If you're joining late, Part 1 considers whether it really is likely that the anti-Trump conspirators would take the extraordinary risks they have taken simply to get Hillary Clinton elected president; or, perhaps, whether their collective panic has another explanation -- a red thread? Part 2 minutely examines Nellie H. Ohr, the Russian-speaking-ham-radio-operator Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson tried in vain to hide from investigators, and finds a tangle of red threads; Part 3 notes that Edward Baumgartner, another Fusion GPS Russia expert, was a Russian history major at Vassar (Class of 1995) when Nellie H. Ohr was a Russian professor at Vassar. Part 4 examines ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele's political background and finds that he and his "opposite number," Nellie H. Ohr, may be birds of a red feather. Part 5 drills down on why the "Russian threat within," circa 2016-2018, doesn't smell right, and how to judge when information originating in Moscow is intelligence and when it is disinformation.
Remember that Washington Post epic of June 23, 2017, "Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault"?
It opened breathlessly, with audible squeals:
Early last August , an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.
Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.
But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.
Sent by courier from the CIA? "Eyes only" instructions? An intelligence bombshell?
A report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government?
Detailing direct involvement, Putin's specific instructions to defeat or at least damage Hillary Clinton, and help elect Donald Trump ...?
That does sounds familiar. Could it be that inside this super-secret CIA envelop for Obama were the first several memos (or essence thereof) of the Steele "dossier"?
This now becomes a burning question.
We may forget about the "Intelligence Community's" starring role in presenting and institutionalizing the Trump-Russia narrative, especially in these recent months of focus on hard, mounting evidence of the machinations of the anti-Trump "coup" plotters inside the FBI and the DOJ. However, as the anti-Trump conspirators and their allies in political office and media now regroup post-Memo, they are quickly rallying around that old "IC" handout -- sorry, "assessment" -- published back on January 6, 2017.
The June 2017 Post epic is all about the five months between the White House arrival of the CIA "eyes only" envelop in August 2016, and the incorporation of its "views," finally, into that DNI, CIA and FBI assessment in January 2017.
The Post puts it this way:
The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John O. Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.
It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view. Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August — that Putin was working to elect Trump.
So, again: Might what officials "learned from Brennan in August" come down to the contents of the DNC/Hillary opposition research document known as the Steele "dossier"?
Maybe I missed something -- it is a Big Story -- but I am now wondering if Brennan has ever been quizzed about that hot little envelop he passed to Obama in August 2016. The Post story breaking this piece of the story appeared on June 23, 2017; Brennan's last day of congressional testimony, I believe, was May 23, 2017.
Now that we know the Steele "dossier" was an "essential part" of the FBI/DOJ application to the secret FISA court for its surveillance warrant -- and knowingly presented by FBI/DOJ to the court without revealing that the "dossier" was bought and paid for by the DNC and Hillary campaign -- it seems possible that the Steele "dossier" was also "an essential part" of what the CIA had, too. If that's the case, it follows that the Steele "dossier" was an essential part, if not the mainstay, of the entire IC- Russian-interference "assessment" enterprise, which also includes statements and comments of "IC" principals. Recall when James Comey, for example, stated, as fact, that Putin "hated" Hillary Clinton. Was this the "dossier" talking again?
These are questions not to lose sight of as battle is joined -- and especially while trying to keep our red threads straight. Unusually, in this same context, John Brennan showed off his own "red thread" at the height of the presidential campaign. On September 16, 2016, for some reason, the sitting CIA director announced he had voted for Communist Party USA leader Gus Hall in the 1976 presidential election.
That was one month after Brennan couriered over that "eyes only" envelop -- perhaps containing the Steele "dossier," created by "confirmed socialist" Christopher Steele -- to President Obama, who, to highlight his own ever-unspooling red thread, was mentored by a Communist operative on an FBI arrest list in case of war with the USSR.
Heavens, suddenly I am reminded of Lend Lease -- "From Hammer to Hopkins to White and back again to Hopkins..."
Never mind. A little American Betrayal inside baseball.
Brennan's late-career confession came during a panel discussion of "diversity in the intelligence community" when he recalled his own CIA employment polygraph in 1980. On being asked by the polygrapher about whether he had ever worked with or for a group dedicated to overthrowing the US, he spoke up about his 1976 vote for the CPUSA. Forty years later, this was sensational news.
Or was it? The story garnered a headline or two but not more -- that is, outside of setting the hair on fire, privately, of long-retired, anti-Communist intelligence professionals, the last of the Mohecans.
"I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, 'OK, here's the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens,'" Brennan said.
He said he chose to be forthcoming.
"I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change.
Unhappiness with "the system" -- what dreary cant. More revealing today is the old rhetoric of Communist Party USA leader Gus Hall, circa 1975, from his "Report to the 21st Convention of the Communist Party USA." If this is what appealed to the future CIA director, it is a shocking window on the state of Brennan's political mind while he studied political science at Fordham University in the mid-1970s. More than the nuts and bolts of the Communist program, what is especially striking in Hall's speechifying is the visceral hatred of the USA that animates it. America is -- "the arsenal for the military fascist dictatorships and the reactionary colonial rulers the world over" --"the lair of the assassins, the home base of the hit men of imperialism" -- "the main source, the cesspool of corruption of the lifeline of the capitalist world" -- "they operate like the gangsters that they are are, who have lost all possibility of winning public support for their operations or ideas."
Not unexpectedly, Communist honcho Hall casts anti-Communism in America as a "weapon" of "fascism": "Anticommunism is a weapon in the preparation of the soil and the atmosphere for fascism."
The young, idealistic, future Obama-fixer and CIA director, however, was enthused.
We don't know the extent to which Brennan followed or participated in Communist Party activities in these Brezhnev years. Nor do we know if he was ever himself a Communist Party member. He says he told the CIA polygrapher that he was at that moment not a member of the Communist Party, and, according to Brennan's story, the polygrapher did not follow up to inquire about past membership -- a key question since Communist Party members routinely dropped their membership when it became a matter of expedience, such as when trying to enter the US government, including the CIA.
I said I'm not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, 'OK,' and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, 'Well, I'm screwed.'"
But he soon got his admission notice to the CIA and was relieved, he said ...
If the moral of Brennan's uplifting little story is that there is no bar to joining the CIA, not even Communist Party sympathies, that's "diversity" for you.
In the end, though, it is Brennan's current attitude toward the episode that is most significant. "We've all had indiscretions in our past," he explained, which is often true; still, he evinces not a tinge of shame or just embarassment over having voted during the Cold War for a servile Communist hack devoted to advancing the Kremlin's overthrow of America, even while leading an organization created to defend against the Kremlin overthrow of America.
That's a little more red thread right there.
But what was in that envelop?
To be cont'd.