John Brennan rips John Ratcliffe for declassifying Clinton, Russia notes
John O. Brennan, the former director of the CIA, accused President Trump’s director of national intelligence on Wednesday of selectively declassifying information to advance political interests.
“Just the way Donald Trump has abused the responsibilities and authorities of the office of the presidency, John Ratcliffe has followed in his footsteps and has totally abused those responsibilities and authorities of the Office of Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Brennan said on MSNBC.
Mr. Brennan, who led the CIA under former President Barack Obama, was reacting to the ODNI releasing some his handwritten notes from during the 2016 election.
The largely redacted notes, released Tuesday, relate to a July 2016 briefing in which Mr. Brennan told Mr. Obama about Russia and its interest in the race between Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Brennan said he told Mr. Obama that the CIA gleaned intelligence suggesting that Russians thought Mrs. Clinton may have approved a plan to stir up a scandal by connecting Mr. Trump to Russia.
But he said Mr. Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman, revealed details about the briefing in a way that falsely gives the impression that Mrs. Clinton might have done something illegal.
“He has very selectively declassified and released information to try to promote the interests of Donald Trump,” said Mr. Brennan.
Mr. Brennan, a longtime CIA official who retired when Mr. Trump entered office, said he was trying to show Mr. Obama the agency’s ability to collect and access Russian intelligence.
He also stressed claims about Mrs. Clinton wanting to possible start a scandal involving Mr. Trump and Russia were unverified allegations that would not be unlawful or illegal even if true.
“It is incontrovertible that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. It is my view that their assistance really helped get Donald Trump over the finish line in terms of the electoral victory,” said Mr. Brennan.
“And so therefore what John Ratcliffe is doing is really a great disservice,” he continued. “Not just to the women and men of the intelligence community who work around the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep this country safe. It’s a disservice to the American people, and he should be ashamed, and it’s a disgrace, and I can’t understand how he is allowed to continue in that position.”
The ODNI did not immediately respond to a message seeking its reaction.