The CIA Inspector General has taken more than a year to clear the release of a House Intelligence Committee report which contradicts the key conclusion of the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the former chief of staff of the National Security Council.
The January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), prepared at the behest of President Barack Obama, claimed that Russia interfered in the presidential election in order to help candidate Donald Trump. The House Intelligence Committee’s public report (pdf) on Russia had already challenged the analytic tradecraft behind this central claim and suggested that the process of arriving at the assessment was not free of political interference.
A separate, classified report holed up at the office of the CIA Inspector General (IG) sheds damning light on the role then-CIA Director John Brennan played in the preparation of the report, former National Security Council Chief of Staff Fred Fleitz learned from House Intelligence Committee staff. A source familiar with the report’s fate would not deny that the report went to the office of the CIA IG.
The report states that Brennan overruled agency analysts who wanted to include strong intelligence in the assessment to show that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Hillary Clinton to win the election, Fleitz says, citing conversations with House Intelligence Committee staffers. Brennan had also rejected analysts who wanted to strike weak intelligence from the report which suggested that Russia favored Trump, Fleitz said.