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Brennan and Clapper Should Not Escape Prosecution

By       Message John Kiriakou       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   17 comments

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John Brennan, left, and James Clapper.
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Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made a dramatic announcement this month that almost nobody in America paid any attention to. Grassley released a statement saying that four years ago, he asked the Intelligence Community Inspector General to release two "Congressional Notifications" written by former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Grassley had had his requests to declassify the documents ignored repeatedly throughout the last two years of the Obama administration. He decided to try again because all of the Obama people at the CIA and DNI are gone now. This time, his request was approved.

So what was the information that was finally declassified? It was written confirmation that John Brennan ordered CIA hackers to intercept the emails of all potential or possible intelligence community whistleblowers who may have been trying to contact the Congressional oversight committees, specifically to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Simply put, Brennan ordered his people to hack into the Senate email system -- again. Grassley is the longtime chairman of Judiciary Committee, and he was understandably appalled.

First, let me explain what a Congressional Notification is. The CIA is required by law to inform the Congressional oversight committees whenever one of its officers, agents, or administrators breaks the law, when an operation requires Congressional approval because it is a "covert action" program, or whenever something happens at the CIA that's potentially controversial and the Agency wants to save itself the embarrassment of explaining itself to Congress later.

Brennan apparently ordered his officers to spy on the Senate. Remember, back in 2014 his officers spied on Intelligence Community investigators while they were writing the Senate Torture Report. This time, he decided to inform Congress.

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But Brennan and Clapper classified the notification. It was like a taunt. "Sure, I'm spying on Congress, which is illegal. But it's classified, so what are you going to do about it?"

Grassley went through the proper channels. And even though Brennan and Clapper essentially gave him the middle finger, he didn't say anything until the documents were finally declassified. He's a bigger man than I.

I think Grassley missed an opportunity here, though.

First, it's my own opinion that John Brennan belongs in prison. He has flouted U.S. national security laws with impunity for years. That's unacceptable. In these declassified notifications, he's confessing to hacking into the Senate's computer system. That's a violation of a whole host of laws, from illegal use of a government computer to wire fraud to espionage. There ought to be a price to pay for it, especially in light of the fact that Brennan was the leading force behind the prosecutions of eight national security whistleblowers during the Obama administration, almost three times the number of whistleblowers charged under the Espionage Act by all previous presidents combined.

Second, it's a crime, a felony, to overclassify government information. Most Americans have no idea that that's the case. Of course, nobody has ever been charged with it. But it's a serious problem, and it's antithetical to transparency. The CIA Inspector General said of the notifications, "I could see no reason to withhold declassification of these documents. They contained no information that could be construed as sources and methods." That's an admission that the notifications were improperly classified in the first place.

Grassley added, "There is a strong public interest in (the notifications's) content. I do not believe they need to be classified at all, and they should be released in their entirety."

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Grassley went so far as to call out Brennan and Clapper by name. "What sources or methods would be jeopardized by the declassification of these notifications? After four-and-a-half years of bureaucratic foot-dragging, led by Brennan and Clapper, we finally have the answer: None."

So why weren't they declassified four years ago? Remember, it's illegal to classify a crime. And it's illegal to classify something solely for the purpose of preventing embarrassment to the CIA. Yet those were the very reasons for classifying the documents in the first place. It was because Brennan and Clapper think they're somehow special cases. (Recall that it was Clapper who lied directly to the Senate Intelligence Committee about intercepting the communications of American citizens. He also did that with impunity.)

Brennan and Clapper think the law doesn't apply to them. But it does. Without the rule of law, we have chaos in our country. The law has to apply equally to all Americans. Brennan and Clapper need to learn that lesson the hard way. They broke the law. They ought to be prosecuted for it.

 

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John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA and two years in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the agency's use of torture. He served on John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee for two years as senior investigator into the Middle (more...)
 

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12 people are discussing this page, with 17 comments


Leslie Johnson

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Seems to me, the case is fairly well laid out. So how do we go about getting them prosecuted? Or is this just going to be yet another example of US-over-the-top malfeasance?


Thank you, John, for this piece. I imagine forwarding it to Brennan and Clappers hometown newspapers would be out of the question and just cause more trouble for you. ..then there are attorneys who wouldn't touch something like this....

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 2:47:16 PM

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George W.Reichel

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Seems that most in DC are above the law.The crime is exposing their crimes

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 2:55:26 PM

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"When lies become the norm, truth becomes the enemy."

- Jesse Ventura

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 5:35:57 PM

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The two perps should indeed do jail time. And what about all the other crimes, including war crimes, etc., that have been committed? Is it possible to bring people to justice in this country? Let's hope so.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 5:21:16 PM

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"Is it possible to bring people to justice in this country?" Only when we become a Nation of Laws ENFORCED EQUALLY ON ALL PEOPLE.


Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 8:39:03 PM

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Hang 'em publicly on 22nd before George the Mascot!

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 7:43:53 PM

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I wonder if you listed all the unprosecuted crimes committed by both the W. Bush and Obama administrations, which one would have more. It seems like it would be close.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 at 9:00:11 PM

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Thank You, Mr Kiriakou, for a very thought-provoking piece.

Let me ask You a question:

If, as You say, it is "a felony to overclassify government information," would that apply to the The 9/11 Dossier: EVERYTHING that the US government knew and knows about 9/11; before it happened, while it was happening, and since?

Also, do You know if a citizen can bring a charge of over-classification of government information against that government? Or where that information could be learned?

You asked about the Notifications:"Why weren't they declassified four years ago?" i would ask: Why is The 9/11 Dossier still classified seventeen years later?

i assume it isn't illegal to classify something solely for the purpose of preventing embarrassment solely to the CIA; that it's just as illegal to protect the White House, the Pentagon, the Congress, etc, eh?

Thank You again for the article; it's a real mind churner.

Jeff Moebus

Master Sergeant, US Army [Retired]

Veterans Against War [Sitka Platoon]

Sitka, AK

Submitted on Monday, Nov 12, 2018 at 2:58:33 PM

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They haven't released all the JFK documents either even after they were supposed to. Probably because some of the perps are still around.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 12, 2018 at 3:42:05 PM

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Like chief of the Dallas CIA office at the time, George H.W. Bush

Submitted on Monday, Nov 12, 2018 at 5:10:03 PM

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AMEN, BRO JEFF

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 at 12:23:34 AM

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It would indeed apply to the dossier. This is a cause that was taken up by George W. Bush's former classification "czar," J. William Leonard. Unfortunately, nobody paid any attention to him.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 at 10:46:35 PM

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As a follow-up question:


Is there any form of Constitutionally-mandated Oversite of the classification of government documents? Or can those folks pretty much classify anything they want to for whatever reason they choose, and nobody has anything to say about it but them?


Thanks.


jeff

Submitted on Monday, Nov 12, 2018 at 3:23:50 PM

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It's SUPPOSED to be handled by the Congressional oversight committees. I maintain that since at least the mid-1980s those committees have been little more than cheerleaders for the CIA.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 at 10:48:19 PM

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I admire people with integrity and courage.

Good Luck!

Submitted on Friday, Nov 16, 2018 at 12:49:46 AM

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Funny how a malevolent racist corporatist anti-environment money-licking pro-rapist militarist like Grassley can get the wood up to oppose deep staters only when they be workin' fo' a plantation darkie like Obama.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 at 4:10:18 AM

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"Senate Intelligence Committee"...what an oxymoron. Can't get that upset about these criminals spying on a bunch of other criminals. But I do appreciate yet again another "smoking gun" describing what a monster John Btennan is. Prison time? What a joke. Actually a firing squad would be most merciful when you think about how many people the "father of waterboarding" has tortured. What finally woke me up out of my stupor about President Obama was finding out Obama APPOINTED Brennan to his CIA post. Rule of Law in the United States? That's the filthiest joke yet. When our laws are being made by fools and sociopaths it's time to consider becoming outlaws.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 17, 2018 at 5:56:24 AM

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