The Durham Coverup
Did Ex-CIA Director John Brennan Doctor His Notes to Hide His Role in Russiagate?
May 16, 2023
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John Brennan: Former CIA chief claims he briefed Obama and Biden about Clinton plans to smear Trump as Russian agent.


Reading through the newly released Durham Report, there’s a lot to absorb and I plan to be filling several reviews in the coming days. But it struck me that the section of the report detailing an aspect of John Brennan’s role in the Clinton campaign and Obama administration’s operation targeting Donald Trump and his aides was most urgent. LS.


The only genuine piece of Russian intelligence that US spy services ever received about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia was intelligence that Russia knew Hillary Clinton backed a 2016 campaign plan to smear Trump as a Russian agent.

According to John Durham’s 300-page report, the information reached the CIA in late July 2016. Brennan told Durham that on August 3 he briefed President Barack Obama at the White House on what the special counsel refers to as the Clinton Plan intelligence. Others in attendance at the meeting were Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey.

Imagine Comey’s reaction when he first heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence, only days after the July 31 start date for the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, code-named Crossfire Hurricane: So, if it’s just a dirty trick staged by the Clinton campaign, I should shut down the Trump-Russia probe, right?   

Right. There is little chance Brennan said anything about the Clinton Plan intelligence in that August 3 meeting. Reading the Durham report, it’s not even clear when Brennan first found out about it or the September 2016 CIA memo referring the Clinton Plan intelligence to the FBI’s counterintelligence division.

Brennan’s handwritten notes memorializing his allegedly briefing Obama on the Clinton Plan and the CIA’s referral letter were both declassified by Trump’s Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in October 2020. Durham’s report sheds light on how the information and subsequent CIA memo were received, who knew about them, and perhaps more significantly who didn’t.

According to the report, virtually none of the officials interviewed by Durham knew about the Clinton Plan intelligence or the referral memo. Former FBI general counsel James Baker “stated that he had neither seen nor heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence or the resulting Referral Memo prior to his interview” with Durham.

Same with Supervisory Special Agent-1, reportedly FBI agent Joe Pientka. According to the report, when Durham showed Pientka the information, he became “visibly upset and emotional, left the interview room with his counsel, and subsequently returned to state emphatically that he had never been apprised of the Clinton Plan intelligence and had never seen the aforementioned Referral Memo. Supervisory Special Agent-1 expressed a sense of betrayal that no one had informed him of the intelligence.”

The reason so few FBI officials knew of the Clinton Plan information is because it was buried. Otherwise, it would have implicated senior Obama officials — the president and vice president and his security chiefs — and the Crossfire Hurricane team in an illegal surveillance and propaganda operation targeting a presidential campaign.

But how did the Russians know it started with Hillary Clinton? Did they have spies buried deep inside the Democratic National Committee? Maybe Christopher Steele, British ex-spy and author of the Clinton-funded memos tying Trump to Russia, had been compromised by one of the Russian oligarchs he worked for?

No, you wouldn’t have needed an intelligence service to find out the Clinton campaign was using Moscow as an instrument to smear the GOP candidate. By the end of July, much of the anti-Trump campaign was public.

As I explained in my 2019 book The Plot Against the President, the media piece of Russiagate started in Winter 2016 when pro-Clinton reporters first started calling Trump and his aides Russian agents. With Franklin Foer’s July 4 Slatearticle, “Putin’s Puppet,” the press component of the Russia-collusion narrative was in full swing.

In a July 21 Washington Post column, Anne Applebaum cited Foer’s piece and asserted that “Russia is clearly participating in the Trump campaign.” In an Atlantic article published the same day, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that Trump has chosen “to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

Before the end of July, scores of articles in the Weekly Standard, the New Yorker, New York Magazine, the New York Timesand elsewhere made the same case: Donald Trump, according to Times columnist Paul Krugman, was the “Siberian candidate.”

Russiagate reporters typically referenced each other's articles to create an unmistakable echo chamber effect. Media analysts at the Russian foreign ministry or in any Russian embassy couldn’t have missed the frequency with which the US press kept inserting their government into a vague account of the Republican candidate’s uncertain loyalties. Thus, it would not have been hard to figure out who was the beneficiary of this extraordinary amount of newsprint devoted to promoting a storyline labeling Trump a Russian agent.

The Durham report does not disclose how US intelligence agencies found out the Russians were discussing the Clinton Plan. Perhaps it came through the signals intelligence that British agencies and other foreign services reportedly shared with Washington.

On August 22, an FBI cyber-analyst passed the Clinton Plan intelligence on to two members of the Crossfire Hurricane team, including fixer Brian Auten. A 2019 Justice Department report faulted Auten for failing to verify the Clinton-funded Steele dossier tying Trump to Russia. In other words, he cleared the central piece of evidence, now thoroughly discredited, that the FBI used to obtain the warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.

On September 2, a US official briefed Auten and other FBI personnel about the Clinton Plan intelligence. Auten related to Durham that he told the official he wanted to see the CIA’s official referral letter. Completed September 7, the memo was addressed to Comey and FBI counterintelligence official and Crossfire Hurricane point-man Peter Strzok.

According to Durham: “None of the FBI personnel who agreed to be interviewed could specifically recall receiving this Referral Memo, nor did anyone recall the FBI doing anything in response to the Referral Memo. Auten said that he couldn’t remember if he shared the memo with other members of the Crossfire Hurricane team.

If Brennan was briefed on it at the time, it seems he didn’t share it with anyone — he almost certainly had not spoken of it during the August 3 meeting with Obama and other administration officials. There’s no evidence that Brennan briefed congressional oversight committees on what US agencies had picked up from the Russians on the Clinton Plan. Nor did he say anything about it when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017.

Most significantly, it’s not part of the intelligence that was used to produce the January 2017 intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election that Obama directed Brennan to finish before Trump came to office. Indeed, the Clinton Plan intelligence would serve as a powerful rebuttal to the ICA’s central conclusion that Putin sought to help Trump win the 2016 election.

Evidence of Brennan’s hiding the Clinton Plan intelligence and CIA referral letter would strongly suggest that he was a crucial part of the effort to target Trump as a Russian agent.

Perhaps it was rumor of Pientka’s rage after Durham showed him the Clinton Plan intelligence and the referral memo in a July 22, 2020 interview that Brennan moved to protect himself. It was nearly a month later, August 21, when he sat for an eight-hour long interview with Durham. Brennan said that he couldn’t remember when he first received the Clinton Plan intelligence but there was evidence that he didn’t hide it — handwritten notes proving that he told Obama, Biden, Lynch and Comey all about it.

Durham states in his report that he declined to pursue a criminal case related to the Clinton Plan intelligence because it “would face what in all likelihood would be insurmountable classification issues given the highly sensitive nature of the information itself.”




And thus, the section on the Clinton Plan intelligence concludes: the government’s treatment of the information “may have amounted to a significant intelligence failure and a troubling instance in which confirmation bias and a tunnel-vision pursuit of investigative ends may have caused government personnel to fail to appreciate the extent to which uncorroborated reporting funded by an opposing political campaign was intended to influence rather than inform the FBI. It did not, all things considered, however, amount to a provable criminal offense.”









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August 07, 2023
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Obama’s Jan 5 Conspiracy
Trump’s Problem, and America’s, Isn’t the Deep State — It’s His Predecessor


The day before Donald Trump was arraigned in a Washington, DC courtroom last week, the Washington Post reported on a late June meeting between Trump’s successor and his predecessor.

Former president Barack Obama, at a private lunch with President Biden earlier this summer, voiced concern about Donald Trump’s political strengths — including an intensely loyal following, a Trump-friendly conservative media ecosystem and a polarized country — underlining his worry that Trump could be a more formidable candidate than many Democrats realize.

Obama, the report continued, “promised to do all he could to help the president get reelected.” Sourced to “two people familiar with the meeting,” the story is Obama’s way of signaling that he means to finish what he started a day before congress counted the electoral college vote confirming Trump’s 2016 victory.

On January 5, 2017, Obama met in the Oval Office with top law enforcement officials, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI director James Comey, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to discuss the FBI’s Russia investigation.

According to Rice’s notes: “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’ The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

Her memo continues: “From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”

When Rice’s memo was first released to the public midway through Trump’s term, Republican officials wanted to know why she emailed it to herself in the Obama administration’s final hours, just before Trump’s inauguration. GOP investigators and Trump supporters speculated that she was covering for Obama, and herself, should anyone come asking questions about the White House’s role in the unlawful surveillance of the Trump circle.

Obama knew that the Bureau’s investigation was phony from the outset. CIA director John Brennan had told him days before the FBI opened its Trump probe that the story tying the Republican candidate to Russia was a Hillary Clinton campaign ploy to vilify her opponent.

And that’s the crux of the issue: Rice’s January 5 memo documented how after the election the outgoing president credentialed a dirty trick with White House authority and took control of it. Obama wasn’t trying to cover up his role. He wanted his national ssecurity advisor to get it on the record that he’d turned Russiagate into an instrument to undermine his successor.

The next day, Brennan did the same on Obama’s behalf, validating Russiagate with the outgoing president’s official imprimatur. On January 6, the CIA-led intelligence assessment that Obama ordered was released, claiming that Vladimir Putin helped Trump win the election. More than six years after Obama poisoned the public sphere with a conspiracy theory designed to divide the country, America is steadily descending into madness.

With the Post piece last week, Obama used the bureaucracy's hometown paper to announce to the Democratic Party's elite base that he’s still in charge of the anti-Trump plot — he’s got this, he’s leading from behind, just where he said he wanted to be for his third term. And his people are in place to enact his will: Attorney General Merrick Garland, the far-left enforcer Obama wanted on the Supreme Court; Special Counsel Jack Smith, married to the producer of the Michelle Obama documentary; and the Obama-appointed judge hearing the Jan 6-related case, Tanya Chutkan.

Obama needs his people to know that he’s running the show, like that day at the White House when he made sure the cameras were rolling when he ignored Biden, the presidential avatar. It’s in Obama’s nature. The man who left evidence out in the open to take credit for interfering in an election and pushing America to the edge of the abyss by accusing his successor of treason can’t help it. He’s proud of what he did. In destabilizing America, Obama arranged for the country he was twice elected to lead to mirror his own broken psyche. He’s pathological.

Last week Tablet magazine published an important David Samuels interview with historian David Garrow. His biography of Obama, Rising Star, was mostly ignored when it was published in 2017 and it’s not hard to see why — Obama supporters don’t want to hear criticism of Obama, especially when it's coming from the left. Garrow, whose biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize, says Obama’s presidency was a failure and believes history’s assessment will be even harsher.

It's a great piece, with an excellent introductory essay by Samuels, a Tablet colleague and friend. He’s done more than anyone to detail the narcissism and mendacity at the heart of ObamaWorld, most notably with his May 2016 piece on Obama’s propaganda minister Ben Rhodes and the “echo chamber” built to market the Iran nuclear deal. Obama’s communications infrastructure would later become the media platform for Russiagate and is now a crucial pillar of the regime’s intelligence apparatus, detailed to censor, propagandize, and surveil Americans.

The comms architecture has been in place for decades, but it was Obama who fully activated it as a weapon to be used against political opponents, seemingly at least one half of America. In the run-up to the Iran deal, he spied on Americans opposed to it, US legislators and pro-Israel activists. After the 2016 election, dozens of Obama aides, including Biden, unmasked the identities of Trump transition officials caught on intelligence intercepts to spy on them. During his tour to promote the “disinformation” industry this spring, Obama claimed leadership of the whole-of-society effort to censor Americans. “He’s not normal,” Garrow told Samuels. “As in, not a normal politician, or a normal human being.”

Evidence of that has always been out in the open but the precedent for ignoring the obvious was set during the 2008 campaign when his opponent John McCain declined to run an ad about the preacher whose church Obama attended for decades. McCain it seems feared that calling out Jeremiah Wright as a racist, and by extension Obama, would make him look racist.

Subsequently, what motivated Obama’s abnormal ideas appeared to be shrouded in mystery. Why would he make it a priority to legalize the nuclear weapons program of a terror state that embodies antisemitism? Why did he use the intelligence services to spy on opponents? Why does he want to censor them now?

Why was he so determined to destroy Michael Flynn? Even as he warned Trump not to hire Flynn, he made the retired three-star general a special focus of attention in the January 5 meeting. According to Rice’s memo, “President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the [National Security Council] should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn.” In May 2020, Obama leaked a phone call in which he complained that because the DOJ dropped charges against Flynn the “rule of law was at risk” — in fact it was Obama himself who'd undermined the rule of law to satisfy a vendetta against Flynn .

Obama uses language like this all the time, twisting the normal meaning out of words to make them mean the opposite. His much-praised oratory is pop-culture messianism overlaying the systematic inversion of logic. He said the Iran deal was to stop the terror state from getting the bomb when the purpose was to protect its nuclear program under the umbrella of an international agreement. He says protecting democracy means censoring his opponents. He told the FBI director to continue his unlawful investigation of the incoming president “by the book.”

We ignored the evidence that Obama was not normal, evidence he made public, because it meant facing a reality unfamiliar to Americans, though known to anyone subjected to the chaos and violence that are the dark flowers of pathological regimes. It was easier to source what was happening in America to the Deep State, a sprawling assemblage of faceless bureaucrats who move as one to protect its institutional privileges and preferences. It’s a thesis that best suits cyber-futurists — actually, political power is a function of the collective authority of networks to displace hierarchy, etc — because the fact is that someone still has to flip the switch. If the administrative state has a century-long history dating back to the Woodrow Wilson-era birth of the expert class, it’s worth noting that its violent insurgency began only after Obama moved into the White House.

It wasn’t Susan Rice or John Brennan or James Comey who made the ultimate decision to turn US intelligence services on the Trump campaign and gave the order to target the incoming president. And it wasn’t the Deep State that leaked to the press that it’s determined to finish what it started January 5, 2017. It’s time we turned to face our problem.





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Is Joe Biden Being Extorted by the DOJ — and Everyone Else, Too?
With Evidence Alleging Biden Corruption, A Clearer Map of the Regime Emerges


I’m grateful for supporters’ comments on Friday’s Live Stream about whether Joe Biden is being extorted by the Justice Department. I wanted to follow up with some more cogent thoughts on the subject, which seemed more useful after I'd made similar remarks on Devin Nunes' podcast.  



Rudolph Giuliani was the first person who pointed out that the Bidens were running a protection racket in Ukraine. While I was interviewing him for my 2020 book The Permanent Coup, he explained that the owner of the Ukrainian energy company paying Hunter Biden $80,000 a month didn’t care about Hunter Biden — he was buying protection from the most powerful man he could find, the Vice President of the United States.

It’s an index of how easy it is to frighten Republican party political and ideological leadership that so many gave Giuliani the cold shoulder after the 2020 election. He’s a historical figure on account of how he led New York after the 9/11 attacks but he’s also one of the greatest investigators in US history so when he sees a racket and explains the shot, it’s based on a lifetime of hunting corruption.  

Last week Sen Charles Grassley disclosed that the FBI has documentary evidence alleging that Joe and Hunter Biden each demanded $5 million from Mykola Zlochevksy, the owner of the Ukrainian firm that was paying Hunter’s big monthly fee, Burisma. At the time, Burisma had been under international as well as Ukrainian investigations for corruption. Biden famously bragged about using a $1 billion US loan guarantee as leverage to get the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma.

That was the quid pro quo that the left, US spy agencies, and the media turned around on Trump to impeach him — it was Biden, not Trump, who’d used US taxpayer resources to strong-arm the Ukrainians into playing ball on a sensitive investigation. And it seems that is how the Bidens earned their $10 million payout.

When I first heard Grassley’s Senate statement, I thought first of Giuliani. Then I started to wonder if it meant the DOJ has been running an operation against Biden similar to the one he’d run against Burisma. After all, the FBI has been holding the documents since 2017. Even if the FBI’s intent was to shield Biden by burying them, the Burisma information gave the Bureau and their DOJ colleagues considerable leverage on him. Had it gone public during his presidential run, it would have destroyed Biden’s campaign while proving that Trump was right about Biden and that he had been unjustly impeached. Had it leaked during the 2019-20 impeachment proceedings, Trump wouldn't have been impeached. And who knows but if the information might have even led to charges against Biden.

The Grassley disclosure dovetailed with some of my previous reporting on Biden, especially an article from Tablet Magazine last July, where I describe him as a “frontman for America’s national security state.” It was inconceivable that among the 51 former spy chiefs who’d signed the letter dismissing Hunter Biden’s laptop as “Russian disinformation” none of them knew what Biden’s son was doing in Ukraine and elsewhere.

John Brennan, Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden, and James Clapper—had directed America’s foreign intelligence services while Biden was vice president and before that chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They knew what his son Hunter was doing abroad, because it was their job to know what foreign services know about leading U.S. officials and their families, and how it might affect U.S. national security.

Hunter Biden is an obvious target for foreign intelligence services whose primary goal is to compromise US national security — like those belonging to Russia, China, Iran, and the various terror organizations affiliated with the rising anti-US bloc. His problems with substance abuse, women, and money are known around the world, and yet it seems clear that none of the spy masters whose signatures are on the 51 Spies letter had ever convinced the Vice President that his son’s foreign arrangements not only jeopardized the country’s defenses but also risked embroiling the entire Barack Obama administration in a scandal.

Because Obama himself would have been implicated by Hunter’s doings, there’s no doubt he was briefed on the matter, but also failed to persuade his Vice President to cut it out. Or, more likely, he never said anything about it to his number two.

At least two State Department officials tried to warn Biden about Hunter’s activities. Amos Hocshtein spoke with the Vice President and Hunter about the younger Biden’s position at Burisma. George Kent, who later testified against Trump during the Ukraine-related impeachment, warned Biden aides about Hunter’s business when they visited the career diplomat in Kyiv.

The CIA handled the issue in characteristic fashion by spying on the Bidens. CIA official Eric Ciaramella was detailed to the office of the Vice President, where he became Biden’s point-man for Ukraine. A former Obama administration intelligence official told me that Ciaramella was responsible for keeping the book on all Biden’s meetings and calls with Ukrainian officials. Ciaramella shared that record with his superiors at Langley, to where he returned after a brief spell on Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) staff.

It was known throughout the government that Ciaramella was the chief curator of Biden’s Ukraine secrets. In July 2019, Trump spoke on the phone with the Ukrainian president and asked him to help his attorney general William Barr and Giuliani find out about the Bidens’ business in Kyiv. One of the policymakers listening in on the call, NSC staffer Alexander Vindman, went straight to Ciaramella and told him Trump was nosing around in Biden’s Ukraine business. The phony whistleblower’s complaint that Ciaramella filed with the Intelligence Community's Inspector General  initiated the Trump impeachment proceedings.

So, here’s a running count of all the government agencies that were aware of the Bidens’ Ukraine-related activities by the time Trump came to the White House: The DOJ, FBI, CIA, State Department, Biden aides from the VP’s office, and the former President of the United States. To put it another way, if a mid-level bureaucrat like Vindman, detailed to the NSC staff from the Pentagon, knew that the questions Trump was asking were likely to prove dangerous for the former Vice President, then virtually the entire national security apparatus knew about the Bidens.

The Treasury Department certainly knew about Hunter Biden’s financial arrangements with foreign powers. Treasury provided Grassley and his Senate colleague Ron Johnson with the suspicious activity reports used to compile their September 2020 report, “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” According to the report, Secretary of State John Kerry knew that Hunter Biden was getting paid by a Ukrainian oligarch whose company was under investigation. So did Obama’s first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

It's worth keeping mind that the Clinton Foundation wasn't just set up as a mechanism for the 42nd President and his wife to pocket foreign donations in exchange for future considerations. Given the nature of its relationships with high-ranking foreign officials and businessmen, the Clinton Foundation is also a global intelligence-gathering organization of the first order. Thus, it was through the foundation and her own contacts throughout the US government that Hillary Clinton was able to piece together the fullest picture of the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine.

In order to keep Joe Biden from re-entering the 2016 race for president, the Clintons, according to a source, leaked information to the New York Times for the first detailed press account of Hunter’s presence on Burisma’s board. According to the December 8, 2015 article, timed to coincide with a Joe Biden visit to Kyiv, Hunter’s work for Burisma was “undercutting” his father’s anti-corruption message in Ukraine. In other words, the Clintons were firing a shot across Biden’s bow, warning that if he didn’t stay out of the race, there’d be worse to come.

I’ve speculated previously that the Clinton campaign may have originally formatted the Steele dossier to target Biden when it looked like he might challenge her for the Democratic Party nomination. Its central motif, foreign corruption in Eastern Europe, comports with what we now know about the Biden family’s entanglements there and elsewhere. And its minor themes of dissolution, prostitution, and sexual deviancy are in Hunter's key. But Biden backed out of the 2016 campaign and the family’s Ukraine secrets were kept.

The fact that so many people knew about Biden’s corruption tells us a few important things about his presidency, starting with his 2020 campaign:

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