tv Former CIA Director I Saw Intelligence Information to Warrant Investigation CSPAN May 23, 2017 11:26pm-1:41am EDT
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>> good morning. it is my habit and tradition to begin with a quick prayer. heavenly father, we come before you humble in desperate need of your wisdom and guidance. we pray for the families and those affected by the bombing in manchester last night. a clear reminder of how dangerous this world is. we ask for your comfort and healing for those involved in that horrific experience. we ask that you be with us this morning. we ask for your guidance and wisdom.
in your son's name, jesus, amen. good morning. i would like to welcome our witness, john brennan. thank you for being -- for a -- for agreeing to be with us this morning. i would like to offer up our prayers for the deceased and injured. the tragedy reminds us of the crucial role our intelligence committees. this morning session is an opening hearing. there will be a closed session immediately following to allow witnesses at members to discuss classified in -- information. to our guests in the audience, welcome. we expect that proper -- this time i would like our witness to stand and raise your right hand, please. i do solemnly swear to give this committee the truth from of the whole truth and nothing but the truth. thank you again. as you know, we have a responsibility to the public. it is my hope that your testimony today will assist both our and the american public's understanding of fact involving the russian interference in our last election campaign. have a e
responsibility to the public. it is my hope that your testimony today will assist both our and the american public's understanding of fact involving the russian interference in our last election campaign. you're the knowledge of activities foster that were key players regarding russian activities in the elections. -- the judgments rendered by the intelligence committee regarding community regarding those matters.
the actions that were taken by the obama administration to counter it. this committee was focused on aggression. it is disheartening to wonder why more action was not taken sooner. i hope you will have insight into this important matter. every day the american public is bombarded with news about the russian interference. many reports are false and misleading. founduth can only be through a full and fair investigation into the facts. we have a duty to the american public to follow the facts wherever they lead. your testimony today will greatly help us meet the solemn obligation. thank you, chairman. good morning director brennan. thank you for coming before our committee and your lifetime of service for the country. we will today to the terrible news from manchester that a suicide bomber killed scores of
people coming putting children at a concert. it is difficult to describe the depravity of that act. we know that your colleagues in the intelligence committee are doing everything they can to share information with the british and are working day and night to prevent such attacks from plaguing our own country. two months ago, our committee held its first open hearing with then fbi director james comey. because mr. comey was responsible for investigating u.s. persons were involved in the russian hacking in our election, many questions went to the issue of collusion. it was after that hearing that --ector call me revealed that this investigation was ongoing.
director comey and rogers also repudiated the president's contention that he was the subject of it wiretapping. -- wiretapping. those plans involve an unprecedented attack on our democratic institutions. more than two -- that, a wish to undermine the candidacy of hillary clinton and advanced the prospects that donald trump would become president of united dates. the audacity of the russian intervention to most americans i surprised. today we will look to director -- theiro figure out intent on organizing the data by publishing it during critical times during the campaign.
what were they hoping to accomplish and what -- why were they running the risk of getting caught? did the russians believe that the american response would be so muted that they could get away with it and pay little price? came from thesion top levels of the kremlin, was vladimir putin encouraged by donald trump pressure yes -- -- wethe cia's mission want to explore what the agency may have learned about the u.s. involvement and share in open session. what mechanism was established, if any, for the sharing of information between elements of the intelligence committee and the fbi. our agencies have concluded that notrussian attack on -- is
one off. the russians already employs many of the same tactics in europe. we will want to know the director's views and what we can do to stop them. over the course of the last two weeks, several matters have been have a direct bearing on our investigation and the relationship between the president and the intelligence community. the presidentthat shared classified information that was provided by one of our intelligence partners. presidentged that the -- most recently, it is alleged that he weighed in with rogers and codes and urged them to the accusation of collusion.
significantly, it was admitted by the president himself that the russia probe was the primary motivation between his firing of mr. comey. as i imagine, you must have maintained many relationships with the -- with the incredible workforce. we will be interested to learn whether members of the intelligence committee have shared information with you that corroborates any of these you ations and how uss -- ability at the fbi to carry out this investigation free of interference. last, you want to say word about the appointment of mr. mueller. many of us have no director mueller for many years and have the most respect for him. appointment, as important as it was to ensure public confidence in the kodak -- conduct of the doj.
our investigation and mr. have two heart -- objects. his will determine if any u.s. laws were broken and who should be brought to justice if there were. hours will be to determine the full scope of russian interference. to make many of our findings public. i think the chairman and i yield back. -- thanks the chairman and i yield back. way,presentative khanna members of the committee, and conway,te the comedy -- members of the committee, i appreciate the ability to be her today.
as a cia officer from 1980 to 2005. i am currently serving as a senior advisor at kissinger associates. i would like to express my deepest condolences to the british people and the families of those injured in yesterday's heinous attack against innocents in manchester. that lawident enforcement officers in the united kingdom, united dates, and other countries are working to find those responsible and prevent further attacks. i wish them godspeed. a fish artie heard from -- already heard from officials. of --y from director rather than repeating details contained in their testimonies, i will use this opportunity to make three main points before i take questions.
proud of the work done by the men and women of the cia, who along with their colleagues, tracked and exposed russia active measures against our presidential election. -- when itecame became clear to me that they had wide-ranging efforts to interfere, we pulled together experts from the cia, nsa, and fbi to focus on the issue. the purpose was to ensure the experts and key agencies had access to information and intelligence relative to russia russian activity. the experts provided regular updates to the summer and fall, which we used to inform senior
u.s. officials, including president obama. the work was leveraged for the under thece community director of national intelligence. it should be clear to everyone blatantly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process. they undertook these activities despite our strong protest and explicit warning that the not do so -- they not do so. the head of russia's federal security bureau, russia's internal security service, the bulk of the schedule fell on syria. with the white house come i took the opportunity to raise two additional issues with them. the continuedt harassment of u.s. diplomats in moscow was your responsible, reckless, intolerable, and needed to stop.
i next raised the reports of russian attempts to interfere in our upcoming presidential election. i told him if russia had such a campaign underway, it was certain to backfire. i said that all americans, regardless of political affiliation, cherish their ability to elect their own leaders without outside interference or disruption. american voters would be outraged by any russian attempt to interfere in the election. i warned that if russia pursued this course, it would destroy of near prospects relationships and undermine matters of mutual interest. as i expected, he denied that russia was doing anything to influence our presidential election, claiming that moscow is a traditional target for such activities. he said that russia was prepared
to work with whatever candidate won the election. he again denied the charge but said he would inform president putin. so-called process. in consultation with the white house come i personally briefed the full details of our understanding of russia attempts to interfere to congressional leadership. i provided the same briefing to each of the members. in the highly sensitive nature of the intelligence case involving an ongoing russian effort to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress. each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.
the subjects of those briefings with consistent of the main judgments of the janeway classified assessments. -- january classified assessments. let me conclude by saying that it was a very special privilege to serve as a cia officer. it was the highest honor of my professional career and always will be to have served another four years as director of the cia. they recognize that this on the sacrifices they and their families make every day on behalf of there's -- their fellow citizens. we owe a debt of gratitude for what they have done and continue to do to protect this country. i will be pleased to take your
questions. service you for your and for agreeing to come this morning. i am joined on this test for spite to able prosecutors. thank you mr. chairman. mr. director, if you could just take a quick minute before i start with my line of questioning with regards to what happened in manchester to do whatever you can from your best expert opinion to try to reassure the american people that what we do in this country and what we are trying to do what helped thwart and stop any similar activity here in the future. if you could help try to put american minds at ease briefly, i would appreciate any words you might have. mr. brennan: i would say that isis and al qaeda and terrorist affiliates try to continued
these outrageous attacks in europe as well as the united states. i can say with great confidence that this country has the absolute best counterterrorism community. the experts from intelligence in human -- excellent security do an excellent job. i have seen a tremendous growth and capability, as all as enhanced national architecture since 9/11 in terms of sharing counterterrorism information quickly. when it is collected overseas or wherever, it gets to those individuals who have to take action on it. i can assure the american people that i know today that my former colleagues are working harder than they ever have before to prevent attacks.
>> we heard the ranking member speak in his opening as well as the rest. in your opening statement, the russian investigation, what the russians were trying to do with regards to our election. the russians interfering with that hasion, we know unfortunately become the new norm. our charge on this committee is not so much necessarily to seek out and without criminal behavior, especially in light of the special counsel robert mueller who will be looking into those types of thing. for us on the intelligence committee, weather here in the senate, to try to improve the intelligence community's ability to do our jobs and make a report and recommendations to the new administration on how we better
defend ourselves against what russia and others might be trying to do with regard to affecting our republic and democracy. in doing so, if we find any criminal behavior, i think that the minority would agree that type of information would be referred to the justice department, which is the proper jurisdiction. the main question at hand, in your experience with the russians trying to involve themselves in our election, did you ever find any evidence that the ranking member spoke of collusion while you are the director? did you find direct evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and putin and moscow while you were there? i really don't do evidence. i do evidence. intelligent -- intelligence
professional, we provide all relevant information to the -- an, if there is a net investigation underway. i was convinced that the russians were trying to interfere in the election. they were very aggressive. it was a multifaceted effort. sure that weake exposed as much of that as's will. -- as possible. having beenence -- involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, i know what the russians try to do. they try to get individuals, including u.s. persons to act on their behalf wittingly or unwittingly. i was worried by a number of contacts that the russians had with u.s. persons. onthe time i left office
january 20, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not. to work on their behalf either in a breeding or unwitting fashion -- witting or any ing fashion.unwitt of time, butout hopefully i can circle back. can you describe their capabilities beyond propaganda and actually infiltrating -- whether you had intelligence and full trait the campaign with capabilities beyond propaganda and beyond reaching out or trying to influence the news or campaign? how long are we known about these capabilities? mr. brennan: there is a lot of intelligence built up on russia's and low -- mo.
able to useen politicians, political parties, elements within the media to try to make sure that their objectives are realized. iswing what the russian mo and has been, i was concerned that they were practicing the same kind of activities here in the united date. -- states. we set up a group in late july that included the fbi and nsa. towas well beyond my mandate follow up on any of those leads. i made sure that anything that was involving u.s. persons, including individuals involved in the cap campaign was shared with the bureau. campaign was shared with the bureau.
the respect to number of allegations made recently that the president or his aides may helpsought to enlist the of director comey himself to drop the investigation. -- sharedembers of any concerns that the president was attempting to enlist the help within the intelligence community to drop the flynn investigation? mr. brennan: no sir. >> are you are you aware of any to push back on a narrative? mr. brennan: i am unaware of it. >> i want to ask you about the allegations concerning the president's meetings in the white house. you might have if
the allegations are accurate about sharing information that we may have obtained from an intelligence partner. what impact do you think that might have on that partner but all -- other intelligence partners. insightsuld share your on one other thing, that is the russians interaction to that meeting was to fall. d.adimir putin -- two fol the russians had to understand that the publication of those photos would be harmful to the president or the would have invited american press to the meeting. what do you think motivated pruden -- putin? is this further efforts to weaken the president?
how do you explain those events? mr. brennan: a lot of questions. i shared classified information with the russians as director of the cia. cia sure is classified information with russia on terrorism matters. that in itself was not unprecedented. i do not know what was shared or said in the oval office. if the reports and press are true that mr. trump decided to spontaneously share some intelligence with the russians, i think he would have violated two protocols. intelligence is not shared with visiting foreign ministers or ambassadors. it needs to be handled the right way to make sure that it is not exposed. not do that, if the press charges are accurate. before sharing intelligence, it
needs to go back to the originating agency to make sure that the language in it will not reveal source of methods and compromise the future collecting capability. it appears from the press reports that he did not go through the proper channels, nor that the agency give proper clearance for it. agency givehe proper clearance for it. these continue to be very damaging leaks. i find them appalling and they need to be tracked down. that is where the damage came from. the russians are watching very carefully what is going on in washington right now. they will try to exploit it for their own purposes to see if partisanfurther seed
animosity. even though the election is over, i think mr. pruden and i thinkintelligence -- they are using this to their benefit. had these concerns raised about their potential .ffort did you take steps to set up a structure to analyze the russian , so that members of the cia, fbi and other agencies will look at these allegations in a cohesive fashion? mr. brennan: yes. i also recognize this was an exceptionally sensitive issue.
trying to stop and uncover what the russian committees were in the midst of a hotly debated presidential campaign. that included information that may have involved u.s. persons contact with russia. pieces is to come department that effort -- compartment that effort. i made sure they were able to send over their experts so that they could share information among them. sure that theye were not going to be any stovepipes. sharing i still information. >> thank you mr. chairman.
we were aack to where couple minutes ago. he testified that you had a conversation with your russian counterpart. you testified that he briefed at least eight members of congress throughout your investigation. when you learned of russia efforts, we will get to that in a minute. my understanding is that russia has historically attempted to interfere with our elect world process -- electoral process. they have a history of doing it. learned of russia's efforts, did you have evidence of connection between the donald trump campaign and russia state actors? i do not do evidence.
as we came upon that, we shared it with the bureau. >> i appreciate that you do not do evidence. unfortunately, that is what i do. evidence.word the good news for me, a lot of my colleagues on the other side worde aisle use the evidence as well. there is more than circumstantial evidence between collusion between russian interference and the donald trump campaign. if it is more than circumstantial, by necessity, it has to be direct. democrat colleagues on the other side of this committee also used the word evidence, that he has seen evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and russians.
three different members of congress from the state -- state and state using the same word, which is evidence. assessment is your vernacular. trait craft is your vernacular. we both know what the word evidence means. you're not getting into whether you cooperated, contradicted, cross-examine, we are not hitting into how you tested and probed the reliability of that evidence. it is a simple question. of evidence exists collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the trump campaign and russian state act or's at the time you learned of 2016 efforts? mr. brennan: i encountered and i am aware of information intelligence that revealed contacts and interaction between
russian officials and u.s. persons -- persons involved in the trunk campaign. i was concerned about because of known russian efforts to suborn such individuals. it raised questions in my mind whether or not the russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals. i do not know whether or not such collusion existed. i do not know. i know there was insufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not u.s. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with russian officials. >> do you know the basis of that information that you shared with the bureau? what was the nature of that evidence? mr. brennan: the committee has now been providing information that relates to that issue in
terms of information that the agency shared with the bureau. that is something that is appropriately classified. , when?learn that when in this chronology did you learn of the contacts between these official members of the trunk campaign -- there is kind of a tripartite. there is trump himself, official members of the campaign and folks who are connected with him. mr. brennan: i will not try to identify individuals. >> i just want you to identify the individuals. mr. brennan: i am not going to identify the individuals because this is information that is based on pacified sources and intelligence. >> were they membered of the campaign? mr. brennan: i were -- i will members to further provide to you information related to that. my understanding is that this committee has access to the
documents we would have provided to the bureau. >> last question, because i am out of time. we can use the word evidence, we both know what the other is talking about. how did you test probe, examine, test the reliability or believability, credibility of the evidence you uncovered? mr. brennan: i made sure the components within the cia that i was possible for counterintelligence, cyber and working to actively understand, as much as possible about the reliability and accuracy of the information they are ready collect it, and the information that was available that needed further cooperation. >> we will come back to it next round. >> five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you direct her for being here. i want to use my five minutes to paint a more specific sure around the message and mechanisms that the russians
used to suborn, which is the word that you would use and we have used your today, our democracy and elect oral process. -- electoral process. the kremlin playbook in which seeks to that russia " corrode democracy from within by deepening political divide." stir the pot, tightening zaidi and know that when they trigger chaos, even when it ends up negatively affect in them, they are serving the purpose of weakening us. i want to talk about people. people. reference of i don't want to do it specifically, i want to do it in the abstract. the kremlin playbook says that russia looks to corrode mark received by "investing in rising politicians, cultivating relationships with prominent businessmen, or helping to ensure that its business affiliates become well positioned in government." assuming that you agree with that, how specifically has the
kremlin gone about cultivating relationships with key americans in an effort to -- our politics? mr. brennan: it is traditional politic trait craft which is to identify individuals that you think are very influential or rising stars. you will try to develop a relationship with them and the russians will frequently do that through cutouts or through false flag operations. they will not identify themselves as russians or members of the russian governments. they will try to develop a personal relationship. over time they will try to get individuals to do things on their behalf. that's why having be involved in a lot of counterintelligence agents over the years and seeing this pattern over and over, my radar goes up when i eat at the russians are actively involved in a particular intelligence operations of campaigns. and that u.s. persons are being contacted by russian officials. to assume that the
phrase you use previously was that you were worried by contacts that there might have been efforts to suborn? is it fair to say they might have been consistent with that age old russian recruitment methodology? mr. brennan: sure. these are contacts that might have been totally innocent, as well as benign, as those who might have succumbed to those russian efforts. -- frome shift focus to americans to russians. i am not asking you about specific russian oligarchs. and you tell us a little bit fort what the role is russian oligarchs in putin's plan? what levels of influence to the use and why do some americans fall for contacts with russian oligarchs and businesspeople? mr. brennan: mr. putin's political standing in russia is certainly well supported by key oligarchs who control billion-dollar industries and
parts of the russian economy. he is, i think relied on them for support and they are reliant on him. they obviously have a lot of international connections, business connections that they will use to the event that there is interest. russiansee that intelligence agencies did not hesitate at all to use private companies and russian persons who are unaffiliated with the russian government to support the objectives. >> we talk about americans in russian now and these couple of minutes. who are suborned in such a way, and russian whoarchs that are recruited are suborned, do they necessarily need to know that they are doing russia's bidding? times they: no, many do not. many times they do not know that the person they are interacting with his russian.
many times they know the individuals may be russian officials, but they do not know that there is an intelligence connection or intelligence motive behind it. >> i am running low on time so i will close with this thought. there is hardly anyone left today who doubt that russia attack us. what we have to realize is that the truth thrust of the russian attack is what they have triggered in as. the partisanship. every time we attack the messenger rather than confront the actions that happen, every timely undercut our allies, alliances and values, we are playing precisely into russia's fondest hopes. i are doing something that am pinning, harry truman or ronald reagan would never have allowed. i yield back in balance my time. yield, i have one question to ask you. i realize we are in open session so i think you understand what i am saying.
in the preparation of the report on the 2016 election which concluded that russia favored the election of donald trump, who would have made the decision to include or exclude any evidence or indication of russia intentions that were contrary to that conclusion? myself, jim comey, mike rogers and jim clapper relied on the experts who pulled this track -- draft together in the intelligence assessment. it was a process where the representatives from those entities wrestled with the language to make sure they had as much accuracy and precision and consensus as possible. any adjustments that were made were made during the process. i met with some of my officers who were involved. wereted to make sure they comfortable with the language being used. internalhave been that interagency process that been resulted in the intelligence community assessment.
that is the traditional way that these assessments are drafted, coordinated and published. if there was other evidence that indicated contrary, should that have been listed, or not? mr. brennan: you are dealing with a lot of information when you put together an intelligence assessment. it comes down to a distillation process. as you know, there were two products that were produced. the unclassified version and a highly classified version. the attempt was to try to include in the highly classified version, all of the relevant and pertinent information that needed to be in their in order to undergird the judgments contained. it was a hundred percent of all of the information available put in it? no, but it was taken into account. decisions had been made about it, but i am unaware that any was intentionally excluded
because of intelligence that was, for some reason one of the agencies did not want in their for a reason that was not a very legitimate intelligence reason. >> we can discuss that in executive session. brennan, last time we talked about it, the inception of your investigation in 2016, i want the next question to include the inception, dependency up until your very last day at this eia. did you see evidence -- cia. did you see evidence of conspiracy between donald trump and russian state actors? mr. brennan: i sought information intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not that cooperation of conclusion was taking place. >> that does not help us a lot.
what was the in from it -- than nature of the information? mr. brennan: i think this committee has access to this information. it is classified and i am happy to toss -- talk about in classified session. >> that would have been directly between the candidate and russian state actors? that was my question. you answered it, you did not answer it that way. responded to your qwerty. i will not respond to particular elements of your question because it would be inappropriate for me to do so. i saidnly repeat what which is i was aware of intelligent information about contacts between russian officials and u.s. persons that raise concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals work while operating with the russians, either in a witting or unwitting fact are. that serves as a basis for the fbi investigation to determine whether such collusion of cooperation occurred. >> there are a bunch of words
floating around. i ask you about collusion, and conspiracy and use the word contact. i think in a previous answer, you did a really good job of us that pushing the contact could be benign or not benign. was it contact that you saw, was it something more than contact? what is the nature of what you saw? mr. brennan: i saw interaction. my mindd questions in about what was the true nature of it. i do not know. i do not have sufficient relation to make a determination of whether or not such cooperation, or complicity, or collusion was taking place. i know there was a basis to have individuals hold those threads. >> i don't want to put words in your mouth, but you saw something that led you to refer to law enforcement. in your judgment it is up to law enforcement to test, pro, cooperate, contradict, otherwise
investigate the full nature of that information you passed on? not this yetit is i is job to make a determination about whether a u.s. person is cooperating, colluding or whatever in some type of illegal matter. it is our responsibility to give the bureau everything they need in order to follow that path and make a determination and recommendation if they want to press charges. >> we will pick it up next time. >> will come director brennan. holding on the question that my colleague talked with you about, i would like to ask you some more specifics about russia attacking us and how their attacks, specifically cause us to doubt our own credibility as american. i would like to talk about truth and what it means to between full to your country if you're in a position of power. putin firstn -- within russia, then against us
working to undermine truth, and how exactly has he done that? andbrennan: mr. putin russian intelligence services are determined to do with they can't influence in a very inappropriate and illegal way. activities within democracies to undermine the western liberal democratic order. they do that on a regular basis. they see that as western democracy as a threat. is why the cyber domain right now is a growing playground for russian activities. they will use that and exploit it wherever they can't. they have been involved in elections for many years. putin tried to influence the ones in the united these were propaganda. the cyber environments provide new opportunity to collect, to influence, and they are increasingly at that data. -- a depth at it. >> he said they will do it again.
bic unclassified assessment said that. has there been any blowback or to russia for their inner friends and our election, and most importantly, what would you do to try to prevent that happening in future elections? i. brennan: first of all, think exposure is very important to make sure we are able to confront the russians to make sure partners and allies in other countries around the globe are aware of this type of rushing capability. think too important i have the russians incur cost per not just in terms of represented -- not just in terms of damage, but actions that this government and other government should take against the russians when they are caught in those types of activity. is --linked to our -- it to our democratic values and we have to push back on it. >> have you seen the trump administration do anything to push back?
i know that you are no longer the director, but have you seen any indication that we are trying to punish or stop the russians from doing this again? could bean: there things going on behind the scenes. we were doing things to try to counter russian and jimmy's. we took actions in january and the last days of the administration. a number of russian officials here are trying to clamp down on their intelligent activities. maybe the current administration is doing the same thing. -- moreou talk about about russia's disinformation campaign and what tools the russians used to do that? mr. brennan: they use all sorts of tools. controle been able to various media outlets. they use our tv in the united states that has a fairly significant audience.
--y use individuals who have who are writers or publishers, editorialists. again, some of this is very obvious to those who are involved because they are on the payrolls. i am talking globally. there on the payrolls of russian intelligence so they place pieces that advance russia's interest. >> i just want to go back to what i was trying to say, which is about getting to the truth. i cannot emphasize enough how damaging this information campaign is to it tells me that there are those in this country similarpracticing practices. attacking truth, calling disagreeable facts fake news and attacking the messenger rather than confronting the message that the russians are trying to get us to believe. it it iserse, deshambault and deny. these are pollutants tactics
that we are seeing an increasing in america. in other words, truth is being replaced by trust. either you trust this new source, even if it is not objectively true. we cannot all agree on a common set of facts. that is a big problem that i believe is leading to the divide we are seeing in the country. our national security has never been as partisan as it is now. i think that the truth is, they interfered in our election, and the truth is the american people want to get to the bottom of it. a electedis, we as officials, and on this committee should be doing all we can to make sure we find out how they did it. we make sure we know who helped them do it. and that we also get to the bottom of making sure it doesn't happen again. my last question to you is, do you believe that -- one of the things you talked about was exploit. he said even though the election
andver, who in an -- putin russians are still explaining that what did you mean by that? mr. brennan: this is been a pattern by russian services to try to take advantage of the openness of western societies. free press and other things, and findical party systems to opportunities and vulnerabilities that they can use to advance their interest. they will continue to do this. they are probably taking lessons from this past six grams. i do not believe this will make -- from this past experience. i do not believe it will stop them from engaging in these things. i think it will further refine their tactics of they could be successful in the future. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. being hit today director brennan. i have a number of questions i know in an open setting you will not be able to answer. i am looking forward to the
closed setting. can answerxtent you in this setting, what the elements of russian active elements in the campaign were. be any more specific than your answer with her about what they were doing, what you saw? mr. brennan: they are all chronicled in the assessment, it is very clear that the glu was responsible for hacking in to and wererks of the d&c responsible for a cut out and releasing it to places like this afford 2.0, wikileaks and others. they were taking advantage of information they had collect that they determined if it was publicly released would advance their object is -- objectives. they amplified a lot of fake news stories that try to denigrate secretary clinton. it was a mixture of propaganda. and itcyber collection
was the release of information that was seen as damaging to one of the candidates that they were trying to learn. a moment ago that you do not believe they will be deterred from engaging in activity like this in the future. you think they would attempt to influence the 2018 midterm elections? have,ennan: i unfortunately respect for russian intelligence capabilities. aggressiveness, their pervasiveness, and their determination to do with the can to undermine this country's democracy and democratic is to shins, as well as those, certainly in europe and other areas. i believe they will try to exploit elections, but they will not wait until elections. we know they are aggressively collecting and trying to
evaluate individuals of who may not. government or the russian intelligence threat is a serious one. this is just one manifest nation of that threat. tenure of cia director, did you have the resources necessary to conduct what you needed to with -- as it pertained to the russians? mr. brennan: i had resource and -- resources and authorities that allowed us to do certain things. i think this is something that we could talk about any classified setting. classifiedto go to setting, i understand, but were there additional suggestions that you would give to this intelligence committee of what we should be doing proactively to enable, not just the cia, but the fbi and ennis a for future
meddling? mr. brennan: sure. >> ok. , dod on what happened here you think there are ways that we can assist our allies in ng what the thwarti russians are doing? i think if one of us is successful, more of a successful. mr. brennan: it is a commendation of things and i have to be careful in an open setting. certainly, sharing information and making sure they are aware of the tech weeks, tax text, procedures and the partition is that the russians use is very important. to work inbe able joint operations together so that we can expose russian actors in a variety of places. i know my former colleagues who are still in the intelligence community are working very closely with a lot of services to do exactly that and to catch
the russians in their efforts to undermine democratic institutions. we need to continue to do that and do more of it. i am not sure if you can answer in this setting, but while we focus on russia, the of indication there is collusion with russia with other state actors, iranians, north koreans to metal against us -- meddle against us? mr. brennan: i do not believe they were partnered with other countries and this most recent effort to undermine the election. >> you believe other countries were involved -- involved in attempting to mess with us? umm, i would have to figure about that. i will talk to about that in closed session. german -- >> chairman's time has expired. andhank you mr. chairman
take you director for your service to our country. desireed about putin's to weaken our democracy from the inside out. i want to show how our democracy by then undermined professionals. in our 240 years, america has spent a lot of lead and treasure to make the world safe for democracy. to work to ensure that at home and abroad a diplomatic intelligence and military professionals have been at the forefront of that effort. the reason we have succeeded and were tires lead to promote -- tirelessly to promote democratic values because it helps us to prevent war. those professionals is helped advance the cause of freedom and help enable economic opportunities. in your mind, does he want us to be successful, and does he want to see democracy drive around the world/ i would imagine -- a world?
i would imagine he does it. how would our intelligent professional support america's missions to protect america from wars and maintain global stability? mr. brennan: we are the nations forward the port radar. we are the ones that need to make sure we understand what is going on, but also what is underway in the future. we need to make sure we are able to us us our capabilities and intention of foreign actors. if they try to do us harm, as well is to support our diplomatic efforts, our war fighters and homeland security specialist and others. the foreign intelligence i see ic community has an enormous task to cover the globe, frequently in places where they are in harms way, that also in other places where the threats u.s. national security is much
less obvious, much more insidious and sometimes much more threatening. therefore our nation's intelligence professional really have a lot on our shoulders as far as keeping this country safe and secure. >> director brennan, do you believe that putin and the kremlin would like to see us -- our capabilities? arebrennan: they know we their principal nemesis. we are the reason a have not been successful in many areas that we have been able to undermine them. not are capable, i would suggest for one moment that the u.s. intelligence community has not been very successful in preventing and thwarting russian activities. >> jim mattis thinks you know the to both the spear. he said himself in 2013, if you do not fully fund the state department, i need to buy more ammunition.
of awe see proposed cuts third to the state department, a third to the entire budget, their entire budget and the announcement that we, the united it's of america can no longer champion human rights around the world, we are concerned with efforts to undercut our intelligence professionals, comparing them at times to not these. comments by our own leaders. let vladimir putin continue to undermine us by doing exactly what he wants us to do. generations of intelligence, diplomatic send military professionals are fought for our independent of democracy around the world. , neither do the rest of us, we cannot let their important work proved to be nothing. i thank you for your service to our nation. i yield back. >> mr. rooney, five minutes. -- -- >> i have been up
to the agency and i look forward to talking about the information in our close session. i want to mention something we talked with admiral rodgers and -- tomey or in our last open sessions ago in the house intelligence committee. it is one that got a lot of hooplah on tv with our site at the i'll try to make a dessert -- the version of what leaks do with our intelligence community. i want to ask if you agree with mr. rogers that when high-level community officials -- i think some news reports had almost 20 people leaking classified information to the press. if you agree with admiral rodgers that that kind of our lady to have to reauthorize things like 702
so we can gather intelligence on that guys for political purposes , if you agree that that kind of activity hurts our national security? mr. brennan: i think the unauthorized disclosure -- disclosure compromises our intelligence capabilities and needs to be investigated and needs to stop. with regard to more specific questions, with regards to hacking, when did you learn of the russian hacking in the last election cycle/ roughly? mr. brennan: in the summer. >> did you at that time notify did somebodys, or at the agency -- or are you aware that both campaigns were notified that there was an effort by the russians to hack in tried it influence the political campaign of last year? were that both
campaigns are being contacted and notified about it. you said that you believe there was information of contact between people in the trump universe and moscow, whether or not that was collusion or not remains seen. you said you do not know if it was actual collusion. i think your words were, i do not know. can you tell us whether or not, from the information you have it looks like the intelligence shows that moscow was actually rooting for donald trump, or were they rooting against hillary clinton? and why? mr. brennan: my assessment is it was both. i think that at different times in the campaign they felt that the fortunes of one candidate or the other was going up or down. i think that most of the time they believe secretary clinton was going to win the election. their efforts to denigrate her were not just to try to diminish
her chances, but also to hurt .er also, as my assessment, they clearly had a more favorable view towards mr. trump and actions they were taken were trying to increase his prospects, even though they probably felt as though they were not all that great. >> why? why did they want him and not her? mr. brennan: a variety of reasons. one is the traditional animus between mr. putin and secretary clinton, as well as there has not been a good relationship between the putin's and the clintons over the years. secretary clinton with some of fractions of secretary of state led to some domestic disturbances inside of russia. i think you was more concerned that she was going to be more rigid on certain issues, particularly on human rights. >> what was donald trump going
to do for them? or was it just that they did not like hillary? mr. brennan: they felt that, mr. outsider, that they had, in the past had good relations with is this man who happened to elevate positions of govern authority. they felt as though from a negotiating standpoint -- >> if that is true, one of the questions that i have, and this might be more appropriate for close --, but if that is true, review of theyour evidence, was there more damaging evidence of secretary clinton that was not revealed? if it wasn't revealed, what is that the about the russian ability to be actually rooting for her to win? mr. brennan: we can talk about in closed i think the anticipated that secretary clinton would win the election. i believe they tried to damage
her before the election. also, i would have anticipated that, had she been elected, that their efforts to denigrate her and hurt her would have continued during her presidency. if they did collect more information about her that they did not release, i think they were probably holding it for another day. >> chairman yields back. thank you mr. chairman. thank you director brennan for your service. i would like to spend some time talking about the out size -- outside roles of the russian in terms ofayed supporting the russian government. that theen said russians want to cultivate a u.s. person, they will do it over a long period of time. is that your experience?
mr. brennan: a lot depends on the u.s. person and their willingness to work with the russians. >> were you aware that they were trying to cultivate then real estate director donald trump? mr. brennan: i will not talk about any individuals. >> are they -- are russian oligarchs encouraged to invest in the united dates/ ?- united states by putin mr. brennan: there are tremendous investment opportunities in the united dates. i think mr. putin would like to see more involvement, so yes. investment, russian is there an expectation that they are going to provide information to president putin about what is going on in the united dates -- united states? mr. brennan: i would fully think that the russian oligarchs are tapped for russian information. >> were any of the oligarchs
investing in u.s. properties by then real estate trump? mr. brennan: i do not know the answer. are you aware that in 2015 alone there were 106 visas granted to russians for investing in the united states in amounts of money is a $500,000 or more, they are called eb five visas? mr. brennan: i am unaware. >> within the cia you did not investigate those who were granted eb five visas? mr. brennan: if they come across our screens they may have intelligence, but i'm not aware of a lot of information that the cia collect it. date,2014, the united european union and canada imposed sanctions on russia in response to their invasion of ukraine and crimea. the sanctions greatly restricted the flow of private money to the russian government and business leaders. how much pain do you think those
sanctions have caused russia? mr. brennan: i think it has been increasingly painful and i think that one of mr. putin's priorities has been to try to get those sanctions reduced. his strategy is getting european from the to separate u.s. led sanction efforts. that is why i think there is part of the effort they were trying to drive a wedge between europe and washington, and some of the unfavorable characterizations of secretary clinton indicated that she was an unreliable leader and that there would be problems with europe. it is part of a broader russian strategy. i think mr. putin wants sanctions removed sooner rather than later. >> so that is one of his top policy objectives with the united states? mr. brennan: it is a key one, but is is more dealing with us indirect lee -- indirectly. igor, who was the ceo of
rosner, then wreck tillerson, the ceo of exxon mobil were doing a deal in russia that was about a billion dollars. the sanctions that were imposed in 2014 shut that down, is that correct? mr. brennan: i believe so, i am not sure. again, it would make the case that the impacts on russia are great in terms of the sanctions. let me ask you another question. there have been reports in newspapers that british and dutch intelligence have provided information about meeting in european cities between russian officials associated with president putin and associates of the trump campaign. is that how you first find out about those meetings?
mr. brennan: i'm not going to talk about anything they might of shared with us. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you mr. brennan for being here. because of your long history with the agency, i think you are the perfect expert to give us some historical perspective on how long russia has been at this active measure campaign. how long would you say that russia and the soviet union sought to undermine the process of our democratic framework here in the west? mr. brennan: for many, many decades. >> for decades. and did russia attempt to let intelligence on specific u.s. candidates, or target political parties or organizations in the united states before 2016, or was it more of a general campaign?
mr. brennan: i would defer to the bureau which would have the investigative lead as to what would be happening here on u.s. soil. but i know the russians tried to cultivate relationships with individuals. i would refer to the bureau. >> thank you. can you provide any examples of past russian or soviet active measures as they are called? mr. brennan: it runs the gamut from targeted assassinations of dissidents, of members of the media, inside of russia as well as outside of russia. it runs to getting people on their payroll in foreign governments to carry out there actions. their efforts in ukraine, not
just the military takeover of crimea but there basic intervention in the eastern ukraine with their intelligence and paramilitary services. to the active propagation of propaganda and disinformation as they tried to besmirch and punish individuals. as well as the use of blackmail. that they would be able to then leverage for their own purposes. so it really does run the gamut from the most heinous and violent to that which is more subtle insidious. >> the scope is alarming. how does the kremlin's attempt to influence this previous election compared to soviet active measures during the cold war? what has changed? mr. brennan: i think when we talk about u.s. presidential elections and we know the russians were trying to influence outcomes as well as perceptions back to the 1960's i
believe. but again, the cyber environment now really provide so much more opportunity for a variety of troublemaking. and, the russians take advantage of it. so the ability to go in and collect and use different types of techniques. spearfishing, whatever also they can gain access to emails, computer systems, networks, it is something that the russians are quite adept at and what we've seen recently is a collaboration between russian intelligence services and organized criminals. i think it was in march the department of justice they indicted to individuals, to members of the fcc, and to well-known organized criminal hackers because of the religion of the yahoo! servers and that collaboration between russian intelligence and organized crime is more of the concern so they can promote their respective interests and this is something
i think the russians are looking for new opportunities to partner with whomever they can in order to do what they want to do. >> as a young analyst, you probably had a lot of dealings with the head of the kgb in the early 1980's. he was very focused on this active measure campaign. mr. brennan: as a young analyst, i would not have direct involvement but i studied over the years and i have seen it manifest in many different counterintelligence cases and how they have been able to get people, including inside of the cia, to become treasonous. and individuals who go along a treasonous path often do not even realize they are along that treasonous path until it is too late. that is much -- that is why my radar goes up early when i see certain things that i know the russians are trying to do and i
do not know whether or not the targets of their efforts are as mindful of the russian intentions as they need to be. >> thank you for your service. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you director, for your service. you said you became aware of u.s. persons interactions with the russians and you have mentioned your radar going up. as part of that who the russians were that were meeting? mr. brennan: i'm sorry? >> was part of your concern not just the interact jens but would -- interactions, but with a were? mr. brennan: yes, it was on both sides. the names of the contacts and the communiques. >> it's not just the fact that they met? mr. brennan: right. >> i want to make sure i have your words correctly, you knew that meant there was a basis of these threats. can you elaborate on what that means generally? mr. brennan: well, frequently, and even totally divorced from
the election issue, if there are russian, it known russian officers, who seem to be cultivating contacts with u.s. persons and there are reasons for cia or others to be concerned about what is happening there, we would make sure the bureau is aware. we would not know what those follow investigation steps were because of appropriate privacy, and civil rights of the u.s. persons. but the bureau has the primary responsibility on u.s. soil to follow its counterintelligence leads wherever they make up. cia has very unique counterintelligence authority as well and we have a unique collection of authorities that make us the closest partner with the bureau in this matter because we have the intelligence liaison relationship with our foreign services, clandestine collection responsibilities. we have all kinds of abilities.
the best analyst in the u.s. government bar none. that combination is able to give the bureau what they need and that is why any type of suspicion we had that something may be afoot, and not just the russian, other foreign services as well. we make sure the bureau is fully apprised of that and that is why we have f the i agent serving inside of the intelligence. >> switching topics here. they mentioned the sanctions and how they are impacting the russians. you talked about how the russians are attempting to avoid these sanctions and getting aid from others. they often use money laundering, correct? mr. brennan: yes, they do. >> can you indicate how extensive that is and where they are doing it, primarily? mr. brennan: i would refer to experts and the cia from the treasury and others. money laundering is a
long-practiced effort on the part of fresh and others as well as russian intelligence services in order to cover their tracks and carry out there illegal, illicit, and moral activities. >> avoiding taxes? mr. brennan: avoiding any number of problems for them and they have become very adept over the years that money laundering. >> are you familiar with which reticular country or countries are involved with money laundering? mr. brennan: i am aware of some but i would defer to the agency to identify them. they use banking institutions in a number of countries. a lot of times what they are doing is unbeknownst to the governments. so, there are a number of financial centers around the world that the russians have
become quite active in. >> i agree the home country may not be aware and probably is not aware of all that is taking place but you would certainly be aware and concerned if there were u.s. persons involved with those institutions, correct? mr. brennan: anything we might uncover we would make sure the bureau and treasury and others were aware. they are the ones that need to follow up on whether or not there is criminal activity. >> and were you concerned with cyprus and financial institutions there? mr. brennan: i think it is a well-known fact there is a large russian president, a large business interest, a large financial interest of russia and cyprus so any type of involvement of u.s. persons or companies, it would be the responsibility of the fbi and other u.s. agencies, not cia to follow up on that. >> if a u.s. president asked any intel professional not to proceed in an investigation, would you consider that an obstruction? mr. brennan: i do not have the legal basis to determine what
constitutes as of structural justice. >> how would you react if the president asked you not to pursue investigation? mr. brennan: i have never been asked that and certainly not what i follow it if were asked. >> i yield back. >> turning back to the exchange you had with mr. gowdy. you stated -- and by the way, want to thank you as others have for the specificity you provide us. these are difficult issues and concepts. different standards, intelligent assessments, evidence. we have the fbi, the cia, each of you do different jobs and your expertise is helpful to us to unwind elements of this. what we are looking at and what it means. as we try to move forward the -- with the investigation. you indicated that you saw, when asked about whether or not you as seen evidence of collusion or
collaboration, you said that you saw intelligence that indicated there had been contacts with individuals, with russians, that were of a nature that bore investigation. you said that those contacts might have been benign. might not have been. but they rose to the level of indicating to be reviewed for their nature and possible investigation. did i characterize that correctly? mr. brennan: yes. but i don't want to take this out of context. we see interactions between u.s. officials and russian officials all the time. it is when it is in a context that there is something else going on. we know at the time the russians were involved with possibly interfering in the election. so with that backdrop, seeing these types of contacts and interactions during the same time raised my consent. -- concern. >> excellent. i appreciate that qualification.
if someone left this hearing today and said you had indicated that those contacts were evidence of collusion or collaboration, they would be misrepresenting, correct? mr. brennan: they would've misheard my response to the good question asked. i am trying to be responsible in terms of what i know, what i have assessed, and what i say? >> you would say that the misrepresentation of your statement? mr. brennan: absolutely. thought what you saw, and only what you saw with respect to those contacts, if they looked at the intelligence you saw where you said it might have in depth -- but nine or might not have been benign, then they characterize what they saw as having been evidence of collusion or collaboration, they would be misrepresenting the intelligence, with they not? mr. brennan: i do not know what else they have seen which could corroborate.
>> if they only saw what you saw, they would be misrepresenting the intelligence, correct? mr. brennan: i presume they would be misrepresenting what it is that i saw. again, i do not know -- >> i appreciate because i do and i believe there are those -- >> i appreciate because i do believe there are members of this and many that deserve that counsel because your specificity gives us an example of what we are reviewing. i believe there are those who have reviewed what you have seen and present them to the public incorrectly and misrepresented or it -- miss represent it. i would like to yield the remainder of my time to mr. gowdy. mr. gowdy: sorry, i was colluding with my friend from florida. i want to big up where -- well, what to do this. the last time we talked, you had referred information to the bureau, am i right? what you had seen, you referred
to the bureau. mr. brennan: ok. i don't know of that was the last thing we talked about but i will grant you -- mr. gowdy: one of the last. it was not a trick question but one of the last thing she referred to the bureau what you saw. is that correct? did you also refer to director clapper? not everything. >> why would that be? mr. brennan: because on counterintelligence matters dealing with u.s. personnel information of a very sensitive nature of the dni does not have that type of operational responsibility. what we tried to do was make sure there is as little exposure of that information as possible. i would keep general clapper informed about the nature of my engagements, but the materials that were shared with the bureau would not have been shared with the dni. mr. gowdy: do you know when the
-- do you know if the bureau opened a matter? when did you refer that information to the bureau? mr. brennan: it was during the summertime. there were ongoing sharing of information with the bureau. it was over the course of the year. to -- sometime in the summer you shared the information with the f the i , mr. comey. sometimes there was information that was shared with the bureau, but it was not the only period of time it was shared. >> five minutes. >> thank you chair, thank you, director. since you pa ss that information to the fbi, director, have you reviewed the fbi's development of that evidence or any evidence? mr. brennan: i'm unaware of what the bureau has then with that information and have no
knowledge of anything that the agency has done since january 20. >> are you aware of what the bureau has briefed this committee with respect to evidence of collusion? mr. brennan: i watched jim comey, and his comments, and i have run through his transcripts. i am aware of it, yes. >> are you aware of what the fbi has briefed this to be in a classified scheme? -- classified setting. mr. brennan: no, i'm not. may 10 -- >> may 10 of this year produced an unsettling image inside the oval office. president trump standing and laughing with russia's ambassador laugher of. it's been further reported that president trump shared highly sensitive code word information with russia, putting at risk u.s. lives and jeopardizing sources and methods. director, are the russians worthy of receiving such information in the manner alleged? mr. brennan: i believe it's important for the u.s. intelligence to provide to any
of our foreign partners any information related to terrorist threats, to foreign countries or their citizens. and that's why i authorize the position of classified information numerous times to the russians that saved russian lives. as i mentioned, there is an appropriate manner and procedure for doing that. they need to be followed scrupulously so there's not going to be an undermining of those collection capabilities and systems. >> director, you warn there would be consequences if they meddled in our elections. when you look at that picture and the manner in which allegedly classified information was conveyed to the russians, do you see consequences for their actions? mr. brennan: again, i don't know the totality of the actions that have been taken against the russians. i know the obama administration in january took actions against them. so, i believe that depending on how this investigation proceeds,
by the fbi and special counsel as well as the work of the committees, and i agree the appointment of special counsel should not stop these committees -- you are supposed to be looking at what we need to do to strengthen our system so we are better prepared. i believe the consequences need to be levied on the russians for it, but i would defer to policymakers in congress to decide that. >> with respect to the contact between russia and trump campaign persons you referenced earlier, and whether they were innocent or benign contacts, when you see a multiplicity of contacts between one country and one campaign, when does it in your mind when you decide
>> i don't know if it is whether it is a result of better collection or contacts. ado not have a basis to make comment on that. >> thank you for the inherent today and for your candor in this conversation. giveyou ever been asked to ?our opinion you said there is fbi engaged with cia and i don't know if they ask your opinion? >> we would make a referral to the department of justice when we saw classified information a pair in the public in an unauthorized fashion. whether ordetermine not there should be a follow-up
investigation and the fbi takes a look at the circumstances so that would be the referral you make. pretty much an established the russians, soviet union, have tried to meddle with error elections -- metal with eddle with our relationships for years. establish to relationships. you said you are trying to look out for these relationships. figure this out, what kind of conversation do you hear that makes you think, we itd to look at this or refer on. i can't help but look at the previous election when we hear , this is myama say
last election and president medvedev says i understand. informationfer this to vladimir and i stand with you. i stand with you, that is strong. this is an influential relationship and we are talking about americans. i am not trying to launch another investigation but i am trying to understand this. a pretty disturbing image i think a lot of americans, what kind of relationship. would you question this interaction or that type of conversation taking place. i am trying to understand process of how it moves from the cia to the fbi to the doj. kinds that was a direct conversation between two heads of state, i'm not going to respond. thanks i'm trying to get some .nderstanding
what sets off a red flag? when do you referred to law enforcement? i know you were not the director at the time but that hits everything you talked about in the playbook. elections, building a relationship. i stand by. trying to get to the substance there. that is interesting you can't respond to a personal conversation but this is what we are talking about. i yield back. mr. brennan: i try to avoid being involved in partisan political issues. i just will not answer that question. >> thank you. with that, i yield the remainder of my time. >> congressman rooney and you were discussing generally the motive, and i think -- let's assume it's given -- that the russians do not elect -- clinton, did not
like president obama, for that matter, and desired negative things for her. but they also died she was going to win. was it your testimony that all of the information stolen was not publicly disseminated? mr. brennan: no, i said if they collected additional information as was implied, that the efforts to try to further hurt her if she became president, that information, any type of derogatory information about her would have been husbanded for the postelection period. , that information, any type of derogatory information about her would have been husbanded for the postelection period. >> do you know if negative information was husbanded and not disseminated? mr. brennan: there would be inappropriate to talk about in open session like this. >> is it inappropriate to answer yes or no, whether or not the information was husband or not disseminated? mr. brennan: i request would be
that we can talk about that enclosed session. >> i will honor your request and we will talk about it in a little bit. over the course of the last several months, the intelligence agencies have been paraded by the president for the possibility of leaks. are you aware of his tweets, other criticisms he's made about leaking to intelligence agencies? mr. brennan: there have been a number of allegations. >> are you aware of the story that came out yesterday that said, quote, three white house officials have been identified for leaking acid fight info. -- classified info. potus will fire multiple people upon return to d.c. mr. brennan: i'm unaware. at if the story is true, th there may have been people who leaked classified information at the white house -- it seems like an obvious question.
are there people at the white house that would have classified information they could leak to journalists? >> white house officials, if they have the appropriate security clearances waste on their position, they would have access to classified information. mr. brennan: o: -- >> if the white house determines leaks are coming from inside their operation, how would they go about determining that? if there is a sense that there are unauthorized disclosures of classified information from within the white house, i think it's imperative that the fbi be brought into the matter so there can be an appropriate investigation to determine whether or not the conduct was criminal or not, and there shouldn't be just an independent investigation that takes place. they can do some efforts to try to contain any hemorrhaging of the information, but it really
is the responsibility of law enforcement and the bureau to investigate criminal leaks of classified information. >> i have some questions about the i.c. investment itself and the declassified report. there's been a lot of disinformation and confusion about the intelligence assessment. so, mr. brenna, when did the i.c. start warning about the russian threat, and how was the assessment produced? do you believe the pope -- people working on it had the requisite skills and expertise to write such an important assessment? mr. brennan: the intelligence community assessment that was produced in early january was initiated by president obama in early december to ensure that there was going to be a full accounting of russian activities. and, directed that there be classified, unclassified version of that. the effort to uncover the russian activities took place
prior to that, and in both instances, i believe that the right people with the requisite involved inlls were the initial collection effort, and assessment effort of russian activities, up to and even in the aftermath of the election in there wasand then, additional individuals who were added to that group that could draft that assessment so it could be produced in early january. how and why did all three agencies come was such a high degree of confidence about their assessment? mr. brennan: i think they rigorously interrogated the deep very careful, and discussions about what the data told them about their assessments, and so therefore there was a unanimous consensus among the three agencies about the judgments. there was one variation as far as the nsa's confidence level in
terms of the russian advocacy for mr. trump, but without lone -- with that lone exception, it was a consensus assessment. >> the report also talked extensively about the role of wikileaks in working with russia on this covert action campaign. can you talk more about how they fit? mr. brennan: the assessment says the russians used a cut-out for the wiki leaks exposure, and when you look at the wikileaks releases over time, you can see that sometimes they are timed to coincide with certain events and they are always intended to undermine u.s. national security. russian protests that they are not working with wikileaks, and wikileaks protest not working with the russians, on both parts are disingenuous. >> back to the leaking at the white house, potential leaking. withsurveillance methods
the president or the white house have authorization to engage in on its own staffers that would be legal, and where might they cross the line? mr. brennan: i'm not a lawyer. you have to go to the department of justice and fbi in terms of what statutory authority say might have -- authorities they might have. >> mr. stewart, five minutes. i'm going to go very quickly because i want to reserve as much time as i can for our task force and attorneys. i want to go through and make one point. before i do, i'm just going to thethat i reviewed intelligence regarding the analysis of whether they preferred mr. trump. i don't agree that it is such a high level of confidence. i just think there should have been allowances made for some of the ambiguity in that, and especially for those who didn't also share in the conclusion
that it was a high degree of confidence. having said that, i do think we can agree that russia wants a weekend u.s. president. president. u.s. would you agree with that? mr. brennan: yes. >> said their primary goal seems to be to weaken ms. clinton's candidacy. with the same thing be true now? would russia want a weakened u.s. president, mr. trump? mr. brennan: i think they want u.s. able to weaken policies, especially on the international stage. i do think there is an interest in the part of the russians to improve relations with the united states. i think it's important that relations between washington and moscow be improved. >> they would want that on their terms as much as able and i would be better accomplished by having a weakened u.s. pre sident. wouldn't you say that's true? mr. brennan: one can argue the
point that a stronger president is able to have an accommodation with russia out of strength as opposed to out of weakness. >> i would agree with you that there are some circumstances. in general, a weakend u.s., a weakened western influence in the world and a weakened u.s. president is in their interest. these active measures to propaganda, false news reports, they don't and with the u.s. election. it's appropriate that we would warn the american people that these active measures, propaganda, fake news stories, etc., would be applicable today as well, and that they would be trying to weaken our u.s. presid ent and trying to weaken for leaders as well. would you agree with that? mr. brennan: yes. >> with that, yield the remainder of my time. >> director brennan, why is it important to protect the
identity of u.s. persons as part of our surveillance programs? is arennan: because there right of all americans to privacy, and that sometimes information is collected about u.s. persons who may or may not be involved in any manner of criminal activity. and therefore, respecting the privacy of u.s. citizens. the intel community goes to great lengths to cover the identities of u.s. persons if they happen to be included in an intelligence collection. >> for all those reasons and others -- we are not talking about leaks. we are talking about masking within the intelligence community, right? we are not talking about reading it on the front page of the newspaper's. we are talking about prohibitions that you place on yourself with respect to identifying u.s. persons as part of our surveillance programs,
right? mr. brennan: correct. >> you decided some of the very important reasons that we do that, and i would assume that there is a process, a protocol under which the intelligence community goes through if they seek to unmask a u.s. person's name? mr. brennan: that's correct. >> have you ever requested that a u.s. person's name the unmasked? -- be unmasked? mr. brennan: yes. >> have you approved or denied request of others that a u.s. person's name be unmasked? mr. brennan: i don't recall in my tenure at cia any decision on unmasking for someone else coming up to my level. that decision would have been made at a lower level within the agency. are you aware of any requests within the community that were denied? i didn't have visibility to requests that were being made across the government, so i don't recall
one that i was denied. >> do you recall any u.s. ambassadors asking the names be unmasked? i don't know. maybe it's bringing a vague bell. i cannot answer with any confidence. >> do you remember when your last day on the job was with the cia? mr. brennan: noon on january 20 when i gave up my responsibilities as director of cia. >> on january 19 or up until noon on january 20, did you make any unmasking requests? mr. brennan: i do not believe i did. >> so you did not make any requests on the last day that you were employed? mr. brennan: no, i was not in the agency on the last day i was employed. the last day i was employed i definitely did not make such a request. >> thank you, director.
>> director brennan, thanks for being here. i want to freely confess to you there is an element to this russian investigation with which i have struggled, and it is this. how do i explain why this should matter and why people should care? i use to explain this to folks who have a lot of other things on their mind, things like their kids, keeping their job, managing their debt, caring for an elderly parent? why should people care that the russians hacked into our computers and then selectively disclose that information with the express purpose of swaying the election? why should they care the russians are doing this, in other western democracies, and will continue to do so? that is the precise question i actually put to then-director comey and admiral rodgers when they were with us in march. i now pose it to you, sir.
not for my sake, but america's sake. as someone who devoted your entire life to public service, and your own words, please tell my constituents, my neighbors, why they should care. not just here in washington, d.c., but in washington state and texas and connecticut and points in between, why should they care? why do you care, sir? mr. brennan: for the last 241 years, this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty this country was founded upon. many brave americans over the years have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty. they've lost their lives also to protect the freedom and liberties of other countries and other people around the world. our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is, i believe, an inalienable right we must protect with all our resources and authority and power.
so, therefore, i believe this is something that's critically important to every american. it's very important to me for my children and grandchildren to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere in the foundation stone of this country, which is leaning on democratic leaders. >> in other words, because you love your country. mr. brennan: that's the cliff note version of it. >> i believe much is at stake here, including the following, whether america will have elections we can trust that our continuing measures of self-determination free from foreign interference, whether we
will smartly arm ourselves against any future such digital invasion, whether we are strong enough to make good on the promise to be a nation of rule by law, whether we will hold those accountable who seek to abrade our cherished institutions, whether we will stand up for democracy, or enable this insidious autocracy, much is at stake. no one should be misled because this isn't just about russia. it's about us, and our medal. the famous american diplomat george cannon said at the outset of the cold war, much depends on the health and vigor of our own society. indeed it does. we are being tested. we are divided. we've gone to our respective corers and claimed our own set of facts. anger has become the currency of our discourse. reason has been replaced -- do
you know what? people also yearn for a re-affirmation of the value narrative of america, which is the very thing that makes us great. that's what i hear when i'm home, whether i'm playing cards with my buddies or out to a movie with my wife are having coffee at church. and do you know why americans yearn for this? it's because it's what makes it possible for us to be for something bigger than ourselves. whathat is pecrecisely america is hoping, if not counting on us, on this dais, to do. to be for something bigger than ourselves, and put our country above party. i pray that's what we will do. thank you, sir, for your decades of service and your presence here today.
>> mr. crawford, five minutes. >> i will yield to the gentleman from south carolina. >> think my friend from arkansas. director brennan, do you know the commission -- mr. brennan: i don't. fbi paid know if the for any portion of the steel dossier? mr. brennan: i don't know. there are press reports related to that, but i don't know. >> do you know whether any of the underlying allegations made for ever tested, probed, examined, cross examined, whether the sources were examined for liability, credit ability --reliability, credibility? mr. brennan: i know there were efforts made by the bureau to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that was valid, but i don't have any firsthand knowledge of it. mr. brennan: do you know -- >> do you know if a still
dossier was relied on as a part of court filings, applications peladings? -- peladings? -- pleadings? mr. brennan: i have no awareness. >> did the cia rely on it? mr. brennan: no. >> why not? mr. brennan: it wasn't part of the corpus of intelligence information we had. he was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done. it was not. waitedpe i have sufficiently long enough to ask you about leaks. we will just do it last.
>> do you agree there is a tacit agreement between the american people and their government that they will allow us certain powers and freedoms in exchange for safeguarding the privacy of the information collected? >> i think there is certainly an expectation that would be a protection of privacy as the government carries out its responsibilities. >> and you and i discussed some of those writers see can -- privacy concerns. you have been very clear this morning. i noted the times you said u.s. persons. you could have inserted a name but you did not. you had the discipline to say u.s. persons. and that discipline is practiced unless and until there is a request to unmask that person's name, correct? >> i would like to think that discipline is still exercised
even if a request to unmask a name is net -- is made. >> we protect u.s. persons even if fever like -- even if people like we trust with awesome powers, we still impose some restrictions on them and that the has to assume to be a justification. woke up andst say i i need to know. there has to be justification. >> yes. >> so how do we get from that namesmes -- from that to being on the front pages of certain u.s. newspapers? >> that is an excellent question. >> what would be an equally excellent answer? >> that somebody violated their oath to protect classified information and violated that oath and shared that information in an unauthorized fashion with members of the media. >> well, my friend from
washington, and he is my friend, i was impressed not only with his eloquence, but the conviction with which he just spoke. but i've got other colleagues, not from washington, that tend to minimize the nature of leaks as if there is somehow a weighing and a balancing that needs to take place between how interesting we may find the underlying information, how interesting we may find the underlying names. i have seen attempts, unfortunately by members of this very body, to mitigate and explain away and minimize what it does to the surveillance programs to have leaks of classified information. so i will finish with this, i believe there's some surveillance programs up for reauthorization. what would you say to the american people as names are unmasked on the last day that
people are in office and classified information appears on the front pages of major u.s. newspapers? how would you tell your constituents, let's reauthorize this program again, despite the fact that we have abuses? how would it -- help us make that argument when we go home. >> mr. gowdy, you and your colleagues are going to have to make that argument based on the merits of the program and the importance of it to our national security, as well as trying to send a reassuring message to them that if there had been any abuses of the accesses to that information, either because of the number of people involved or those who were, in fact, violating their oath of office, that you and your colleagues will do everything possible to make sure you work with the executive branch to minimize and mitigate that danger and that prospect. >> time expired. ms. stefani? >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you director brennan for your service.
my questions will be focused on the process and development of the intelligence community assessment. as you know, the previous administration directed the intelligence community to produce a comprehensive intelligence report assessing russian activities and intentions on december 9. the unclassified version of that report incorporated information as of december 29. in your experience as an analyst and as the director, what is the average time that it typically takes to produce an i.c. assessment? dir. brennan: it can range from days, to months, to years, in fact, depending on the complexity of the matter, as well as the urgency of getting something out, but it really does vary widely. >> so, you noted that the complexity can have an impact on the timeliness to produce a comprehensive report. this report was produced in just 20 days in december. was there anything about this interagency process that differed? the timeline, the approval
process, the editing, or the staffing? dir. brennan: i think it followed the general model of how you want to do something like this with some notable exceptions. it only involved the fbi, nsa, and cia, as well as the office of director of national intelligence. it wasn't a full interagency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies, and for good reason because of the nature and sensitivity of the information, trying to once again keep that tightly compartmented. but in terms of the rigor and the trade craft, as well as the sourcing, and as you, i think, know in the classified version, it's extensively sourced. it tried to adhere to the general standards. >> so, at no point there was never an individual within the administration outside of the cia, the fbi, the nsa, or the dni that reviewed, edited, or was part of the staffing process? dir. brennan: not to my knowledge.
but i'm -- i wasn't overseeing the production process and the review process. >> the dni was overseeing the production process? dir. brennan: yes, it was a dni-produced assessment. >> so it's unclear whether anyone else on the nsc or the white house was part of the approval or review process, from the knowledge that you have? dir. brennan: they naturally would not have been part of any type of review or editing process, no. >> what happened between december 29, the date of the last information listed in the ica, and january 6, when the report was published? was there any additional edits or approval process outside of the norm? dir. brennan: i think those last few days were used to -- for the refined people who worked over the holiday period, but, again, it was trying to make sure that the products could be provided to the former president and the current president in that first week of january. >> as we know from your testimony, the russian role in
hacking of u.s. political entities was publicly acknowledged by the i.c. of october 2016. why wasn't the intelligence community-wide assessment of these activities ordered until december? dir. brennan: there were ongoing assessments that were done, and as i mentioned in my opening testimony, it was used to brief the senior most government officials, as well as to ensure that the fbi and dhs could do what they needed to do to protect the government institutions that were affected. and so, again, there were periodic assessments as we were learning more through the process. there was additional detail. it also allowed us to note that we weren't seeing certain things, that we were concerned about, and so the intelligence community assessment that was done in december, published in january, was the culmination of the work, the assessment, the collection that had taken place in the months before. >> for the record, it's of concern to me that there was a two-month lag for the
administration to direct the dni to produce a comprehensive report when this was publicly acknowledged as an issue months earlier during the year. i want to touch upon the previous administration's actions on december 29 in response to the russian government's harassment of u.s. officials and cyber operations, which declared persona nongrata that operatives and the closure of two russian compounds in the u.s. did you recommend any action to the administration prior to december 29 or prior to the november election? dir. brennan: i wasn't recommending. we had discussed what different options might be. >> so let me ask, did you suggest or present different options prior to the election or prior to december 29 to the administration? dir. brennan: that's something that could be discussed in the closed setting. >> thank you, my time has expired, or about to.
i yield back. >> mr. herd, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and director brennan, i'd like to join my colleagues in thanking you for your years of service, some of which we overlapped in the cia, and i hope you are enjoying not getting late calls at night. you look fresh. my first question -- and i apologize in advance for asking some questions about what did you know, when, at certain times. i have difficulty remembering what happened this morning, but nonetheless i'm going to continue. in 2016, was collecting intelligence on foreign entities attempts to influence our election a collection priority? dir. brennan: when was that? >> last year, in 2016. dir. brennan: it was a collection priority, yes. >> it was? so does that fall under the broader counterintelligence
collection priorities of the cia? dir. brennan: yes, counterintelligence, as well as russia collection efforts. >> what is ops intel? dir. brennan: it's operational intelligence. that is not maybe formally disseminated as intelligence community, but it is something of operational value to, for example, an investigation. >> so, prior to the -- the full accounting that happened in december 2016, of we're going to do a complete intelligence assessment, was there any ops intel that was used or changed into intelligence actually disseminated to the broader community during that assessment? dir. brennan: there was an effort to make sure that all relevant intelligence that needed to be tapped for the drafting of this intelligence assessment was made available to
the appropriate individuals, yes. >> so, is it your understanding that there was information that was in operational channels that wasn't available to the entire analytical community that was included in that december -- ultimately, the report that was dated january 6? dir. brennan: i think as the -- again, i would defer to the folks at the agency, that classified intelligence report is exceptionally well documented and sourced, and just because something is produced as an intelligence report, it doesn't mean that it goes to everybody in the community. it is -- there are recipient lists for that, and depending on the sensitivity of the information, it is either broadly disseminated or very narrowly disseminated. >> one of the issues that this committee is focused on is figuring out what was the u.s.
government's response to these russian active measures and what do we need to do to protect ourselves and our allies in the future. and one of my concerns is, did we escalate soon enough, quickly enough? did we notify those that were being targeted soon enough? and did we recognize the intelligence or the information that we had access to at the time that it was actually collected? and so my question is, knowing what you know now, would you have directed the cia to do things differently? dir. brennan: you know, i've asked myself that question. i feel as though we try to do everything that we could to fulfill our responsibilities, which was to learn as much as we could about the russian efforts, because we didn't know, again, the extent of it. and so we had to be very careful about what we did so that we would protect certain
capabilities in the community as a whole, as well as to try to assess what was happening. kept the executive branch seniors informed, national security council informed, gang of eight informed, and so, you know, 20/20 hindsight is always a lot clearer to some folks. that's what i think this committee and the other committee in the senate is going to take a look at. was it perfect? i don't think anything in this world is perfect, but i think we tried to do the best job that we could. >> so, are we -- is the intelligence community prepared or ready to counter covert action directed against us or directed measures, as the russians like to call it? how do we develop a strategy to counter covert action against us? and i only have seven seconds.
dir. brennan: that's why it's easy for me to say refer to closed session as well as other officials. >> i yield back, chairman. dir. brennan: i misspoke earlier in response to mr. gowdy. i was at cia headquarters on the morning of january 20. i went there to collect some final personal materials, as well as to pay my last respects to a memorial wall. but i was there for a brief period of time, and just to take care of some final things that were important to me. >> yes, sir, thank you. >> mr. brennan, thank you very much. we're at the end of our open hearing. our committee is charged with answering some really important questions, as some of my colleagues have said, our success, the ultimate success of the russian's disinformation campaign and interactive measures lies with the american citizens and whether or not they are successful or not is up to us as citizens to not let that happen. part of that is how, where, when, all those things, so thank you for being a part of that exercise this morning.
we intend to have a closed session that will start in about 30 minutes downstairs in the spaces. we have sandwiches available for you, if you'd like. with that, we are recessed until we get to closed sessions downstairs. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]