Former CIA director John Brennan calls the Justice Department’s widening probe into Spygate’s origins “bizarre.” It has no “legal basis,” he bleats.
What’s bizarre is that the expanding inquiry didn’t happen earlier. Brennan’s responsibility for criminal leaks during the Obama administration’s investigation of Trump has been obvious for at least two years. Even Trump hater Peter Strzok, the FBI liaison to John Brennan, couldn’t believe the leaks coming out of his shop. Referring to Brennan’s agents as “sisters,” Strzok said to his mistress Lisa Page, “our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive.”
The “leaking like mad” began in the thick of the 2016 campaign, as the feverishly partisan John Brennan sought to sabotage Donald Trump before Election Day. Has John Durham, the U.S. attorney assigned to the probe of the Obama administration’s spying on Trump, talked to Harry Reid about Brennan’s leaking? He should. Recall Brennan’s blatant disclosure of classified information about the investigation to the former Nevada senator in the late summer/early fall of 2016. Reid has told reporters that Brennan used him as the conduit for that leak against Trump during the campaign: “Why do you think he called me?”
In other words, Brennan knew damn well that he was criminally leaking to a fellow anti-Trump partisan. That’s enough to indict him right there. Reid, of course, was happy to broadcast the leak to the media, but even he found Brennan’s “ulterior motive” for a senatorial briefing a little odd, as he explained to David Corn and Michael Isikoff in their book Russian Roulette. Corn and Isikoff write that Reid “had concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russian operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.”
Brennan has said that the widening probe “concerns” him. It should. He is guilty as hell. The news that his subordinates are lawyering up suggests that he is perhaps hoping that one of those saps takes the fall for him. But the fact remains that he conducted the briefing with Reid in the hopes of dirtying up Trump before election day.
Durham could also nail Brennan for perjury — his most obvious whopper being his denial before Congress of knowledge of the Hillary-financed Christopher Steele dossier. Reid had told Brennan about the Steele dossier in the summer of 2016. So, too, did Steele’s old colleagues in British intelligence, whose well-publicized role in feeding Brennan information about alleged Trump–Russia ties depended at least in part on Steele’s recycled yarns. Peter Strzok, to whom Brennan gave a special CIA award, would have also alerted him to Steele’s role in Crossfire Hurricane.
The same demented political animus driving Brennan now drove him before the election. Through leaks to the press, he made it clear to Hillary Clinton that he wanted to remain as CIA director under her. In the last months of the campaign, Brennan was in effect auditioning for her. He had hoped his October surprise with Harry Reid would win him her enduring affection.
The problem was that he didn’t have much to give Reid, apart from the existence of the investigation itself and the half-baked “intelligence” he had picked up from foreign counterparts in Britain, Estonia, and elsewhere. That’s why Brennan and Comey had to concoct the harebrained scheme of using a Cambridge intellectual on the make, Stefan Halper, to try and entrap George Papadopoulos. With Election Day bearing down on them in September 2016, they ran Halper in again to the Trump campaign, who came up empty. (Halper had also been trying to entrap Carter Page.)
Spygate is an immensely complicated tale. It would take a special counsel to unravel it all and indict all the bad guys. But Republicans don’t have the stomach for a special counsel. And so we are left with the hope that John Durham will at least hook a few big fish like Brennan.
That the media is freaking out over the news of Durham hiring more lawyers and receiving more resources from Bill Barr can be taken as a promising sign. The more noise they make, the closer Durham gets to the truth — a truth future historians will prize for its rich irony: that the government that tried the hardest to throw the election was our own.