GOP Rep. Peter King accused CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday of orchestrating a “hit job” against GOP President-elect Donald Trump.
In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” King, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said while he agrees there should be an investigation into Russian involvement in the election, there should also be an investigation into Brennan for the “hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect,” Politico reports.
This hit job, according to King, has taken the form of Brennan allegedly leaking intelligence assessments to the press and circumventing Congress, in order to take shots at Trump.
“That’s what infuriates me about this, Martha, is that we have John Brennan, supposedly John Brennan, leaking to The Washington Post, to a biased newspaper like The New York Times, findings and conclusion that is he’s not telling the intelligence committee,” King said.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported on a secret CIA assessment that concluded Russia interfered in the election to help Trump win. The report relied on second-hand knowledge, literally citing a U.S. official who had been briefed on a brief the CIA gave congressmen.
Brennan added in a memo Friday to the CIA that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director James Comey also agree with him “on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election.” The press never saw the full memo, and the official who leaked the quote did not provide a more concrete definition of what Brennan meant by “intent.” Trump was not mentioned by name in any direct quotes leaked from Brennan’s alleged internal memo.
The Washington Post also reported on this memo, citing an official familiar with its contents, which came on the heels of FBI officials indicating they did not agree with the CIA’s assessment.
While previously it seemed to lawmakers like the FBI disagreed with the CIA’s assessment, officials told The Washington Post that the apparent difference was just a product of poor comprehension.
“The truth is they were never all that different in the first place,” an official claimed.
But King thinks there’s some possible underhanded activity here, an assessment shared by retired Army intelligence officer Tony Shaffer, who said after speaking to former CIA officials, it’s becoming clearer that Brennan is likely leaking information to the press out of loyalty to President Barack Obama.
“This is purely political, and I believe that John Brennan is a political animal,” Shaffer said. “Everything they are telling me is Brennan is doing this out of loyalty to President Obama.”
For King, it seems clear that the Russians were behind the attack on the Democratic National Committee, but it’s less clear that the Russians are responsible for the release of emails from John Podesta’s account.
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