Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan held nothing back in his disdain for some of President-elect Donald Trump's vitriolic Twitter rants in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that was published Monday. "I think it's the right and, indeed, the responsibility of the president of the United States to challenge the conclusions of the intelligence community," Brennan said. But he made it clear that it crosses a line to accuse these agencies of leaks. "Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis," he said. "Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm's way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant." read more
The outgoing CIA director charged on Sunday that Donald Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the United States, delivering a public lecture to the president-elect that further highlighted the bitter state of Trump's relations with American intelligence agencies. John Brennan's pointed message on national television came just five days before Trump becomes the nation's 45th president amid lingering questions about Russia's role in the 2016 election even as the focus shifts to the challenges of governing. "Now that he's going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he's going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that U.S. and national security interests are protected," Brennan said on "Fox News Sunday," warning that the president-elect's impulsivity could be dangerous. "Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests," Brennan declared.
Embattled FBI director James Comey has refused to clarify whether his organization is investigating Donald Trump's ties to Russia in a closed briefing on Friday for members of Congress, angering legislators who recall his high-profile interjections about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Guardian has learned. Comey's lack of candor in a classified setting, intended to brief members on the intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, follows a public rebuff this week to senators seeking clarification. In that earlier hearing, Comey said he would "never comment" on a potential FBI investigation "in an open forum like this," raising expectations among some attendees of Friday's briefing that Comey would put the issue to rest in a classified setting. But according to sources attending the closed-door Friday morning meeting, that was not the case. read more
The former spy told me that he had been retained in early June by a private research firm in the United States to look into Trump's activity in Europe and Russia. "It started off as a fairly general inquiry," he recalled. The former intelligence official went to work and contacted his network of sources in Russia and elsewhere. He soon received what he called "hair-raising" information. His sources told him, he said, that Trump had been "sexually compromised" by Russian intelligence in 2013 (when Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe contest) or earlier and that there was an "established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit." He noted he was "shocked" by these allegations. By the end of June, he was sending reports of what he was finding to the American firm. The former spy said he soon decided the information he was receiving was "sufficiently serious" for him to forward it to contacts he had at the FBI. read more
President Barack Obama publicly warned Russia last month that the United States would surreptitiously strike back against Russian hacking in any place and time and method of its choosing. Thursday it appeared the Russians may not have understood that warning, as C-SPAN was knocked offline for ten minutes and replaced with a broadcast of Russia Today, the same Russian TV station implicated in hacking the election. But as of last evening, Russia Today appears to have been knocked off the air. C-SPAN is claiming that it was essentially hijacked by itself, and that it accidentally began broadcasting Russia Today in place of its own channel. But that would require no one at C-SPAN to be watching C-SPAN, or else such a mistake wouldn't have dragged on for a full ten minutes. So if it's a safe bet that the Russians did manage to hack C-SPAN yesterday, what came next seems to naturally follow in line, as Russia Today (which brands itself as "RT") is currently off the air. read more