Former CIA director tells Congress he warned Russia about meddling
- Author: Leroy Wright May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 23:46
"I encountered, and am aware, of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA officials involved in the Trump campaign - that I was concerned about, because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals".
Testifying before a congressional committee on Tuesday, former CIA director John Brennan, an Obama appointee and 24-year veteran of the agency, gave the most detailed public account yet of the Russian Federation probe.
August 4, at the height of the presidential campaign, Brennan says he was looking at intelligence that Russian Federation was, quote, "brazenly interfering" with the campaign. He also discussed his concerns about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
"This morning's hearings back up what we've been saying all along: that despite a year of investigation, there is still no evidence of any Russia-Trump campaign collusion", a spokesman said.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he thinks Russian Federation cooperates with WikiLeaks through middlemen. "But I know there was a basis to have individuals pull those threads". "They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including USA individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly", the former Central Intelligence Agency director said.
USA intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, tried to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy and help Trump.
Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to testify publicly about the intelligence underpinning the Obama administration's conclusion that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election. "They continue to be very, very damaging leaks and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down". But if reports about what Trump shared with the Russians are true, he said, it would be a violation of protocol. Brennan said the use of spear phishing, and "whatever else so that they can then gain access to people's emails, computer systems networks", is something that the Russians are adept at.
Comey was sacked May 9, and news reports since have said that Trump asked Comey on multiple occasions to drop the investigation into Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who had dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015, two months before he became Trump's primary foreign-policy adviser.
Brennan also addressed news reports that Trump, in an Oval Office meeting this month with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, shared highly classified information provided by a U.S. ally about an Islamic State group plot to bring down civilian airliners with bombs hidden in laptop computers. Brennan said that the Central Intelligence Agency at times provided tips about terrorist plots to the Kremlin, but he indicated that Trump violated key protocols.
But upon questioning from Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Brennan said: "I saw interaction that in my mind raised questions of whether it was collusion".
Three top intelligence officials testified before Congress on Tuesday, and members of Congress pushed for more answers on the Russian Federation probe.
Brennan noted anew that US intelligence agencies had concluded "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the USA democratic process, denigrate Secretary (Hillary) Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency, and to help President Trump's election chances".
Brennan, who headed the agency until Trump became president in January, also told a congressional hearing that he personally warned the head of Russia's FSB security service in a phone call last August that meddling in the election would hurt relations with the United States.
Significantly, Brennan seemed to downplay claims that Trump had committed a gross breach of national security by disclosing classified information about an alleged ISIS terrorist threat at a White House meeting earlier this month with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Bortnikov, twice denied that Russia was waging such a campaign, according to Brennan, but said he would carry the message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They're protesting what they say is Trump administration's slow cooperation on the Russian Federation investigations. In January, he lashed out at Trump for comparing US spy agencies to Nazi secret police. He has also repeatedly rejected news stories about his campaign's ties to Russian Federation. The White House has declined comment.
"It should be clear to everyone that Russian Federation brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protest and explicit warnings that they not do so", Brennan said.