Right-wing outlets and fake news purveyors are spinning a Guardian report to falsely claim that former CIA Director John Brennan “colluded” with foreign countries to target President Donald Trump. Communications between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials was gathered incidentally by other countries by during routine monitoring of Russian activity. Many of these same outlets previously used this Guardian article to falsely suggest that Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano was vindicated in his claim about collusion between the British and former President Barack Obama.
Foreign Intelligence Officials Reportedly Alerted U.S. Officials About Contacts Between Trump’s Team And Russia
The Guardian: Foreign Intelligence Services “Played A Crucial Role In Alerting” U.S. Officials About Contacts “Between Members Of Donald Trump’s Campaign Team And Russian Intelligence Operatives.” On April 13, The Guardian reported that, along with a “number of western agencies,” Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) “played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of [President] Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives.” According to the report, “GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents” and then the “intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information.” The report also noted that “after an initially slow start,” then-CIA Director John Brennan “used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.” From the report:
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.
Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.
It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US.
Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.
One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.
According to one account, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level”. After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.
In late August and September Brennan gave a series of classified briefings to the Gang of Eight, the top-ranking Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He told them the agency had evidence the Kremlin might be trying to help Trump to win the presidency, the New York Times reported. [The Guardian, 4/13/17]
Right-Wing Outlets, Fringe Outlets, And Fake News Purveyors Falsely Suggest Brennan Nefariously Colluded With Countries To Target Trump
The American Spectator And Before It’s News: Brennan “Teamed Up” With Foreign Countries To “Cripple Trump’s Candidacy.” A week after the Guardian’s article was published, The American Spectator baselessly claimed that Brennan “teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy” in order to “retain his position as CIA director under Hillary [Clinton].” It baselessly added that the foreign intelligence these countries found was “phony” because “Estonia was eager to see Trump lose” and that “British spy agencies” were “also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose.” The article was later republished by fake news purveyor Before It’s News. From the April 19 article:
An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.
Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.
The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.
Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).
The Guardian says that British spy head Robert Hannigan “passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan.” To ensure that these flaky tips leaked out, Brennan disseminated them on Capitol Hill. In August and September of 2016, he gave briefings to the “Gang of Eight” about them, which then turned up on the front page of the New York Times.
Liberals pompously quote the saying — “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” — even as their media enshrine it. Historians will look back on 2016 and marvel at the audacity of its big lie: whispers of an imaginary Trump-Russia collusion that wafted up from the fever swamps of a real collusion between John Brennan and foreign powers seeking Trump’s defeat. [The American Spectator, 4/19/17; Before It’s News, 4/21/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
The Daily Wire: “Report: Former CIA Director Colluded With Foreign Spies to Falsify Trump-Russia Connections.” In a piece headlined “Report: Former CIA Director Colluded With Foreign Spies to Falsify Trump-Russia Connections,” The Daily Wire claimed that the Spectator report “cuts to the point far more succinctly” than the Guardian did, and added that “Brennan was the center of the storm.” From the April 20 article (emphasis original):
There were dueling headlines this week, one from a liberal British newspaper, the other from a conservative U.S. magazine.
“British spies were first to spot Trump team's links with Russia,” wrote The Guardian. Well, bother, that'll put the prezzy in a bit of a spot.
But wait, there was this other headline -- same story, just a different headline, from The American Spectator: “Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump.”
Well dang, now we don't know what to think.
Funny, it was all right there in The Guardian report -- Brennan was the center of the storm. “The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at 'director level.' After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.”
But The Spectator cuts to the point far more succinctly. [The Daily Wire, 4/20/17]
Gateway Pundit: Brennan “Colluded” With Foreign “Spies Who Sought To … Manufacture Trump-Russia Ties.” The Gateway Pundit claimed in an April 19 article that the Spectator showed Brennan “colluded with British and Estonian spies who sought to both to manufacture Trump-Russia ties and bring down Trump’s candidacy as a whole.” [The Gateway Pundit, 4/19/17]
TruthFeed: “John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies Against Trump.” In a piece headlined “BREAKING REPORT: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies Against Trump,” fake news purveyor TruthFeed claimed that Brennan is “known to have ‘extreme hatred’ for President Trump.” It falsely added that Trump “was 100% right with his claim that the Obama admin spied on his team for political purposes,” and reprinted the Spectator piece afterwards. From the April 20 article:
The evidence is now overwhelming.
The liberal media is desperate to hide the truth but all signs point to the reality Trump was 100% right with his claim that the Obama admin spied on his team for political purposes.
Right Wing News: Hillary Clinton “Used” Brennan To Team “Up With Foreign Governments” To Influence The Election. Fake news purveyor Right Wing News claimed that “if anyone was teaming up with foreign governments to influence the results of the 2016 Presidential election, it was Hillary Clinton,” and that “she appears to have used John Brennan to do it.” It suggested that the “American intelligence community” “pointed” the GCHQ to the information it found on communication between Trump associates and Russian officials. From the April 20 article:
Reports indicate that if anyone was teaming up with foreign governments to influence the results of the 2016 Presidential election, it was Hillary Clinton. Worse yet is the fact that she appears to have used John Brennan to do it, as he was trying to stay on as CIA director under her “inevitable” Presidency.
This is definitely something that the Trump White House should be investigating, because it might reveal a deeper level of spying on the then-Republican Presidential Candidate than even the most skeptical of supporters could have anticipated.
Do you think it’s possible that the GHCQ just “happened” to stumble across these contacts without being pointed in that direction by the American intelligence community? [Right Wing News, 4/20/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Mad World News: Brennan Should Be Sent “To Jail For Breaking Political Espionage Laws.” Fake news purveyor Mad World News claimed that “dirtbag” Brennan “tried to use the CIA, with help from at least six other countries, to help Hillary Clinton win the presidency.” It added that Brennan “collu[ded] with intelligence agencies from at least seven other countries to defeat and then discredit Trump,” and that he should be sent “to jail for breaking political espionage laws.” From the April 20 article:
Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan is now the focal point of both Congressional intelligence committees as new damning information was revealed, confirming that he tried to use the CIA, with help from at least six other countries, to help Hillary Clinton win the presidency in exchange for a huge favor. What this dirtbag did is enough to not only make your blood boil but send him to jail for breaking political espionage laws.
According to The Gateway Pundit, a new report has surfaced showing that John Brennan, Obama’s former CIA Director, was the origin point in the American intelligence community who facilitated the political espionage of President Donald Trump in an attempt to take him down before he won the election.
Brennan’s collusion with intelligence agencies from at least seven other countries to defeat and then discredit Trump is being regarded as the biggest intel collaboration in recent history against a political figure. The most important questions are finally getting answered in this latest bombshell revelation. Now, we understand why so many corrupt players went up against Trump, and it isn’t a pretty picture.
According to The American Spectator, in an effort to keep his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan joined forces with British spies, along with the intelligence agencies of at least 5 other countries, including Germany, France, Poland, Australia, and Estonia. The faulty information Brennan gathered and leaked to the press was used by the FBI to start their probe of a computer server connected to Trump Tower and also gave cover to Susan Rice for Obama’s political unmasking scheme. The pieces are finally coming together and not in a way that will help Brennan avoid prosecution.
Brennan deserves to go down for this. There is no way in hell that America can survive these kinds of traitors planted so deeply inside our intelligence community. It’s time for American patriots to make noise, make calls, make demands, and bring prison sentences for Brennan and his like. [Mad World News, 4/20/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Brennan Did Not “Collude” With Foreign Intelligence Agencies; The Intelligence Was Picked Up As Part Of Incidental Collection
CNN: European Intelligence Officials Were Not Targeting Trump Officials But Picked Up Communications During “Incidental Collection.” According to a CNN report, “British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts.” Additionally, CNN reported that sources say GCHQ was not “proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what's known as ‘incidental collection.’” From the April 13 report:
British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts, US congressional and law enforcement and US and European intelligence sources tell CNN.
The communications were captured during routine surveillance of Russian officials and other Russians known to western intelligence. British and European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, the British intelligence agency responsible for communications surveillance, were not proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what's known as “incidental collection,” these sources tell CNN. [CNN.com, 4/13/17]
CNN’s Philip Mudd: “It’s A Simple Intel-Sharing Agreement That Includes Some Trump Stuff.” CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd characterized the collaboration between British and U.S. intelligence officials as “a simple intel-sharing agreement that includes some Trump stuff.” Mudd added that it is “entirely incorrect” to say that “the British were targeting American politicians. That’s a lie.” From the April 14 edition of CNN’s New Day:
ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): There was this Fox News analyst who said that President Obama had gone around the FISA court and done something illegal and used JCHQ (sic) to find out about Trump associates. Well now we know that in fact it was the British intel agency that tapped the U.S. intelligence agency on the shoulder and said, “We’re finding something that looks suspicious to us.”
PHILIP MUDD: Yeah, but timeout. The Fox News analyst suggested the British were targeting American politicians. That's a lie. Let me tell you how this works. I can't wait to see this play out in Washington today and tomorrow because I guarantee there will be some conspiracy theory that's nuts. Let me tell you reality. There's a huge volume of local -- what we call traffic in the intelligence business: email, phone. That includes Russians, Chinese, Iranians. Think of this as burden sharing, resource sharing. The Americans don't want to collect all of it and have their closest allies, maybe the British, collect all the same stuff. They have agreements about what kind of stuff each is going to collect. When they collect it, they share it. This has been going on for decades. In this case, what would have happened is the Americans might collect some Russian lines. The British collect the others. The British aren't looking through it saying either, how do we target Trump people or how do we find Trump stuff in our intelligence and pass it to the Americans. They’re just passing Russian stuff. Within that haystack of Russian stuff is some Trump communications with the Russians, what we call incidental collection. So I think this is going to be portrayed as a conspiracy, as it was on Fox. That is entirely incorrect. It is a simple intel-sharing agreement that includes some Trump stuff. [CNN, New Day, 4/14/17]
Fringe Outlets And Fake News Purveyors Previously Used Same Report To Falsely Claim Andrew Napolitano’s Debunked British Trump Wiretap Claim Was Vindicated
Fringe Outlets And Fake News Purveyors Falsely Claimed British Intelligence Report Showed Napolitano’s British Trump Wiretap Claim Was Vindicated. Many of these fringe outlets and fake news purveyors wrongly claimed that Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano’s false allegation that former President Barack Obama “went outside the chain of command” to demand British intelligence officials spy on Trump was vindicated. They claimed that the reports showed Napolitano “was right” and that his claimed was “confirmed.” In fact, the GCHQ has said the claim was “totally untrue and quite frankly absurd” because GCHQ “can only gather intelligence for national security purposes." The claim was also originally pushed on Russian state media. [Media Matters, 4/14/17]