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Anti-Trumper John Brennan Makes Wild Intelligence Community Claim

It’s a chilling prospect – but this is more than likely just another desperate election narrative.

During a presidential campaign, it is standard practice for the US Intelligence Community (IC) to provide candidates with intelligence briefings. Why is this done? It ensures that whoever wins the election can walk into the Oval Office on day one already prepared to deal with developing or potential national security threats. Why, then, would a former CIA director suggest that Donald Trump, assuming he wins the 2024 GOP nomination, might get something less than a comprehensive briefing? And what does that imply about the IC’s possible willingness to jeopardize American security for political reasons?

John Brennan, who put the “derangement” in “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” and who is now, fittingly, an analyst for MSNBC, recently raised this possibility as he spoke with the network’s Nicolle Wallace.

“Now, I’m pretty certain that my former intelligence colleagues will provide briefings that are not going to do any type of damage to our sources and methods, in terms of providing information to Donald Trump that he could misuse,” Brennan told Wallace on March 7.

To be clear, the fact that Brennan made this ridiculous prediction does not mean that America’s Intelligence Community is planning to withhold vital information from the man who may well be the nation’s next commander-in-chief. However, the former CIA head is almost certainly still well-connected in the community. Have IC insiders told him, then, that Trump will be kept out of the loop about certain intelligence-related matters or is he perhaps already trying to persuade his old colleagues to keep the former and perhaps future president in the dark?

If the latter is true – and this, we do not know – then Brennan, as a now-private citizen, is meddling in national security matters without authorization. Congressional intelligence committees might want to take up the matter with Brennan directly.

Intelligence Community Thrown Under the Bus?

The reality is that the briefings any presidential candidate receives do not go into detail about “sources and methods” – basically, the ways in which the Intelligence Community obtained its intelligence, from where, and from whom. What Brennan is doing, then, is creating the perception that the IC does not trust Trump or that it considers him a threat to national security. In essence, Brennan is throwing the Intelligence Community under the bus – ascribing to it a political bias that might not really exist.

GettyImages-687321084 John Brennan

John Brennan (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

What if such a bias does exist within the IC, though? Would senior US intelligence officials put Americans at risk because they don’t like the president’s politics? Would they even consider putting that president in the position of making crucial foreign policy or defense decisions without having all the relevant information? We should all hope not. Given Brennan’s remarks, it is fair to say it’s a good thing for the country that he is no longer running things at America’s premier foreign intelligence agency.

Then again, the IC has been known to withhold intelligence from Trump in the past. In 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was provided with what is known as a defensive briefing relating to the FBI investigation into her private email server. However, Trump was not informed that the Bureau was investigating his campaign over the now-debunked allegations that he was “colluding” with the Russians.

Brennan did acknowledge that Trump would be provided with reports that contained “analytic overviews and briefings about some of the world’s hotspots, letting Donald Trump know what the assessments are, at this point… “ He then alluded to Trump retaining documents after he left office in 2021. “So, I think it’s going to be analysis that will be devoid of the sources and methods – the sensitive things – that we are most concerned about: The types of things that were in all those documents that he had in the bathroom and other areas in Mar-a-Lago.”

Predictably, the former Intelligence Community official did not express concern about Joe Biden’s access to sensitive intel, even though he kept multiple boxes of government documents in his house, his garage, and at another office. Nor does Brennan apparently have any worries that the recent special counsel report on Biden’s classified documents scandal suggested the current commander-in-chief would never be criminally convicted because his cognitive decline – particularly a failing memory – would get him off the hook. One would think a former CIA director might have doubts about such a person getting classified intelligence briefings.

A Hail Mary Narrative

Brennan isn’t the only person raising this probably phony concern. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made the same point on NBC News’s Meet the Press, recently. “But we’ve never had a situation where one of the candidates for president has been so criminally negligent when it comes to handling, if not worse, when it comes to handling classified information.” One candidate? Just one? Perhaps Schiff has never heard of either Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton. The congressman went on, “So I have to hope, and knowing the intelligence community as I do, that they will dumb down the briefing for Donald Trump,” continuing, “That is, they will give him no more information than absolutely necessary. Nothing that would reveal sources or methods. Because we can’t trust that he will do the right thing with that information.”

It is interesting that Schiff’s remarks almost exactly echoed Brennan’s. The cynic might wonder if this is a coordinated narrative.

The prospect of the Intelligence Community withholding vital information from Trump, if and when he returns to the White House, is more than simply worrisome. The word “treason” even comes to mind. But, in all likelihood, no current senior IC officials are even contemplating such a thing. At least, that is what anyone who considers themselves an American patriot would hope.

It is far more likely that Schiff and Brennan, driven as they are by what seems to be a pathological hatred of the 45th president, are testing out a new (well, actually not so new) line of attack – that Trump is unstable and unfit to be trusted with sensitive intelligence.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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