: Also last month, we reported on a John Solomon story from The Hill that British intelligence officials contacted the incoming Trump administration in January 2017 to inform them that Christopher Steele’s infamous ‘dossier’ used by Comey’s FBI to begin the FISA warrant process against Team Trump was garbage:
A week before President-elect Donald J. Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, British intelligence officials contacted his incoming national security team, then led by National Security Adviser-select Michael Flynn, that they had ‘little confidence’ in the veracity of the infamous “dossier” written by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele.
Not only that, according to investigative journalist John Solomon writing at The Hill, but multiple witnesses have informed Congress of the same thing, including the fact that “Britain’s top national security official sent a private communique to the incoming administration, addressing his country’s participation in the counterintelligence probe into the now-debunked Trump-Russia election collusion.”
— Australia: In June 2018, we reported what the former Australian ambassador to the U.S., Alexander Downer, said about the state date of the Spygate probe — that it began with minor Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos — was incorrect, according to then-House Intelligence Committee chairman, now ranking member, Devin Nunes.
And POTUS Trump instructed Barr to look into the international connections to Spygate last month as well.
Time for Comey, Brennan, and Clapper to “lawyer up?” Chances are good they already have.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10