Hey, how dare the Trump administration do the exact same thing the Obama administration did? Unbelievable!
Can you imagine the gall? No? Well, you’re not John Brennan, former director of the CIA and thesaurus-loving rage-tweeter.
Brennan, in case you haven’t been following the Obama-era functionary these past few years, really, really loathes the new president. He loathes him more thanks to the Justice Department’s decision to stop prosecuting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
He’s even angrier about the fact that the acting director of national intelligence has unmasked the people who decided to unmask Flynn in the first place.
In an appearance Thursday on MSNBC, Brennan fulminated at the Trump administration for releasing a list of officials who requested that the name of an individual who participated in an intercepted phone call with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak be “unmasked” during the interim period between the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
As a quick primer on the process, the names of American citizens in communications with foreigners being lawfully monitored by U.S. intelligence won’t appear in government reports out of respect for their civil liberties. However, senior American officials can ask that they be unmasked if the situation called for it.
According to Fox News, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a list of people who “may have received Lt. Gen Flynn’s identity in response to a request processed between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017 to unmask an identity that had been generically referred to [masked] in an NSA foreign intelligence report.”
That list was sent to senators, who released it Wednesday.
In his appearance on MSNBC, Brennan was asked plenty of questions by host Nicolle Wallace about how this was a complete abuse of power by a runaway administration. One question he wasn’t asked: Why did he appear on the list of the people who wanted Michael Flynn to be unmasked?
Regardless, Brennan said plenty about how this was an “abominable abuse of authority” and “blatant corruption at the highest levels of U.S. government,” particularly in light of the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the charges against Flynn.
“When you have an administration — the White House, the attorney general, the acting head of the intelligence community — all acting in concert to try to advance the personal interests of Mr. Trump and to misrepresent the facts and abuse the authorities within the intelligence community and the law enforcement community in order to continue to perpetrate this egregious abuse of authority on the American people, which is what it is, I think this is very, very serious,” Brennan said.
Brennan went on to say that Trump “is playing by a despot’s playbook” in that he wanted to obtain and maintain power by any means necessary.
“I’m just hoping that individuals like [FBI Director] Chris Wray, who is a remarkable public servant, will continue to stay strong in the face of this type of abominable abuse of authority,” he said.
Ah yes, that vulnerable Christopher Wray. He might go over to the dark side, too. And of course, this all came back to Russia. Again.
“As we have talked about the upcoming November election, how the Russians and others are going to seek to try to once again interfere and influence the outcome, I just am very concerned that some of those at the very top are not going to fulfill the duties that are entrusted to them by the American people,” Brennan said.
In other words, the American intelligence and law enforcement communities weren’t going to stop a foreign power from interfering in the election. Evidence for this? Nil. But he’s “just … very concerned” about it, so he gets to bring up the oldest trick in the book.
Anyhow, again, there wasn’t any talk about the fact that Brennan was among the officials who requested Flynn’s unmasking.
Don’t look for it there. Apparently, in a five-minute interview, there wasn’t any space to ask him about this.
That’s rather important because the Flynn case is looking more and more like it was about political gain, not about any serious desire to see justice done or get down to the bottom of any sort of Russian conspiracy.
It’s doubly important because the call with Kislyak is precisely what prosecutors claimed Flynn lied about when they went to go see him.
We’ve seen that the FBI was about to close out the Flynn investigation when someone — it’s unclear who, but Peter Strzok, that lovable scamp, was involved — wanted it to remain open.
We’ve heard about the handwritten note regarding how to approach the FBI’s January 2017 interview with Flynn: “What is our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
Now we know the people who wanted Flynn unmasked. Among them? Former Vice President Joe Biden, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough.
Oh yeah, and Brennan.
Few people who’ve been ejected from the pantheon of the powerful in the Trump years seem so utterly resentful about it as Brennan does.
Any time Brennan is on cable TV nowadays, he’ll shake his bulldog jowls and rage about the perfidies of the Trump administration.
How did we get the Trump administration, though?
We got it because so few of us trust our political elites — elites like Brennan, who unmasked an innocent American for political purposes.
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