Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)

May 31, 2019 – The DOJ admits the FBI has never seen an unredacted version of the Crowdstrike report on the DNC Russian hacking claim

“The foundation for the Russian election interference narrative is built on the claim of Russians hacking the servers of the Democrat National Committee (DNC), and subsequently releasing damaging emails that showed the DNC worked to help Hillary Clinton and eliminate Bernie Sanders.

Despite the Russian ‘hacking’ claim the DOJ previously admitted the DNC would not let FBI investigators review the DNC server.  Instead the DNC provided the FBI with analysis of a technical review done through a cyber-security contract with Crowdstrike.

The narrative around the DNC hack claim was always sketchy; many people believe the DNC email data was downloaded onto a flash drive and leaked.  In a court filing (full pdf below) the scale of sketchy has increased exponentially.

Suspecting they could prove the Russian hacking claim was false, lawyers representing Roger Stone requested the full Crowdstrike report on the DNC hack.  When the DOJ responded to the Stone motion they made a rather significant admission.  Not only did the FBI not review the DNC server, the FBI/DOJ never even saw the Crowdstrike report.

Yes, that is correct.  The FBI and DOJ were only allowed to see a “draft” report prepared by Crowdstrike, and that report was redacted… and that redacted draft is the “last version of the report produced”; meaning, there are no unredacted & final versions.

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!

This means the FBI and DOJ, and all of the downstream claims by the intelligence apparatus; including the December 2016 Joint Analysis Report and January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, all the way to the Weissmann/Mueller report and the continued claims therein; were based on the official intelligence agencies of the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Justice taking the word of a hired contractor for the Democrat party….. despite their inability to examine the server and/or actually see an unredacted technical forensic report from the investigating contractor.

The entire apparatus of the U.S. government just took their word for it…

…and used the claim therein as an official position…

…which led to a subsequent government claim, in court, of absolute certainty that Russia hacked the DNC.

Think about that for a few minutes.

The full intelligence apparatus of the United States government is relying on a report they have never even been allowed to see or confirm; that was created by a paid contractor for a political victim that would not allow the FBI to investigate their claim.

The DNC server issue is foundation, and cornerstone, of the U.S. government’s position on “Russia hacking” and the election interference narrative; and that narrative is based on zero factual evidence to affirm the U.S. government’s position.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/15/2019)

December 18, 2018 – Four major blows to the credibility of the Steele dossier…why the lies in the Steele dossier matter

(…) “The continued and proven failures of the Steele dossier matter. Not only was it used in obtaining the Page FISA warrant, but was also used in intelligence-community documents provided to Obama and his administration.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has claimed he never used the dossier in the Intelligence Community assessment. That claim was later disputed by his co-author, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who said on CNN that “some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community assessment from other sources in which we had very high confidence to it.”

Former NSA Director Mike Rogers was more specific:

“In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier—described as ‘the Christopher Steele information’—was ‘added’ as an ‘appendix to the ICA [Intelligence Community Assessment] draft,’ and that consideration of that appendix was ‘part of the overall ICA review/approval process.’”

In August, Brennan did an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that was discussed in an Epoch Times article, “Did Brennan Admit to Using Reverse Targeting to Spy on the Trump Campaign?” During that interview, Brennan repeatedly stated his knowledge of Russian contacts with U.S. citizens. Maddow pursued his conclusions from those contacts:

Maddow: While you were in office as CIA director, before you left on inauguration day, did you conclude that U.S. persons were successfully leveraged in that effort?

Brennan: No.

The look of shocked surprise on Maddow’s face was notable at Brennan’s denial that the Russians had successfully engaged Americans to obtain their goals.

The Steele dossier, written by a British national and former MI6 agent, was used by both the FBI and the CIA and a summary of the document was provided directly to Obama. And yet, for all the weight attached to this document, most of its assertions have never been proven to be factual, many have been proven to be false and it remains unverified to this day.

Which is perhaps fitting for a document that had its origination as something to be used by Hillary Clinton to challenge the election in the then-unlikely event she lost.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 12/18/2018)

May 15, 2018 – Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan’s Denial of Reliance on Dossier

John Brennan (Credit: Politico)

“Former CIA Director John Brennan’s insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.

Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA. And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.

These accounts are at odds with Brennan’s May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier  was “not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community’s assessment” that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on “Meet the Press.”

In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”

(…) “The dossier, which is made up of 16 opposition research-style memos on Trump underwritten by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s own campaign, is based mostly on uncorroborated third-hand sources. Still, the ICA has been viewed by much of the Washington establishment as the unimpeachable consensus of the U.S. intelligence community. Its conclusions that “Vladimir Putin ordered” the hacking and leaking of Clinton campaign emails “to help Trump’s chances of victory” have driven the “Russia collusion” narrative and subsequent investigations besieging the Trump presidency.

Except that the ICA did not reflect the consensus of the intelligence community. Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department’s intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.” (Read more: Real Clear Investigations, 5/15/18)

January, 2017 – The DOJ/FBI intelligence operation against Lt. General Michael Flynn

(…) “On January 3rd, 2017, the new congressional year began.  SSCI Vice-Chair Dianne Feinstein abdicated her position within the Gang-of-Eight, and turned over the reigns to Senator Mark Warner.  Warner was now the vice-chair of the SSCI and a Go8 member.

On January 6th, 2017, the Obama White House published the Intelligence Community Assessment, and declared:

We assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.  (pdf link)

It is not coincidental the ICA was “high confidence” by Brennan and Clapper; and less confidence by Mike Rogers (NSA).

With the Flynn Dec. 29, 2016, transcript in hand, the DOJ and FBI began aiding the Logan Act narrative with Obama intelligence officials supporting the Russia Conspiracy claims and decrying anyone who would interfere or counter the official U.S. position.

On January 14th, 2017, the content of the communication between Flynn and Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post by an unknown entity. Likely the leak came from the FBI’s counterintelligence operation; the same unit previously carrying out the 2016 campaign spying operations. [Andrew McCabe is highly suspected]

The FBI CoIntel group (Strzok, McCabe etc.), and the DOJ-NSD group (Yates, McCord etc.) were the largest stakeholders in the execution of the insurance policy phase because they were the epicenter of spygate, fraudulent FISA presentations and the formation of the Steele Dossier.

The media leak of the Flynn conversation with Kislyak was critical because the DOJ/FBI were pushing a political narrative. This was not about legality per se’, this effort was about establishing the framework for a preexisting investigation, based on a false premise, that would protect the DOJ and FBI.  The investigation they needed to continue evolved into the Mueller special counsel.  This was all insurance.

The Flynn-Kislyak leak led to Vice-President Mike Pence being hammered on January 15th, 2017, during a CBS Face the Nation interview about Trump campaign officials in contact with Russians.  Pence was exceptionally unprepared to answer the questions and allowed the media to blend questions about campaign contacts with necessary, and entirely appropriate, transition team contacts.

Sunday January 15th, 2017 – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here]

Mike Pence appears on CBS Face the Nation. (Credit: CBS)

JOHN DICKERSON: But there’s a distinction between that feeling about the press and legitimate inquiry, as you say, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing.

Just to button up one question, did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?

MIKE PENCE: Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy. (link)

*NOTE* The incoming administration was under a false-narrative siege created by the media.  At the time (early Jan, 2017) ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.  VP-elect Mike Pence poorly answered the question from Dickerson from a very defensive position.

The toxic media environment and Mike Pence speaking poorly during a Face The Nation interview now became a much bigger issue.

Once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised.  Michael Flynn is now contrast against Pence’s false point without clarification.  As National Security Advisor Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th, nine days after Pence made his comments.

During this ambush interview, disguised as a meeting, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka were contrasting Vice-President-elect Pence’s statements to CBS against the known action of Mike Flynn.  [Flynn has three options: either (1) Flynn contradicts Pence, or (2) he tells a lie; or (3) Flynn explains Pence misspoke, those were his options.]

How Flynn responded to the line of inquiry, and explained/reconciled the difference between Pence’s statement on Jan 15th and what actually took place on December 29th, 2016, is why the FBI ended up with the initial conclusion that Flynn wasn’t lying.

It is within this dynamic where the FD-302 reports, written by Strzok and Pientka, then became the subject of political manipulation by Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

The FBI knew the content of the Flynn call with Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in.  The FBI were intercepting those communications.  So when Pence said no-one had any contact on January 15th, the FBI crew IMMEDIATELY knew they had an issue to exploit.

We see the evidence of the FBI knowing they had an issue to exploit, and being very nervous about doing it, in the text messages between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok who would end up doing the questioning of Flynn.

The day before the Flynn interview:

January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!

♦Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy (MCCABE) this morning.” Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails… (Strzok’s meeting w Flynn the next day)

[We’re not sure who “John” is, but we know “Bill” is Bill Priestap, FBI Deputy Director in charge of Counterintelligence. And “Jen” is Jennifer Boone, FBI counterproliferation division]

So it’s the day before they interview Flynn.  Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails?  The answer is simple: they knew the content of the phone call between Mike Flynn and Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in, and they were about to exploit the Pence statement to CBS.  In essence they were admitting to monitoring Flynn, that’s why they were so nervous.  They were planning and plotting with Andrew McCabe about how they were going to exploit the phone-tap and the difference in public statements by VP Mike Pence.

There’s a good possibility Flynn was honest but his honesty contradicted Pence’s national statement on CBS; and Flynn likely tried to dance through a needle without being overly critical of VP-elect Pence misspeaking.   Remember, the alternative: if Flynn is brutally honest, the media now runs with a narrative about Vice-President Pence as a national liar.  

  • Wednesday January 25th, 2017,  –  The Department of Justice, National Security Division, (at this timeframe Mary McCord was head of the DOJ-NSD) – received a detailed readout from the FBI agents who had interviewed Flynn. Yates said she felt “it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible.”
  • Thursday January 26th – (morning) Yates called White House Counsel Don McGahn first thing that morning to tell him she had “a very sensitive matter” that had to be discussed face to face. McGahn agreed to meet with Yates later that afternoon.
  • Thursday January 26th – (afternoonSally Yates traveled to the White House along with a senior member of the DOJ’s National Security Division, “who was overseeing the matter”, that is Mary McCord.  This was Yates’ first meeting with McGahn in his office, which also acts as a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).

Yates said she began their meeting by laying out the media accounts and media statements made by Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking White House officials about General Flynn’s activity “that we knew not to be the truth.

According to Sally Yates testimony, she and Mary McCord presented all the information to McGahn so the White House could take action that they deemed appropriate.  When asked by McGahn if Flynn should be fired, Yates answered, “that really wasn’t our call.”

Yates also said her decision to notify the White House counsel had been discussed “at great length.”  According to her testimony: “Certainly leading up to our notification on the 26th, it was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”

Friday January 27th – (morning)  White House Counsel Don McGahn called Yates in the morning and asked if she could come back to his office.

Friday January 27th – (late afternoon) According to her testimony, Sally Yates returned to the White House late that afternoon.  One of McGahn’s topics discussed was whether Flynn could be prosecuted for his conduct.

Specifically, according to Yates, one of the questions *McGahn asked Yates: “Why does it matter to DOJ if one White House official lies to another?” She explained that it “was a whole lot more than that,” and reviewed the same issues outlined the prior day.

[*If you consider that McGahn was trying to thread the needle between Mike Pence’s poorly worded response to CBS, and Michael Flynn’s FBI questioning that came after Pence’s statement, McGahn would see the no-win situation Flynn was in during that inquisition.]

McGahn then expressed his concern that taking any action might interfere with the FBI investigation of Flynn, and Yates said it wouldn’t: “It wouldn’t really be fair of us to tell you this and then expect you to sit on your hands,” Yates claims to have told McGahn.

McGahn asked if he could look at the underlying evidence of Flynn’s conduct, and she said they would work with the FBI over the weekend and “get back with him on Monday morning.”

Friday January 27th, 2017 – (evening) In what appears to be only a few hours later, President Trump is having dinner with FBI Director James Comey where President Trump asked if he was under investigation. Trump was, but to continue the auspices of the ongoing investigation, Comey lied and told him he wasn’t.

This why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn interview becomes such an important facet.   We see that dynamic again playing out in the messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok; with Andrew McCabe providing the guidance.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/29/2019)

December 12, 2016 – CIA director Brennan selects FBI Peter Strzok to work on the Joint Analysis Report (JAR) and help write the Intel Community Assessment (ICA)

March 26, 2019 – “Last week Fox News journalist Catherine Herridge announced she had received 40 pages of text messages between former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his FBI Lawyer Lisa Page. [See Here]  These text communications have not been seen by congress, and were not released during prior requests for documents.  Herridge, released and wrote about two of the pages. [See Here]

Today, Herridge releases two more pages….  She’s awesome, and likely slow in the overall release to absorb the import; and for good reason.  Herridge’s release today highlights an important meeting as discussed within the texts:

In a Dec. 12, 2016, text reviewed by Fox News, Page wrote to McCabe: “Btw, [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper told Pete that he was meeting with [CIA Director John] Brennan and Cohen for dinner tonight. Just FYSA [for your situational awareness].”

Herridge’s angle is questioning why Peter “Pete” Strzok would be told about a meeting between CIA Director John Brennan, ODNI James Clapper and Deputy CIA Director David Cohen.  Current officials cannot explain the context of this December 12th, 2016 meeting and why “Pete” would know about it.

However, there’s an aspect to the background of this time-frame that Catherine Herridge is overlooking…. bear with me.

This meeting takes place on December 12th, 2016.  This is in the epicenter of the time when the Obama intelligence officials, specifically Clapper and Brennan – along with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, were hastily putting together something called the JAR “Joint Analysis Report”, on Russian activity in the 2016 election.

The Joint Analysis Report: aka GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity”  was released on December 29th, 2016, to coincide with President Obama kicking out Russian diplomats as punishment for the content therein which outlined malicious Russian activity in the 2016 election.

We’ve been talking about the JAR from the day it was initially released.  This specific report is total garbage. [Read it Here]  The “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – Joint Analysis Report” is pure nonsense. This is the report that generated the “17 intelligence agencies” narrative and talking points.  The JAR outlines nothing more than vague and disingenuous typical hacking activity that is no more substantive than any other hacking report on any other foreign actor.  But the “17 Intel Agencies” narrative stuck like glue.

(…)  There’s no doubt the intended outcome was to create confusion and begin selling a narrative to undermine the incoming President-elect Trump administration. No-one expected him to win; Trump’s victory sent a shock-wave through the DC system the professional political class were reacting to it.  The emotional crisis inside DC made manipulating them, and much of the the electorate, that much easier.

Understanding the JAR was used to validate the Russian sanctions and expulsion of the 35 Russian diplomats; and understanding that some coordination and planning was needed for the report therein; and understanding that Brennan and Clapper would need someone to author the material; that’s where Peter “Pete” Strzok comes in.

Remember, CIA Director John Brennan enlisted FBI Agent Peter Strzok to write much of the follow-up within the ICA report, another sketchy construct.  Paul Sperry wrote a great article about it (emphasis mine):

(…) In another departure from custom, the report is missing any dissenting views or an annex with evaluations of the conclusions from outside reviewers. “Traditionally, controversial intelligence community assessments like this include dissenting views and the views of an outside review group,” said Fred Fleitz, who worked as a CIA analyst for 19 years and helped draft national intelligence estimates at Langley. “It also should have been thoroughly vetted with all relevant IC agencies,” he added. “Why were DHS and DIA excluded?”

Fleitz suggests that the Obama administration limited the number of players involved in the analysis to skew the results. He believes the process was “manipulated” to reach a “predetermined political conclusion” that the incoming Republican president was compromised by the Russians.

“I’ve never viewed the ICA as credible,” the CIA veteran added.

A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.

Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA,” according to the source.  (read more)

Now does the picture from within Catherine Herridge’s story make more sense?

Peter “Pete” Strzok knew about the December 12th meeting between Brennan, Clapper and Cohen, because Clapper told Strzok of the meeting.  Likely this discussion surrounded the need for Pete’s help in constructing the JAR; which would be the underlying evidence President Obama would use to expel the Russians….  Which is to say, give increased validity to the manufactured premise there was Russian interference.  There wasn’t. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, March 26, 2019)

Fast forward two months: “Trey Gowdy appears on Fox News to discuss the current ‘investigative’ status and reports of Brennan -vs- Comey on the use of the Steele Dossier within the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA.

Gowdy is one of the few people, along with John Ratcliffe, who has seen the full and unredacted FISA application used against Carter Page.

Regarding the use of the Steele Dossier within the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment; as Gowdy notes there is a likelihood both Brennan and Comey are both correct. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/14/2019)