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(Natural News) On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified documents that revealed that former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John O. Brennan had briefed former President Obama on a purported plan by Hillary Clinton to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee to distract from her use of a private email server.
“At the direction of the President of the United States, I have declassified the enclosed documents, inclusive of redactions. These documents are responsive to ongoing congressional oversight and investigation requests,” Ratcliffe wrote in a one-page letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Redacted notes show that Obama knew
Ratcliffe declassified handwritten notes from Brennan – written after he had briefed Obama – and a CIA memo, which revealed that officials had referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for potential investigation.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan wrote in the two pages of handwritten notes that are almost entirely redacted. “CITE alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 28 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.”
An even more heavily redacted portion of the notes has Brennan writhing “POTUS” – referring to Obama – on the margins. Other officials mentioned in the note include “JC,” believed to either be Ratliffe’s predecessor James Clapper or then FBI Director James Comey; “Denis,” a likely reference to then-Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and “Susan,” possibly then-national security adviser Susan Rice.
The documents’ declassification follows a letter that Ratcliffe released last week revealing that Brennan briefed Obama in the summer of 2016 about this unverified Russian intelligence analysis.
In his one-page letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, Ratcliffe said that while U.S. intelligence agencies had, in late July 2016, obtained “insight into Russian intelligence analysis” into the alleged campaign to tie then-candidate Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ratcliffe, however, stressed that the intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
In response, Graham said that the letter “shows there may have been a double standard by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia. Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question.”
“The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump?” he added.
Brennan, Democrats outraged
In response to the declassified notes, Brennan accused Ratcliffe of selectively declassifying documents to favor Trump.
“It is appalling, his selective declassification of information that clearly is designed to advance the political interests of Donald Trump and Republicans who are aligned with him,” Brennan said in an interview with CNN.
“But these were my notes from the 2016 period when I briefed President Obama and the rest of the National Security Council team about what the Russians were up to, and I was giving examples of the type of access that the U.S. intelligence community had to Russia, Russian information, and what the Russians were talking about and alleging,” he explained. “Now, if, in fact, what the Russians were alleging, that Hillary was trying to highlight the reported connections between Trump and the Russians, if, in fact, that was accurate, and that’s a big if, there is nothing at all illegal about that.”
Democrats have also similarly been outraged at Ratcliffe’s reveals.
“It’s very disturbing to me that 35 days before an election, a director of national intelligence would release unverified Russian rumint,” said Sen. Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Addressing the backlash, Ratcliffe released a statement to the Washington Examiner saying: “To be clear, this is not Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the intelligence community.”
Republicans, however, are sticking to their guns.
“The documents that are underlying that we now have seen, I have only seen a few of those – they’re smoking guns,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures. “That information definitely needs to be made available to the American public.”
In addition, Nunes also claimed that there is “even more underlying evidence that backs up” the information released by Ratcliffe.
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