Special Counsel John Durham has issued a report that accuses the FBI of “failing to act” on vital intelligence that proved Hillary Clinton’s campaign had launched an effort to manipulate or influence the law enforcement process for the purpose of winning the 2016 presidential election. John Durham described how the intelligence was centered around a plan concocted by Clinton in July 2016, where she linked Donald Trump to Russia, hoping to divert attention from the investigation into her private email server and handling of classified information. Durham revealed how then-CIA Director John Brennan quickly passed on the intelligence to then-President Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and other national security officials.
Although this briefing held significant value, neither Obama nor Biden acted on the intelligence or referred it to the FBI. Durham’s report labeled this failure as inexplicable and shocking, given the clear warning sign. The FBI should have been given time to investigate the Clinton Plan intelligence and bring a critical examination to the evidence they had received, ultimately resulting in Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Luckily, some light was shed on the situation in October 2020, when FOX News Digital was able to report on Ratcliffe’s decision to declassify Brennan’s handwritten notes, which described the briefing in detail. However, Durham found that the FBI had no evidence to support the opening of the investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, even after years of investigating the matter.
Brennan’s testimony highlighted how Clinton’s plan was to vilify Trump by making false claims of interference by the Russian security service. After Brennan’s briefing, the CIA informed then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok with the subject line: “Crossfire Hurricane.” Despite hearing these urgent alerts from an esteemed intelligence agency, the FBI failed to act.
Durham got the opportunity to interview several officials in the Clinton campaign, including Jake Sullivan, who was then her foreign policy adviser. This revealed that there was no plan to distract from negative attention away from Mrs. Clinton by tying Trump to Russia, although the campaign did focus on Trump and Russia.
In his report, Durham stated that the FBI was to be held accountable for failing to act on the intelligence and take care in receiving, analyzing and relying on partisan materials of partisan origins, such as the Steele Reports. The report also confirmed that the FBI should have disseminated the Clinton Plan intelligence to the investigation team responsible for Crossfire Hurricane, and additionally to the OI attorneys and the FISC. Had the information been shared, the FBI would have been in a better position to construct a solid case in the election. However, Durham refused to confirm whether the omission of the Clinton Plan intelligence was a conscious or intentional decision by FBI officials, or whether it was an intelligence failure.
The Steele Dossier was another aspect that the report brought to light and linked to Clinton’s campaign. The dossier has been discredited for a while now, but Durham and his team weren’t able to find sufficient evidence to prove that the “omission” of the Clinton Plan intelligence from applications to the FISC “was a conscious or intentional decision, much less one intended to influence the Court’s view of the facts supporting probable cause.”
“The government’s handling of the Clinton Plan intelligence may have amounted to a significant intelligence failure and a troubling instance in which confirmation bias and a tunnel-vision pursuit of investigative ends may have caused government personnel to fail to appreciate the extent to which uncorroborated reporting funded by an opposing political campaign was intended to influence rather than inform the FBI,” the report stated. Although the actions taken did not amount to a provable criminal offense, it remains a worrying moment for the FBI.
The FBI released a statement in reaction to the Durham report, saying that corrective actions have already been implemented within the bureau following the 2016 incident. The FBI expressed that these efforts reflect the importance of ensuring that the FBI continues to carry out its work with the rigor, objectivity and professionalism that American citizens deserve.
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