Barack Obama believed the U.S. intelligence community lacked sufficient “credibility” in 2008, according to leaked documents from the Obama 2008 transition team.
According to the documents, which were made public by anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks last fall but have gone largely unnoticed until now, one of Obama’s goals for his administration was to “restore credibility” that he believed the intelligence community needed but didn’t have.
Lisa Brown, the co-chair of agency review on the transition team, sent a memo to key transition staffers in October, 2008 outlining Obama’s vision for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the intelligence community (IC). John Podesta, who headed Obama’s transition team and later served as a White House adviser before serving as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair in 2016, was copied on the email, as was Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s longtime adviser.
One of the “major commitments” listed was to “Restore IC credibility and improve intelligence collection, analysis, collaboration, and information sharing – within IC, with state and local entities, and with international partners.”
A similar goal was to “Improve Congressional oversight and transparency, enlisting a bipartisan consultative group.”
The memo reiterates the importance of restoring “credibility” to the intelligence community in a section titled, “Opportunities.”
“Restore IC credibility with Congress and public, combining better relations with Congress and reviews of questionable activities associated with surveillance and torture,” the section read in part.
President-elect Donald Trump was recently criticized after initially appearing to question the intelligence community’s conclusions with regards to Russia meddling in the 2016 election before being briefed on the situation. (RELATED: Trump: ‘Dishonest Media’ Wrong, I Don’t Agree With Julian Assange)
The “Intelligence” briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
The Obama transition documents were found among thousands of Podesta’s emails made public by WikiLeaks last fall in the run-up to the presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies have identified Russian hackers as the ones responsible for stealing the documents which were later published by WikiLeaks.
The DNI report published last week also said that DCLeaks, a hacktivist organization that published the emails of former four-star general secretary of state Colin Powell, likely acted as a front group for Russian intelligence efforts. (RELATED: DNI: ‘High Confidence’ DCLeaks Used As Front By Russian Hackers)