The Gateway Pundit reports that Kash Patel, who served on the House Intelligence Committee, revealed in an interview that senior intelligence officials have been obstructing the release of key materials in the Russia investigation, often by deliberately delaying the review of materials and “constantly blocking” the release of those documents. Patel said CIA Director Gina Haspel played a major role in blocking the release of one of the most critical documents.
Kash Patel (D-N.Y.)
Patel is a U.S. attorney who served as chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense in the middle of the Trump administration. Patel served on the National Security Council and the House Intelligence Committee, helping to expose malfeasance in U.S. intelligence during the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. Patel previously served as a national security officer at the Justice Department and the Pentagon under Obama.
At the end of Trump’s term, Patel left the White House. In his first in-depth interview with the media outlet Real Clear Investigations, he said, “There are people within the intelligence community, at the head of certain intelligence agencies, who don’t want their spying techniques to be publicly blamed because it doesn’t benefit the intelligence agencies themselves.”
Patel saw the intelligence underlying the Russian investigation and co-authored key reports that have not been declassified. Patel said the new disclosures will expose more misconduct and evidentiary gaps in the work of the CIA and FBI. While the DOJ inspector general’s December 2019 report exposed significant intelligence failures and malfeasance, Patel said more damaging information remains under wraps.
Patel did not imply that there was subversive hard evidence being concealed. But core intelligence failures have been exposed, particularly the FBI’s reliance on Steele’s (Christopher Steele) falsification to get a warrant to search and surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Patel said the unreleased material would reveal more misconduct and significant problems with the CIA’s assessment of Russia, which was that the comprehensive and systematic meddling in the 2016 campaign was carried out at Putin’s behest.
Patel is wary of detailing any sensitive information that has not been declassified. While special counsel John Durham is conducting a judicial investigation into violations in the Russia probe, it is unclear whether key documents will ever see the light of day.
In his final days in office, Trump reportedly eased up on U.S. intelligence leaders, allowing them to block the release of key materials in the Russia probe.
Process of releasing documents “constantly blocked'”
Patel’s work on the House Intelligence Committee, led by former Republican Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), is widely credited with exposing the FBI’s reliance on Steele and exposing the FBI’s misrepresentation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). However, congressional Democrats and major media outlets have portrayed Patel as a saboteur hiding behind the scenes and trying to “smear” the Russia investigation.
Patel said that ensuring public disclosure of key information in such a controversial national security investigation was the reason he took the job in the first place.
“My agreement with Congressman Nunes was, ‘OK, I don’t want to go to Capitol Hill, but I’ll do this job on the basis of accountability and disclosure,'” Patel said.
“Everything that we find, I don’t care if it’s good or bad or whatever from your political perspective, we’re going to bring it out. So the American public can just read it for themselves, and there will be places in the document where there are measures that need to be taken to protect certain national security, but those are the minimum redactions.”
That task is proving difficult. Patel said the House Intelligence Committee’s disclosure efforts, “are constantly being hampered by members of the intelligence community who, in their words, are hurting the sources and the way …. , I just want to emphasize that we haven’t lost a single source, we haven’t lost a single contact, no one has died as a result of our public disclosures because we do them in a systematic and professional manner.”
Patel added, “Every Time we force them to produce [the documents], it only reveals their cover-up and embarrassment.”
Among those key documents Patel helped uncover were: judicial officer Bruce Ohr’s admission that Ohr served as Steele’s liaison even after the FBI officially terminated him; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s false statements about leaks in the Hillary email investigation; and the FBI’s reliance on Steele’s files on Page for surveillance.
There is actually a U.S. law that says the FBI and the Justice Department cannot withhold material from the court in order to cover up embarrassment or mistakes, as occurred during our investigation. This statute helped us make mandatory disclosures.”
The Counterintelligence Community Assessment to the Intelligence Community Assessment
For Patel, a key document that remains unknown to the public is one he helped produce. Under pressure from the intelligence community, Trump decided not to declassify the report. That report is, “Report of the House Intelligence Committee on the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA),” or the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) for short.
This is the foundational Russia-gate document, which came out two weeks before Trump’s inauguration, and this report asserts that Russia launched an interference campaign to help Trump defeat Hillary. While it was widely believed in the media that the report reflected the consensus of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, in fact it was hastily concocted in a matter of weeks by a small group of CIA analysts led by then-CIA Director John Brennan, who merely consulted their counterparts at the FBI and the National Security Agency. The NSA even disagreed on the critical judgment that Russia and Putin specifically helped elect Trump, expressing only “moderate confidence.
In March 2018, the House of Representatives released its Counterintelligence Community Assessment report, which found that the production of the Intelligence Community Assessment “deviated from established CIA practices. The House report found that the core judgment that Putin was trying to help Trump was the result of “significant intelligence espionage technical failures that undermined confidence in the judgment of the Intelligence Community Assessment”.
Following that March 2018 report, Patel and his Intelligence Committee colleagues produced a still-classified document that fleshed out the Intelligence Community Assessment’s “spying technical failures” in greater detail.
Patel said, “We looked at the Intelligence Community Assessment, looked at the underlying evidence and the messages, and talked to the people who did it.” The first flaw in the Intelligence Community Assessment, according to Patel, was the unprecedentedly short window of time to produce it, just in the final days of Obama’s term. “It’s impossible to do a full investigation of anything in two to three weeks in terms of interference and cybersecurity issues.”
Patel said the March 2018 House Assessment of the Counterintelligence Community, which remains classified information, undermines another key claim that Russia ordered a cyber hacking campaign to help Trump. the March 2018 House report noted that the ICA’s judgment, “particularly in the cyber intrusion section, used appropriate cautionary sources and definitive assumptions,” but these were insisted on by Democrats Russia is the culprit is drowned out.
Constrained from discussing the material, Patel said only that releasing it “would give a great deal of credence” to the Mueller report’s suggestion that Russia launched a “comprehensive and systematic” campaign of interference to install Trump is “highly suspect.
Suspicions of the Mueller investigation were reinforced in July 2019 when Mueller’s team was reprimanded by a U.S. district judge for wrongly suggesting in its final report that a Russian social media company had acted in concert with the Kremlin. Mueller’s prosecutors later dropped the case.
Patel said, “There are multiple versions of the document we’re about to release with different levels of declassification redactions. But unfortunately, it’s just a report that speaks directly to the lack of concrete evidence, concrete evidence that still sits in a corner of security secrecy. Unless Biden takes action, the evidence will not be seen by the American public. “
Patel confirmed early media reports late last year that Trump’s CIA director Gina Haspel personally blocked the release of the House of Representatives’ Counterintelligence Community Assessment report. That report is sitting in a safe at CIA headquarters in Langley.” The CIA has the Counterintelligence Community Assessment report, and Trump chose not to release the document.” For specific reasons Patel said he did not know.