Judicial Watch Sues CIA for Documents on Dossier Leak to Senator Harry Reid
Reid Publicized Clinton-DNC Dossier Allegations Following Brennan Briefing
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for records of communications with former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and his staff regarding the anti-Trump dossier funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:18-cv-01502)).
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid reportedly believed then-Obama CIA Director Brennan was feeding him information about alleged links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in order to make public accusations.
According to “Russian Roulette,” by Yahoo! News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of the left-wing Mother Jones magazine, Brennan contacted Reid on Aug. 25, 2016, to brief him on the state of Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign. Brennan briefed other members of the so-called Gang of Eight, but Reid is the only who took direct action.
Two days after the briefing, Reid wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey asserting that “evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount.”
Reid called on Comey to investigate the links “thoroughly and in a timely fashion.”
Reid saw Brennan’s outreach as “a sign of urgency,” Isikoff and Corn wrote in the book.
“Reid also had the impression that Brennan had an ulterior motive. He concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russian operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.”
According to the book, Brennan told Reid that the intelligence community had determined that the Russian government was behind the hack and leak of Democratic emails and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind it. Brennan also told Reid that there was evidence that Russian operatives were attempting to tamper with election results.
On August 27, 2016, Reid wrote a letter to Comey accusing President Trump’s campaign of colluding with the Russian government.
The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the CIA failed to respond to a February 12, 2018, FOIA request for:
- All records of communications, including but not limited to letters, emails, text messages, and instant chats, between former CIA Director John Brennan and/or officials in the CIA Director’s Office on the one hand, and Senator Harry Reid and/or members of Senator Reid’s staff on the other hand, regarding, concerning or relating to the Christopher Steele “dossier” and/or alleged “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
- Copies of any reports, memoranda or other materials provided to Senator Reid and/or members of his staff by the CIA relating to alleged Russian “collusion” or cooperation between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
- All materials, including briefing reports and memos, audio/video presentations, PowerPoint presentations and any other records, used by CIA Director Brennan and/or other CIA officials to brief Senator Reid and/or members of his staff on alleged “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
- All notes, minutes, transcripts, and audio and/or visual recordings made of any and all briefings provided by the CIA to Senator Reid and/or members of his staff regarding alleged “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Brennan has come under public scrutiny as one of the suspected prime movers of the “Spygate” scandal against then-candidate Trump and his team during 2015 and 2016 and later against President Trump and members of his administration.
Brennan himself has revealed his deep-seated animus toward President Trump and used his media platform as an MSNBC commentator to repeatedly attack the president.
When President Trump tweeted about FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s firing in March 2018, Brennan retweeted and responded:
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.
In response to the president’s tweet that former FBI director Comey is a “proven leaker and liar,” Brennan retweeted and responded in April 2018 that President Trump’s administration is a failing “kakistocracy.”
“Obama CIA Director John Brennan’s unhinged attacks on President Trump help explain the Obama administration spying abuses targeting Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The mere fact that we had to file this lawsuit shows the CIA has something to hide on Obama-era abuses and collusion with Democrats in Congress to target then-candidate Trump.”
Judicial Watch filed a separate FOIA lawsuit against the CIA on March 6, 2017, for records related to the investigation of former Trump National Security Advisor and retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)).
The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb. Kislyak.