EX-CIA OFFICIALS FUME ABOUT DECLASSIFICATION ORDER, IGNORING PREVIOUS LEAKS OF SECRET SOURCES AND METHODS
EX-CIA OFFICIALS FUME ABOUT DECLASSIFICATION ORDER, IGNORING PREVIOUS LEAKS OF SECRET SOURCES AND METHODS By
- John Brennan and other intelligence community operatives are circling the wagons against President Donald Trump’s declassification directive, claiming that it could expose top-secret sources and methods used in the Trump-Russia probe.
- But Brennan’s complaint may be misplaced given that virtually all of the significant leaks about sources and methods used in the investigation have been given to left-leaning news outlets.
- In one case, FBI official Peter Strzok expressed concerns that the CIA was leaking inaccurate information about the intelligence gathered on Trump associates.
Former intelligence community officials, including former CIA director John Brennan, have expressed concern over President Donald Trump’s declassification order due the potential release of CIA sources and methods.
“The concern is that very, very precious source and methods of the United States intelligence community as well as our partners and allies abroad — those who share this sensitive information with us,” Brennan said on MSNBC on Friday.
But Brennan’s concern, which was echoed by other intelligence community veterans and TV pundits on Friday, may be misplaced.
Government officials who appear to not be allies of Trump have been behind countless leaks of classified information regarding sources, methods and investigative targets in the Trump-Russia probe. Some of the leaks have disclosed the existence of surveillance warrants and FBI informants used against the Trump campaign.
In one case, the FBI official who led the investigation into Russian interference, Peter Strzok, believed that the CIA was leaking highly classified assessments about Russia’s election-related activities to the press.
“I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some of the leaks,” Strzok wrote in a text message on April 13, 2017.
Strzok expressed similar concern in a text message months earlier.
“Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive,” Strzok wrote on Dec. 15, 2016, a day after NBC News reported that the CIA believed that Vladimir Putin directed the computer hacks against Democrats.
The New York Times has since reported that a person close to Putin is the CIA’s lone source for the information about Putin. The Times reported on Friday that current and former intelligence community officials are concerned that the source (who the newspaper identified as a man) could be in danger because of Trump’s declassification order.
But there is no indication that Trump’s order will lead to the disclosure of top-secret sources, including those working inside the Kremlin.
On Thursday, Trump directed the heads of various intelligence community agencies, including the FBI and CIA, to provide materials to Attorney General William Barr as part of a review he is conducting of surveillance activities directed at the Trump campaign.
Barr has said that he believes that “spying” occurred against the Trump campaign, and that he is investigating whether it was legal or illegal.
Trump also granted Barr the authority to declassify documents as he sees fit. Brennan said Friday that he is concerned that Barr will release highly sensitive information in “willy nilly” fashion.