Judicial Watch Sues for Records of Communication Between James Clapper, John Brennan and CNN
MARCH 27, 2019
Dossier-Related Communications Between Clapper and ex-CIA Director John Brennan also Sought
(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced today it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking records of communications between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and CNN around the time the Clinton-Democrat National Committee Trump dossier was being pitched to key media outlets.
A House report detailed that Clapper leaked information regarding the dossier to CNN in January 2017. The former ODNI chief signed on as an analyst for CNN in August 2017.
Judicial Watch is also seeking records of communications between Clapper and Obama CIA Director John Brennan regarding the dossier , which was authored by former British spy and FBI payee Christopher Steele.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:19-cv-00776)) after the agencies failed to respond to an April 23, 2018 FOIA request seeking:
All records of communication, including emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages and instant chats, between officials in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, including but not limited to James Clapper, and employees, representatives and contractors of CNN.
The time frame for the records request is May 2016 through May 2017.
All records of communications between the office of the Director of Central Intelligence and representatives of CNN; DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding the collection of memos known as the “Steele Dossier:” and between DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding CNN.
All records of communication, including emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages and instant chats, between officials in the office of the Director of Central Intelligence, including but not limited to DCI John Brennan, and employees, representatives and contractors of CNN. The time frame for the requested records is May 2016 through May 2017.
All records of communication, including emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages and instant chats, between DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding the collection of memos known as the “Steele Dossier”. The time frame for records requested in this bullet item is May 2016 through January 2017.
All records of communication, including emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages and instant chats, between DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding the news network CNN. The time frame for records requested in this bullet item is May 2016 through January 2017.
In a March 2018, report, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN.” And, “when questioned by the Committee … Clapper admitted that he confirmed the existence of the dossier to the media.
Clapper later admitted he had discussed the Steele dossier with CNN’s Jake Tapper and other journalists in early 2017, shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In a January 10, 2017 report with bylines from Tapper, Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein, CNN first revealed that then-FBI Director James Comey had briefed then-President-elect Trump on the dossier’s allegations.
The Intelligence Committee’s report said that “Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic. Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in ‘early January 2017,’ around the time [intelligence officials] briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information.’”
Shortly after CNN’s January 10, 2017 report, BuzzFeed News published the dossier in full.
The four CNN reporters were awarded the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Merriman Smith Award for their coverage of the dossier story.
Brennan, in an interview with NBC News on February 4, 2018 insisted that the Steele dossier “did not play any role whatsoever” in early intelligence assessments on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Several subsequent reports strongly contradict Brennan’s claim.
In a June 4, 2018 report for National Review, Victor Davis Hanson noted that Brennan “served as a stealthy conduit” to ensure the dossier was “disseminated widely.”
Hanson wrote: “Brennan, in May 2017, as an ex-CIA director, again almost certainly did not tell the truth to Congress when he testified in answer to Rep. Tray Gowdy’s questions that he neither knew who had commissioned the Steele dossier nor had the CIA relied on its contents for any action. Yet both the retired National Security Agency director, Michael Rogers, and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, have conceded that the Steele dossier — along with the knowledge that it was a Clinton-campaign-funded project — most certainly did help shape the Obama intelligence communality interagency assessments and actions, often under the urging of Brennan himself.”
“Judicial Watch is again in court trying to get the truth about the Obama gang illegal leaks and conspiracy targeting President Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “Clapper and Brennan were key proponents of the big lie, exposed by the Mueller report, that President Trump colluded with the Russians. Judicial Watch FOIA litigation is the best hope for getting full accountability on this attack on our constitutional republic.”