tv Former CIA D Irector Says Russia Brazenly Interfered in U.S. Election... CSPAN May 23, 2017 9:59am-12:15pm EDT
mike are able to relate to each other as friends. they can have their disagreements in a respectful honest way. that's what the aspen institute stands for. you know, and it's the key to the future. let's stop dividing ourselves and then complaining about the fact that our leaders are divided. tom and mike, thank you so much. >> thank you. [ applause ] here on cspan 3 we take you live to the house intelligence committee. this morning hearing a former cia director under president obama. john brennan will speak about general flynn. a day after general flynn invoked his right. this is expected to last through the morning.
and going into closed session later for classified information. live coverage here on cspan 3. good morning. it's my hab and tradition to open hearingwiings with a praye. we understand that we are in desperate need of your guidance. in particular 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 your comfort and healing for those involved in that horrific experience. we ask you be with us this morning, as we try to find the truth, try to find answers our american public wants. we ask for your guidance and
wisdom. amen. i would like to welcome our witness, john brennan. thank you, mr. brennan for agreeing to visit with us this morning. we appreciate that. as you're aware of the horrific attack last night in manchester arena in the uk. we offer up our prayers and sympathy to the deceased j injuries. last night's tragedy reminds us the crucial roles we play in protecting our homeland. i'd like to remind our members and witnesses this morning's portion is an open hearing. there will be a closed session immediately following today's open hearing to allow member and the witness to discuss classified information. to our guests, welcome, we appreciate the public and the media's interest in the committee's important work. we expect proper decorum will be observed at all times. and disruptions will not be
tolerated. i would like our witness to stand and raise your right hand, please. i do solemnly swear the testimony you will give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god. appreciate it. i now recognize myself for five minutes. as you know, the committee has an incredible responsibility to the american public. we are charged with getting to the bottom of the facts regarding russia's involvement in the 2016 election and what if any steps were taken to prevent interference in our election. it's our hope that your testimony will assist our understanding of the facts surrounding the russia active measures during our last presidential campaign. as a former director of the cia you have a vital knowledge of the activities of last year and were a key player recording russian activities in recent elections. you are one of the handful of
former u.s. government employee that can assist this committee with understanding events that took place and judgments rendered by the intelligence community regarding those matters. in particular i hope you'll discuss your understanding of the ongoing russia threat and the actions that were taken by the obama administration to counter it. this was focused long before the 2016 election. it's disheartening to know why action was not taken soon. every day the american public is bombarded with news about the russian interference in our elections. many reports are false and/or misleading. today is san opportunity to focus on the truth, and the truth can be only found through a full and fair investigation of all the facts. the committee has a vital duty to the american public to conduct comprehensive bipartisan oversight and to follow the facts wherever they lead. to that end, your testimony today will greatly help us meet this obligation. with that, i recognize the ranking member, mr. schiff for five minutes for any opening
comments he would like to make. >> good morning, director brennan and welcome. we thank you for coming before our committee and for your lifetime of service to the country. we awoke today to the terrible news from manchester that a suicide bomber killed and wounded scores of young people, including children enjoying music at a concert. it's difficult to describe the depravity of that act, let alone view the images of the carnage which has been claimed by isis. we know that your colleagues in the intelligence community are doing everything they can to share information with the british and working day and night to prevent such attacks from again plaguing our own country. we thank them and the brave service men and women fighting the scourge in terror in places like iraq, syria and afghanistan. two months ago, our committee held its first open hearing with then fbi director comey and nsa director rogers. mr. comey was responsible for investigating whether u.s. persons were involved in the russia tackihacking, many quest
at that hearing went to the issue of collusion. it was that that hearing that director comey revealed the fbi had opened an investigation of people associate would the trump campaign in july of last year this investigation was ongoing. director comey and rogers repudiated the president's contention that he was the subject of an illegal wire tapping organization. today we'll hear the testimony of john brennan who had the responsibility to determine russia's plans and intentions in the united states and around the world. those plans involved an unprecedented attack on our democratic institutions. and those intentions included a desire to tear down our democracy and more than that, a wish to undermine the candacy of hillary clinton and advance the prospectsing that donald trump would become president of the united states. the audacity of the russian intervention in our election took most americans by surprise. and today we'll look to director brennan to inform us when the
cia first learned the russians intended to do more than gather foreign intelligence and were intent on weaponizing the data by publishing it at critical times during the campaign. what accounts for the russian willingness to interfere. why were they willing to run the risk of getting caught. do the russians believe that the u.s. government would be muted they could get away with it and pay little price. since the decision to intervene in our election it came from the top levels of the kremlin was putin himself encouraged by then candidate trump's call for the russians to hack hillary clinton's e-mails and his promise that they would be richly rewarded. the cia's mission is to gather foreign intelligence we'll want to explore what the agency may have learned about the issue of u.s. person involvement in the russian operation and can share in open session, about how the russians identified or targeted u.s. persons to secure their systems or co-opt them.
what mechanism was established for the sharing of information between elements of the intelligence community and fbi. our agencies have concluded that the russian attack on our democracy was not a one off and they will do so again. in fact, the russians are already employing many of the same tactics in europe. we'll want to know the director's views of the broader russian aims and what we can do to stop them. finally, the disruption of our democracy the russians sought to invoke continues to reverberate throughout our government. several matters are of grave concern to our committee and the public that have a direct bearing on our investigation and the relationship between the president and intelligence community. it's alleged the president shared information with the russians that was provided by one of our intelligent partners. it's alleged the president urged director comey to lay off the investigation of michael flynn and ask the director to pledge his loyalty. most recently, it is alleged the
president weighed in with the directors rogers and cotes and urged them to rebut the issue of collusion and asked staff to lobby director comey to drop the flynn case. it was admitted by the president himself that the russian probe was the primary motivation behind his firing of mr. comey. if accurate, these events would have taken place shortly after you left the cia. but as i imagine you must have maintained many relationships with incredible work force at the cia and else where where you served for many decades. we will be interested to learn whether members of the intelligence community have shared information with you that cooperates any of these allegations and how you assess the conduct of the administration maybe impacting the ability of our agencies to gather critical information from our partners and the ability of the fbi to carry out its investigation free from interference. and last i want to say a word about the appointment of mr. mueller as special counsel. many of us have known him for
many years and have the utmost respect for him. i take issue with those who suggest his appointment to insure public confidence in the doj investigation somehow obviates the need for our own congressional probe. our investigation and mr. mueller's have two very different but equally important objects. his will determine whether any u.s. laws were broken and who should be brought to justice if they with. ours will be to determine the whole scope of russian intervention in which u.s. involvement is one part. whether our response was adequate and what steps need to be taken in the future and make our public hearings public since a well-informed leelectorate is our own sure defense. >> do you have an opening statement? >> yes, sir i do. >> you are recognized. >> thank you. members of the committee, i
appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. as you know, i served as director of the central intelligence agency from march 2013 to january of this year. as assistant to president obama for homeland security and counterterrorism from 2009 to 2013. and as a cia officer from 1980 to 2005. i am currently serving as a part-time senior advisor at kissinger associates. i'd like to express my deepest condolences to the british people and families of those killed and injured in yesterday's heinous attack against innocents in manchester. i'm confident law enforcement officers from the united kingdom, the united states are working to find those responsible. congress and the american people have already heard from former and current u.s. officials involved in uncovering russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. notally from james clapper,
former director of the fbi james comey, sally yates and nsa director admiral mike rogers. rather than repeating details contained in their testimonies i'll use this opportunity to make three main points before i take your questions. first, i'm proud of the work done by the women and men of the cia who along with their talented colleagues from the fbi, nsa and the office of the dni tracked and exposed russian active measures against our presidential election. when it became clear to me last summer that russia was engaged in a aggressive and wide ranging efforts to interfere in one of the key pillars of our democracy, we pulled together experts in late july to focus on the issue, drawing in multiple perspective and subject matter experts with broad expertise to assess russian attempts to interfere in the u.s. presidential election. the purpose was to insure that experts from key agencies had access to information and intelligence relevant to russian
actions so we could have a full scope on the activity. the experts provided regular updates and assessments through the summer and fall, which were used to inform seen ynior u.s. officials, including president obama. the work was leveraged for the intelligence community assessment that was completed in early january. it should be clear to everyone that russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election process. and that they undertook the activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning they not do so. along these lines, on 4 august of last year, i spoke to the head of russia's federal security bureau, russia's internal security and intelligence service. the bulk of the schedule called focused on syria as he was my principle locwitter on matters. i took the opportunity to give two additional issues with him. i first told him as i had
several times previously that the continued mistreatment and harassment of u.s. diplomats in moscow was intolerable and needed to stop. over the years, it has been his fsb that has been most responsible for this outrageous behavior. i next raised the published media reports of russian attempts to interfere in our upcoming presidential election. i told him that if russia had a campaign underway it would be certain to backfire. i said that all americans, regardless of political affiliation or whom they might support in the election cherished their ability to elect their own leaders without outside interference. i said american voters would be outraged by any attempt to interfere in the election. i warned him that if russia pursued this course it would destroy any near term prospect for improvement of relations and would undermine construct engagement even on matters of
mutual interest. as i expected, he denied russia was doing anything to influence our presidential election, claiming that moscow is a traditional target of blame by washington for such activities. he said that russia was prepared to work with whichever candidate wins the election. when i repeat my warning, he again denied the clarge but said he would inform president putin of my comments. i was the first u.s. official to brace the russians on this matter. through the gang of eight process we kept congress apprised of the issues as we identified them. in consultation with the white house i personally briefed the details of our understanding of the russian attempts to interfere to government officials between 11 august and 6 september. i provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members. given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active
counterintelligence case involving an ongoing russia effort to interfere in our 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 substance of those briefings was entirely consistent with the main adjustments contained in the january assessments, namely that russia's goals were to undermine faith in the democratic process, denigrate secretary clinton and harm her potential presidency and help president trump's election chances. let me conclude by saying it was a special privilege to serve as a cia officer for the first 25 years of my public service. it was the highest honor of my professional career and always will be to have served another four years as director of cia. cia officers of all disciplines, past present and future, serve this country and fellow citizens with tremendous dedication, talent and courage. they recognize this country's national security rests heavily on their continued outstanding
work and on the sacrifices they and their families make every day on behalf of their fellow citizens. we owe a great debt of the gratitude for cia officer and their families for what they've done and continue to do to protect the country. i'll now be pleased to take your questions. >> again, thank you very much for your long service, distinguished, and for agreeing to come this morning. i'm gentlemenjoined by two able prosecutors that i would like to yield my five minutes to. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if you could take a quick minute before i start with my line of questions with regard to what happened last night in manchester to do the best you can with your expert opinion to reassure the american people that what we do in this country and what we're trying to do would help thwart and stop any kind of similar activity here in the future. if you could help try to put
american minds' at east briefly. i would appreciate any words you might have of advice. >> i would say that isis and al qaeda, and their terrorist affiliates continue to try to carry out these outrageous attacks in europe as well as the united states. but i can say with great confidence that this country has the absolute best counterterrorism community. this together, the experts, from intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security. and does a great job of making sure our federal structure is interoperating as best it can with state and local officials and local law enforcement. so i have seen a tremendous growth of capability as well as an enhanced national architecture since 9/11. in terms of the ability to share information quickly, terrorist threat information, so when it's
collected overseas or wherever, it gets to those individuals who have to take action on it. so i can assure the american people that i know today my former colleagues are working even harder than they ever have before to prevent attacks. >> thank you, sir. to the matter at hand, we heard the ranking member speak in his opening as well as we've heard in the press numerous times with regard to -- and in your opening statement -- the russian investigation, what the russians were trying to do with regard to our election. the russians interfering with our election whether it be through the rt or propaganda or whatever. that's become the new norm, and something we'll all have to deal with w. our charge on this committee isn't so much necessarily to try to seek out and root out criminal behavior, especially now in light of the new special counsel, robert mueller who would be looking into those type of things. for us on the intelligence
committees, whether it be here or in the senate to try to improve the intelligence communities' ability to do our job and to make a report, a recommendation to you and the new administration as to how we better defend ourselves against what russia and/or others may be trying to do with regard to affecting our republic or democracy. in doing so if we do find any kind of criminal behavior, i think the minority would agree that those type of information would be refer today the justice department, which is the proper jurisdiction. with regard to the main question at hand, and your experience with the russians trying to involve themselves in our election, did you ever find any evidence as the ranking member spoke of collusion while you were the director? do you find direct evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and putin and moscow while you were there?
>> i never was an fbi agent or prosecutor. so i don't do evidence, i do intelligence throughout the course of my career. as an intelligence professional what we try to do is make sure we provide all relevant information to the bureau if there is an investigation underway they're looking into criminal activity. as i mentioned in my opening statement i was convinced in the summer that the russians were trying to interfere in the election. and they were very aaggressive. and i wanted to make sure we were able to expose as much as possible. >> was there intelligence that said the trump campaign was colluding with moscow during their campaign -- >> there was intelligence that the russian intelligence services were actively involved in this effort. and having been involved in many intelligence cases in the past i know what the russians try to do. they try to suborn individual and try to get individuals,
including u.s. individuals to act on their behalf wittingly or unwittingly. i was worried about the number of contacts that the russians had with u.s. persons. therefore, by the time i left office on january 20th, 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 again either in a witting or unwitting fashion. so, therefore, i felt as though the fbi investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues. >> when you talk about -- i'm running out of time, but hopefully i'll be able to circle back. can you describe their capabilities beyond just propaganda and actual infiltrating whether or not you had intelligence to infiltrate the campaign with capabilities beyond just propaganda and beyond just reaching out or
trying to influence the news or the campaign and how long have we known about these type of capabilities? >> there is a lot of intelligence that's been built upperover the years about russia's m.o. in terms of getting influence. how they've been able to use individuals, politicians, political parties. they've been able to use elements within the media to make sure that their objectives are realized. so, again, knowing what the russian m.o. is and has been including in elections in europe, i certainly was concerned that they were practicing the same types of activities here in the united states and that's why, as i said, we set up a group in late july that included the fbi and nsa. wanted to make sure that every information and bit of intelligence we had was share would the bureau so they could take it. it was well beyond my mandate as director of cia to follow on those leads that involved u.s. persons. but i made sure that anything that was involving u.s. persons,
including anything involving the individuals involved in the trump campaign was shared with the bureau. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. schiff, five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want today follow up on a comment i made in the opening statement and that is with respect to the allegations that have been made recently that the president or his aides may have sought to enlist the help of members of the ic or director comey himself to drop the flynn investigation. al have any members of the ic shared with you their concerns that the president was attempting to enlist the help of people within the intelligence community to drop the flynn investigation? >> no, sir. >> are you aware of any efforts the president has made to enlist the support of intelligence community personnel to push back a narrative involving the collusion issue mr. rooney was asking about? >> i'm unaware of it. >> i want to ask you about the
allegations concerning the president's meetings in the white house in the oval office with the russians. first what concerns you might have if the allegations are accurate about sharing information that we may have obtained by the intelligence partner, what impact you think that may have not only that partner but other intelligence partners' willingness to share intelligence with the united states? more than that if you could shed insights on one other thing, and that is the russian's reactions was twofold. one was vladmir putin's offer to validate what happened in the oval office, to provide his own transcript of that meeting. but also the russian publication of photographs from that meeting. al the russians had to understand the publication of those photos would be harmful to the president or the president would have invited american press into that meeting. what do you think motivated the
russians to publish those photos? what do you think motivated putin to make a claim to provide their own transcript of the meeting? is this further efforts to weaken the president, disrupt our political process, how do you explain those events? >> a lot of questions there, mr. schiff. first, point i'd like to make is that i shared classified information with the russians while i was director with the cia. the cia on a routine basis shares information with the russians. it doesn't mean it becomes unclassified. it retains the classification but is releasable to russian or other partners. that's not unprecedented. i don't know what was shared in the oval office. but if the reports in the press are true that mr. trump decided to spontaneously share intelligence with the russians i think he would have violated two protocols. one, is that such intelligence, classified intelligence is not
shared with ambassadors, it's shared through intelligence channels because it needs to be handled the right way and make sure it's not exposed. he didn't do that, if the press charges are accurate. secondly, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners it needs to go back to the originating issue to make sure the language is going to reveal sources or methods and compromise the future collection activity. it appears, at least from the press reports, that neither did it go in the proper channels nor did the originating agency have the opportunity to clear language for it. that is a problem. what i'm concerned about is the subsequent releases of classified information purporting to point to the source. this appears to be damaging leaks and i find them appalling and they need to be tracked down. that's where the damage came from, i think, it was released
in the press. the russians are watching very carefully what's going on in washington right now. they will try to exploit it for their own purposes. and to see whether or not they can further, i think, cede partisan animosity here in washington. and try to roil the political waters here. even though the election is over, i think mr. putin and russian intelligence services are trying to actively exploit what's going on now in washington to their benefit and to our detriment. >> again, on mr. rooney's questions, when you had these concerns raised about the russian efforts and their potential effort to suborn u.s. persons to their cause and the hacking operations. did you take steps to set up a structure to analyze the russian campaign so members of the fbi, cia, nsa and other agencies
would look at these allegations in a cohesive fashion. >> yes, and i also recognize that this was an exceptionally sensitive issue. and active counterintelligence case. trying to stop and uncover what the russian intelligence activities were. in the midst of a hotly debated presidential campaign, that included information that may have involved u.s. persons contacts with russia whether they were benign or not. one of the key pieces of any kind of counterintelligence effort is to compartment the efforts so that your operators, investigators and collectors can continue to uncover what the russians were doing. al we set up a group within the cr cia. i spoke with director comey and rogers to make sure they were able to send over their experts so they could share their information among them. the most sensitive information that was not disseminated. i wanted to make sure learning
the lessons of 9/11 that there were not going to be any stove pipes and barriers to sharing information from the intelligence and law enforcement communities. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. gowdy, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director thank you for your service to our country. let's go back to where we were a couple minutes ago. you mentioned or testified you had a conversation in august of 2016 with your russian counterpa counterpart. you testified you briefed eight members of congress throughout the pendency of your investigation. when you learned of russian efforts -- we'll get to that in a minute, my understanding from your unclassed report is russia has historically attempted to interfere with our electoral process and they did so without coordination, collusion or conspiring with any of the candidates. so they have a history of doing it. we'll lay that aside for a minute. 2016 electoral process. when you learned of russian
efforts, did you have evidence of a connection between the trump campaign and russian state actors? >> as i said, mr. gowdy i don't do evidence and we were uncovering information and intelligence about interactions and contacts between u.s. persons and the russians. as we became upon that we would share it with the bureau. >> i appreciate you don't do evidence, director brennan. unfortunately, that's what i do, that's the word we use. you use the word assessment, you use the word trade craft. i use the word evidence. and the good news for me, is lots of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle use the word evidence, too. one of my colleagues said there is more that circumstantial evidence of collusion between the russian and the trump campaign. there are two types of evidence, circumstantial and direct. if it's more than circumstantial by necessity it has to be direct. those are the words of my
colleagues under the other side of the committee. another democrat committee maybe said he's seen evidence, yet a third california democrat said she had seen no evidence of collusion. that's three different members of congress from the same state using the same word which is evidence. and that's the word that my fellow citizens understand. evidence. assessment is your vernacular. trade craft is your vernacular. you and i both know what the word evidence needs. w we're not getting into whether you crorroborated. we're not getting into how you tested the reliability of evidence. did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the trump campaign and russian
state actors at the time you learned of 2016 efforts? >> i encountered and aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interabs between russian officials and u.s. persons involved in the trump campaign. that i was concerned about because of known russian efts to suborn such individuals. and it raised questions in my mind whether the russians were able to gain cooperation of those officials. i don't know whether or not such collusion -- that's your term -- such collusion existed. i don't know. i know there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not u.s. persons were actively c conspiring or collude ing with
russian officials. >> do you know the basis of that information you share would the bureau? what was the nature of the evidence? >> i think, mr. gowdy, the committee has now been provided information that relates to this issue. in terms of information that the agency shared with the bureau. and that is something that is appropriately classified. >> all right. and you learned that when? when in this chronology did you learn of the contacts between these official members of the trump campaign or -- there's a hierarchy. trump himself, members of the trump campaign and those who identified with him. >> i'm not going to try to identify individuals or parse it. >> i don't want you to parse it, i want you to identify individuals. >> i'm not going to identify the individuals because this is information that's based on classified source and intelligence. i think -- >> were the official members of the campaign?
>> i'm going to defer to current agency officials to be able to further provide to you information related to that. my understanding that this committee has access to the documents that we would have provided to the bureau. >> all right. last question, because i'm out of time. we can use the word evidence, we both know what the other one is talking about. how did you test, probe,co exame or test the believability or credibility of the evidence you uncovered? >> i made sure of the components within cia that are responsible for counterintelligence, cyber, and russia were actively working to understand as much as possible about the reliability, accuracy of the information that they already collected, and information that was available that needed further corroboration. >> we'll come back to it next round. >> gentlemen's time has expired.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. it's good to see you again. i want to use my five minutes to paint a more specific picture around the methods and mechanisms that the russians used to suborn, which is the word you use and we've used here today, our democracy and our process. i want to start by a quote i know you're familiar with. russia, quote seeks to corrode democracy in by deepening political divides. the russians stir the pot and know when they trigger chaos, even if it ends up negatively affecting them they're serving the purpose of weakening us. i want to talk about people. you made reference to people. i don't want to do it specifically, i want to do it in the abstract. russia looks to corrode democracy by investing in rises
politicians, cultivating relationships and helping to insure his business affiliates become influenceal in government. >> it's traditional intelligence collection in terms of humans which is to identify individuals you think are influential or rising stars and try to develop a relationship with them and the russians frequently will do that through cutouts or through false flag operations. they won't identify themselves as russians or as members of the russian government. they will try to develop that personal relationship. over time they'll try to get individuals to do things on their behalf. that's why, again, having been involved in a lot of counterintelligence cases over the years and seeing this pattern over and over again. my radar goes up when i see that
the russians are acively involved and a particular operation or campaign and u.s. persons are being contacted by russian officials. >> so is it fair to assume the phrase you use, previously was you were worried by contacts that there may have been efforts to suborn. is it fair to say it may have been consistent with that age old recruitment methodology. >> sure. these are contacts that may have been totally innocent and benign as well as those that might have succumbed somehow to those russian efforts. >> great, let me shift focus from americans to russians. we hear a lot about russian aol gs. can you tell us a little bit about what the role of russi russianole garks is?
why do some americans fall for russian business people? >> mr. putin's political standing in russia is certainly well-supported by key oligarchs who control billion dollars industry and parts of the russian economy. he is, i think reliant on them for support and they are reliant on him for support. so they obviously have a lot of international connections, business collections that they will use to advance their business interests. but also we see that russian intelligence agencies do not hesitate at all to use private companies and russian persons who are unaffiliated with the russian government to support their objective. >> we've talked about americans and russians now in these couple of minutes. do americans who are suborned in such a way that are recruited or
suborns, do they necessarily need to know that they are doing russia's bidding? >> no, many times they do not. they do not even know the person they're interacting with is a russian. many times they know that individuals may be russian officials but they don't know there's an intelligence connection or an intelligence motive behind it. >> thank you. i'm running low on time. so i'll close with this thought. there's hardly anyone left today who doubts that russia attacked us. but what we have to realize is the true thrust of the russian attack is what they've triggered in us, the partisanship h. every time we refuse to face facts, every time we attack the messenger. every time we undercut our alliance and values, i think we're playing precisely into russia's fondest hopes. we're doing something that in my opinion the great cold warriors be it ronald reagan or harry truman would never have allowed. i thank you for your testimony.
i yield back. >> mr. king, five minutes. >> before i yield to mr. gowdy i have one question to ask you. i realize you're in a open session, and y session. in the preparation of the report of 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 indications of russian intentions that were contrary to that conclusion? >> myself, jim comey, mike rogers, and jim clapper relied on the experts who pulled this draft together in the intelligence community assessment. it was 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 thougat were ma were made during the process.
i asked officers questioned. i wanted to make sure they were comfortable with the language that was being used. it would have been the internal process that then resulted in the intelligence community assessment. that's the traditional way these assessments are drafted, are coordinated and are published. >> again, without even getting to the final conclusion, if there were other evidence though that indicated contrary, should that have been listed or not? >> you're dealing with a lot of information when you put together an intelligence assessment. and it comes down to a distillation process. and as you know, there were two productsing that were produced. an unclassified version and highly classified version. and the attempt was to try to include in that highly classified version all of the relevant and pertinent information that needed to be in there in order to undergird the judgments contained. so what was 100% of all of the
information available put into that highly classified one? no, but it was taken into account. and so, therefore, again, some decisions had to be made about it. i'm unaware anything was intentionally excluded because of intelligence that is, that was for some reason one of the agencies didn't want in there for a reason that was not a very legitimate intelligence reason. >> we discuss that in the executive session. mr. gowdy i yield the balance of my time tou. >> thank you. last time we were talking about the inception of your investigation in 2016. i want the next question to talk up until your last day at the cia. did you see evidence of cuclusion, coordination, conspiracy, between donald trump and russian state actors?
>> i saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not such cooperation or collusion was taking place. >> that doesn't help us a lot. what was the nature of the information. >> as i said, mr. gowdy, i think this committee has access to the type of information i'm alluding to. it's classified and i'm happy to talk about it in classified session. >> and that would have been directly between the candidate and russian state actors? >> that's not what i said. i'm not going to -- >> that was my question. and you answered it. you didn't answer it that way. >> no, i responded to your query. i'm not going to respond to particular elements of your question because i think it would be inappropriate for me to do so here. i repeat what i said, which was i was aware of intelligence and conversation about contacts between russian officials and u.s. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the
russians either in an witting or unwitting fashion and served as the basis for the fbi investigation to determine whether such collusion, cooperation, occurred. >> all right. there are a bunch of words that start with c floating around. i asked you about collusion, conspiracy and you used the word contact. in a previous answer you did a good job of establishing contact could be benign or not benign. was it contact you saw? something more than contact? what is the nature of what you saw? >> i saw interaction and aware of interaction, again, raise questioned in my mind about what was the true nature of it. i don't know. i don't have sufficient information to make a determination whether or not such cooperation or complicity or collusion was taking place. i know there was a basis to have individuals pull those threats. >> i don't want to put words in your mouth, you saw something
that led you to refer it to law enforcement? and in your judgment, it is up to law enforcement to test, probe, corroborate, contradict, otherwise investigate the full nature of that information you passed on, is that fair way to put it some. >> yes, it is. it's not cia's job to make a determination about whether a u.s. person is cooperating, colluding or whatever in some type of criminal or illegal matter. it's our responsibility to give the bureau everything they need in order to follow that path and make such a determination and recommendation if they want to press charges. >> all right. we'll pick it up next time. >> five minutes. >> welcome director brennan. building on the questions that my colleague talked with you about, i'd like to ask you specifics about russia attacking us and how their attacks specifically cause us to doubt our own credibility as americans.
i'd like to talk about truth and what it means to be truthful to your country if you're in a position of power. director brennan, was putin first within russia and then against us, working to undermine truth? how exactly has he done that? >> mr. putin and russian intelligence services are determined to do what they can to influence in a very inappropriate and illegal way activities within western democracies to undermine the western led liberal democratic order. they do that on a regular basis. they see that as a threat to them. and so that's why the cyber domain right now is a growing playground for russian activities. and they will use that and exploit it, whatever way they can. they've been involved in elections for many years, including trying to influence the ones in the united states.
the cyber environment provides opportunities to collect and release, to influence and they are increasingly adept at it. >> so you said that they're going to do it again. the unclassified assessment said that. and has there been any blowback or consequences to russia for their interference in our election? and most importantly, what would you do to try to prevent that from happening in future elections? >> first of all, i think exposure is very, very important. make sure we're able to confront the russians and make sure that partners and allies and other countries around the globe are aware of this type of russian capability. and also is important to have the russians incur costs, not just in terms of reputational damage, but alsoa actions
governments should take when they're caught in those types of activity. it's anathema to our democratic values and we need to be able to push back hard against. >> have you seen the trump administration do anything to push back? have you seen -- i know you're no longer a director, but have you seen any indication that we're trying to punish or stop the russians forom doing this? >> i'm not in a position to evaluate. we were doing things behind the scenes, we took actions in january in the last days of the administration in terms of pmging a nothing of officials here and trying to clamp down on their intelligence activities. maybe the current administration is doing the same thing, i don't know. >> director brennan, can you tell -- can you talk about russia's disinformation campaign and the tools they use to do
that? >> they use all sorts of tools. they have been able to control various media outlets, obviously they use rt tv here in the united states which has, you know, a fairly significant audience. they use individuals who have -- who are writers or publishers, editorialests. some of this is very obvious to those who are involved because they're on the payrolls. i'm talking globally now. they're on the payrolls of russian intelligence, they place pieces that advance russia's interests. >> i wanted to kind of go back to what i was trying to say before, which is truth, getting to the truth. i can't emphasize enough how damaging this disinformation campaign is. and it troubles me so much that there are those in this country that -- who are practicing similar tactics, i think, 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's divert, dissemble and deny. these are putin's putin's tacti that we are seeing and embracing in america, and in other words, truth is being replaced by tr t trust, and people trust this person or this news source even if it is not objectively true. so we can't all agree on a common set of fact, and that is a big problem, i believe to the democracy in this country. our national security has never been as part san as it is now, and i think that the truth is that as the american people want to get to the bottom of it, and the truth is that we as elected officials on this committee should be doing all we can to make sure that we find out how they did it. we make sure that we know who helped them do it and that we
also get to the bottom of making sure that it doesn't get used. one of the thing ths that you talked about is exploit. you said that the election is over, but putin is still exploiting us. and what did you mean by that? >> i mean that, again, this is a pattern of the russian intel services to try to take advantage of to openness of western societies, free press, other things, and political campaign, and opportunities and vulnerabilities to advance the interests. they will continue this, and i think that they are taking lessons from the past experience. i don't believe that this is going to make them at all recoil and not engage in these typeses of things in the past. i think that what they will do is to further refine the tactics so that they can be as successful as possible in the future.
>> thank you. >> five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director brennan, i have a number of questions that i have, and i know that in the open setting you won't be able to answer so i am looking forward to the closed setting. to the extent that you can answer in this setting the russian measurable actions that were happening during the campaign, and can you be anymore specific about what they were doing or in this setting? >> i think that they are all unclassified that they were responsible for hacking into the sbert ins and things like
gusifer 2.0. they the greatly exaggerated the truth about secretary clinton. it is a mixture of the pr propaganda and data check sthau -- collection and releasing information against one of the candidates they were trying to harm. >> you said that you believe they will continue activity like this in the future. do you believe they will influence the 2018 midterm elections? >> i have unfortunately burge burgeoning respect for the russian capabilities, and their aggressiveness and pervasiveness and doing what they can to do to undermine this country's democratic institution as well
as those certainly in europe and other areas, and so i believe that they will try to exploit i believe they will continue. >> do you have the information necessary to cop duct -- conduc investigation into russians? >> i believe that this is something that in the classified segment we can talk more about. >> if we need the go to cl classified setting i understand,
but were there additional suggestions that you would give to this intelligence committee of what we should be doing to enable not just the cia, but the fbi and the nsa to thwart future mettling. >> sure. >> okay. >> based on what happened here, do you think that there are ways that we can assist the allies in thwarting what the russians are doing? is it simply sharing information or are there additional measures that can be taken, because if the one of us to be successful and more of us can be successful. >> i think it is a combination of thing, and i will be careful of information sharing and aware of the techniques and the tactics and the procedures and the practitioners that the russians use which is very important.
and we also need to be able to work some operations together to expose russia and that my former intel community is working with sister services to catch the russians in their efforts to undermine democratic institution s. we need to continue to do that and continue to do even more of it. >> i am not sure if you can answer in this setting, but while there are russian actors the and others who have been working against us? >> i do not believe that they we
were. >> i don't believe any other countries were involved. >> and dr. brennan, how do our professionals maintain against war and global stability? >> we are the ones who understand what is going on and also what is under way in the future. we need to make sure that we are able to assess a capabilities and intentions of the foreign k actors, and if they tried to do us harm and to support the diplomatic efforts and the war fight fighters. the foreign intelligence ic
community has an enormous task to cover the globe and do it 24/7 and frequently in places where they are in harm's way, and also in other areas where the threat to the security is much less obvious and much more insidious, and sometimes much more threatening, and so therefore our nation's intelligence professionals re really have a lot on their shoulders as far as keeping the country safe and secure. >> yes, sir. director brennan, do you believe that pew tipp and the kremlin would like to see us hamper and shrink our intelligence capabilities? >> yes, we are the principle nemesis, and we are the reason they are not success nfl so many areas, and that they have been able to undercut their efforts. i would not suggest for one minute that the intelligence community has not been very successful. >> it is so important. and secretary of defense jim
mattis knows the diplomats with the tip of the spear, and i quote, if you don't fully fund, then i need to by more ammunition, because i am kenned when we see proposed cuts of the third to the state department and a third time increase to the budget, and we are the united states of america are no longer championing human rights around the world, and we are concerned about the efforts to undercut our abilities, and comments by our own leaders and we cannot let president putin to continue to understood mine us by doing what he exactly wants us to do. and the the intelligence and the diplomatic, and military officials have fought for our independence, and the march of democracy around the world, and i don't think, sir, and neither do any of us that we can't let the important work be nothing.
i thank you for your assistance, and i yield back. >> i skipped mr. rooney for his five minutes and yield back. >> thank you. mr. drirector, i would like to say that i went up to the agency to view the documents that you referred to before, and look forward to talking to you about them in the closed session. i also wanted to mention something about admiral rogerers and mr. comey about in the last two open sessions ago about the intelligence, and it is one that got a lot of hoopla on tv we are guard to our side of the aisle here trying to make a diversi diversionary tactic and i would like to know if you agree with admiral rogers that some reports
both -- >> i think that the words were i don't know -- and can you tell us whether or not from the information that you have looked at that it is looking like the intelligence shows that moscow was actually for donald trump or routing against hillary clinton? >> i think that my assessment is both. i think that they -- i think
that as far as the campaign, they felt that the fortune of one candidate was going up or down, they believed that secretary clinton was going to win the election, and so their efforts were were to diminish the efforts, and i believe they had a more favorable view towards mr. trump, and trying to increase the prospects, and they pr probably felt that they were going to increase his chances. >> why him over her? >> a variety of reasons. one is that there has been a traditional animus between mr. putin and secretary clinton. it has not been a good relationship between the two clintons over the years with
putin. secretary clinton and some of her actions while she was secretary of the state led to the sanctions against russia. >> and what do they believe mr. trump could do for them? >> they felt that mr. trump was an outsider. that he was a businessman who from a ne goegotiating standpoie could -- >> well, what, if that is true, one of the questions that i have in mind that is more appropriate for the closed session, but if that is true, your review of the evidence was there more damaging evidence of secretary clinton that would not be revealed if it
wasn't their russian ability to be routing for her to win? >> well, we can talk more about it in the closed, but i believe they felt that secretary clinton was going to win. i mentioned that they tried to bloody her before the election, and also, i would have anticipated that if they continued to hurt her h or did collect information about her, they -- >> thank you. i would like to spend some time talking about the downsized role that the russian oligarchy
support i supporting the russian government i. h government. it has been said that the russians when they want to cultivate a u.s. person they will do it over a long period of time. is that true? >> it depends on the person and the willingness to work with the russians. >> were you aware that they were taemting to cultivate for almost eight years. >> i will not talk about any individuals, no. >> are russian oligarchs encouraged to invest in united states? >> by whom? >> by sen certainly putin withie united states, yes. >> is there evidence that they
>> and can you talk about the sanctions for crimes in crimea, and how much pain do you believe those sanctions have caused russia? >> increasingly painful and i believe that one of mr. putin's priorities has been over the last few years to try to get the sanctions reduced and the tragedy is that he is al tlois the european countries to separate -- soon e rather than
. >> and as a young analyst, you had dealings with the head of the kgb and the early 80s and he was very focused on this active measure campaign. >> and yes or i would not have had direct interaction with -- activities over the years and sent many different cases, and how they have been able to get people, and including inside of the cia to become --
communicants. >> it is not the fact that they met? >> right. >> i want to make sure they had your words correctly, you meant that there was a -- generally. >> totally divorced from the presidential election issue, if there are suspected russian operatives -- the cia and others to be concerned and the privacy rights of the persons and the bureau -- the cia had the parties that we have parties that some of the -- and the
>> sorry. >> aiding any number of problems for them, aed they are u adept over the years of money laundering. >> are you familiar with country or countries they are principally involved in money laundering? >> i am aware of some, but again i would defer to the agency at this time to identify the priority ones. >> cypress? >> they use banking institutions in a number of countries, and lot of times what they are doing
is that the financial elements in countries is unbeknownst to the governments and so there are a number of financial centers around the world that the russians have become quite active in. and i agree that the home country may not be aware and is not aware of all that is taking place and you would be aware and concerned if there were u.s. persons involved in the financial institution, correct? >> anything that we might uncover related to that, we would make sure that the bureau and the treasury and the others are aware of it and they are the ones that are trying tole follow up on the criminal activity. >> and the areas aware of cypress and other financial institutions there? is. >> well, it is a well known fact that there is a large russian presence and large russian financial interests and inside of cypress, and again, any type of involvement in the u.s. persons or company, it would be the responsibility of the fbi and other u.s. agencies and not the cia to follow up on that.
>> and finally, if the president had asked any intel official not to pursue a investigation, would you consider that obstruction? >> i don't have a legal basis of what constitutes obstruction of justice? >> well wit, how would you rea to a president asking you to halt a investigation? >> i have never been asked that and if i had, i would not follow such a directive. >> and mr. turner. >> i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. brennan tu, going back toin change you had with mr. gou dirksed a edgoug -- gou goudy, and i would like to thank
you for your assessments and a what this mean as we move forward with the investigation, and you said that when asked whether or not you had seen evidence of collusion or collaboration, you said that you saw intelligence that indicated that there has been contacts with individuals with russians that were of a nature that bore investigation. you said that those contacts might have been benign or mightt not have had been, but rose to the level of to be reviewed and in the nature of an investigation and did i kak rise that correctly? >> well, we see contacts with russian officials and u.s. officials all of the time. it is in the context of something else going on and we knew that when the russians were involved in this effort to interfere with the election and with that backdrop and the increasing indications they were involved with that and seeing these contacts and interactions
during the same period of time raise mid concern. >> excellent. i appreciate that qualification. but if someone left this hearing today, and said that you had indicated that those contacts were evidence of collusion or collaboration, they would be misrepresenting your statements, correct? >> they would have misheard my response to the very good questions asked of me, and i'm trying to be as clear as possible in terms of what i know and assessed and what i can say. >> and you would say it is a misrepresentation of the statement, yes? >> i would say it is not an accurate portrayal of the statement, absolutely. >> and let me go to the next step. if someone saw what you saw and only what you saw with respect to those contents, they looked at the intelligence that you saw where you said it might have been benign and might not have been benign, and then they characterize as what they saw asing having been evidence of
collusion or clollaboration, thy would be misrepresenting the intelligence, would they not? >> i don't know what else they have seen that could corroborate or kcorrelate -- >> it sonl what you saw. they would be misrepresenting the intelligence, correct? >> i presume they would be misrepresenting what it is that is i saw. again, i don't know -- >> thank you. >> i appreciate that, because i believe that there are members of the committee who deserve that counsel, because your specificity is going to give us an understanding of what we are reviewing, and there are some of those who are reviewing some of the information that you have seen and represented it to the public absolutely incorrectly and misrepresented it. i would like to yield the remainder of my time to mr. goudy. >> sorry. i was colluding with my friend from florida. i want to pick up where -- well,
i want to do this. the last time that you and i talked, you had referred information no bureau. am i right? what you had seen, and you referred to the bureau? >> okay. i dont n't know if that is the t thing that we talked about, but i will grant that i asked that. >> it is not a trick question. one of the last things that you referred to the bureau what you saw, is that fair? >> yes. >> and did you also refer to director clapper? >> not everything that is shared with the bureau is shared with director clapper. >> why is that? >> because on the counter intelligence matters dealing with the u.s. person information of a very sensitive nature, the dni does not have is that type of operational responsibility, and what we tried to do is to make sure that 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 fbi. >> do you know if the bureau opened up a matter, and when was that, and with as much specificity as you can give us, when you shared with the bureau. >> would you accept lasts year? it was was in the summertime, and even previous, because there are ongoing sharing of information with the bureau and so over the course of the year. >> and in conclusion, because i am out of time. and sometime in the summer, you shared the information with director comey at the bureau? >> sometime over the summer, there was information that the cia had that was shared with the bureau, but it was not the only period of time where such information was shared with the bureau. >> good u enough. thanks. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you directorment since you
pa passed that information no the fbi, director, have you reviewed the fbi's development of that evidence or any other evidence? >> i am unaware of what the bureau has done with that information and i have no id knowledge of anything that the agency has done since january 20th. >> are you aware of what the bureau has briefed this committee with respect to evidence of collusion? >> i watched jim comey's hearing and comments and i have gone through his transcript, and so i am aware of it, yes. >> are you aware that he was in a classified setting and have you review that evidence? >> no, i have not. >> and so there was a troubling image of inside of the oval office, president trump standing and laughing with ambassador kislyack and prime minister lavrov, and that he had shared a code word with russia and jeopardizing sources and
methods. drirector, are the russianser worthy of receiving such information in the manner alleged? >> i believe it is important for the u.s. intelligence to provide to any of our foreign partners any information relating to terrorist threats to foreign countries about their citizens. that is why i authorized classified information to the russians several times that saved russian lives there. is an appropriate manner and procedure for doing that, and they need to be followed scrupulously, so that there is not an understood mining of the collection capability systems. >> director, you have warn ed others about the classified actions -- >> i don't know the totality of
the actions against the russians. i know that the administration in the bombing took actions gaiagainst them, and so that is depending how this investigation proceeds, and the fbi and the special counsel as well as the work of the committee and i agree that the appointment of a special counsel should not in any way stop these intelligent committees in the senate and the house from doing the work, and you are supposed to be looking at what to do to strengthen the system to be better prepared, so i believe that consequences need to be levied on the russians for it, and i owould defer to the policy makers for that. >> and mr. director, with respect to whether contacts with russians were innocent or benign, when you see a multiplicity of contacts of one country and one campaign, when does nit your mind when you are deciding to refer to the fbi, when does it move from mere
coincidences to a pattern? and in this case, when did it? >> this is awfully generous as far as the inferences concerned, but there is a backdrop of known russian interference of the election, and there were a variety of activities taking place that wondered whether or not they were part of the campaign and strategy. we don't have a totality of insight into all of the things that the russians were doing. i left it up to the professionals, the counter intelligence and the experts that whatever information they deemed to be important to the bureau relevant to the investigation, they did that. so i was not making the decisions, but it is on long held practices on the part of the cia to make shure that we ae
not holding back from our bureau colleagues. >> director, there is what is referred to as consciousness of guilt evidence when somebody lies about a material fact and that fact, the fact of them lying can be used against that person, because it would be in essence an effort to cover-up what happened, you know, if you were telling the truth, you wouldn't have anything to cover-up. with respect to some of the contacts that you have referred to between russia and trump campaign officials, were you aware of any of those people makings false statements about those contacts or failing to disclose those contacts? >> i think that is something that you can pursue in closed session. >> director, with respect to the contacts that you have seen, have you ever seen in your history working as an intelligent official this type of number of contacts of a
foreign adversary and a presidential candidate? >> i think that our collection systems have increased over the years, and so i don't know whether or not it is a result of better collection or because there were more contacts this time and not -- i just do not have a basis to make a determination about that. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, director, for your candor. have you ever been asked to give your opinion to the fbi about whether your intelligence led to an investigation, and did they engage you in that way. you said that the fbi engaged with the cia and i didn't know if they asked your opinion on this? >> well, we would make a referral to the department of justice on many instances when we saw classified information
appear in the public and unauthorized fashion and so that referral is made from the department of justice to department whether or not there is a follow-up investigation, and it is the fbi that then take takes a look at the circumstances and makes a decision and that is the referral that we made. >> and we have pretty much established that russians and the soviet yunion are trying to mettle with the elections for years, and then you came in as director after the last election. which leads me to something that mr. himes was talking about how they try to influence -- and you would agree that is what you are looking out for, those relati relations. sew i am trying to understand the process here, and what sets up a red flag and what type of ok oconversation do you hear that says, hmm, maybe a further look into this or refer it on. i can't help but think back to the previous election when we
see on videotape president obama say says this is my last election, and after my election, i have more flexibility, and president medvedev says, i understand, and i will stand with you. and stand with you have a strong relationship and certainly an influential person and talking open about elections, and i'm not trying to launch another investigation here, but i am talking about the process, and you were not director, but that is a disturbing image to americans about what kind of relationships and would you question that interaction if that type of conversation were taking place, and again, i am trying to understand the process from cia to the fbi to the doj? >> that is a direct conversation between the heads of two heads of the country and i won't
respond to -- >> well, if that is is what we are trying to get to some understanding of what sets off a red flag. you know, and when do you refer to law enforcement? i know that you were not the director at that time, and boy, that is just going to hit all of the things that you were talking about in the playbook, election, and influential relationships, and i will stand by you and trying to get to the substance there, and that is interesting that you can't respond to a personal conversation, but that is what we are talking about. with that, i yield back. >> i have tried to avoid getting partisanb issues, and so i will not recognize that question. >> thank you. and with that i yield the remainder of my time. mr. goudy. >> thank you, dr. winstrom. congressman rooney and you were discussing generally the motive,
and it is the -- let's just assume it is a given that the russians did not like secretary clinton and did not like president obama for that matter, and desired a negative things for her. but they also thought that she was going to win. is it your testimony that all of the information stolen was not publicly disseminated? >> knox i sano, i said that if collected additional information as implied that the effort to further hurt her if she became p president, that information and any type of derogatory information about her could have husbanded her post election. >> and so to use your word husbanded her in the election -- >> i think it is inappropriate to not talk about it.
>> i get the inappropriate to not answer, but to ask you if that information is husband but not disseminated? >> my request is to talk about that in closed session. >> okay. i will honor your request and we will talk about it in a little bit. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and director brennan for your testimony here today. over the course of the last several months, the intelligence agencies have been berated by the president for the possibility of leaks. have you -- are youware of the tweets and other criticisms that he has made about the leaking in the u.s. intelligence agency? >> i know that there are a number of allegations for public leaks responsible by the intelligence agencies. >> and quote, three with white house staffers have been identified for leaking info, and p potus will be firing multiple people when he returns to d.c. >> i am unaware of the story or facts underneath it.
>> and if the story is true, and we don't know wlit is or not, and if it is true that there may have been people who leak classified info at the white house, first, can you tell us,b and it is an obvious oquestion and answer, and are there people at the white house who would have classified information they could leak to journalists? >> white house officials if they have the appropriate security clearances based on the position would have access to classfied information. >> thank you. the second part of that is that if the white house has determined that leaks are coming from within their operation, can you tell us how they would go about determining that? how would they figure out that they have leakers in the white hou house? >> if there is a sense if there are unauthor iized disclosures information from the white house, i think it is imperative that the fbi be brought into the matter so that there can be an appropriate investigation to determine whether or not that conduct was criminal or not.
it should be an independent investigation that takes place, and they can do some efforts to try to contain any hemorrhaging of the information and it is the responsibility of law enfor enforcement and the bureau to investigate criminal leaks and classified information. >> thank you. i have some questions about the ic assessment itself and the declassified report, because there has been a lot of disinformation and confusion about the intelligence assessment, and it has been attacked also. so, mr. brennan, when did the ic start warning about the russian threat, and how was the assessment produced. you believed that the people working on it had the requisite skills and expr tease to write such an important assessment? >> 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. directed that there be a classified and unclassified version of that. the effort to uncover the russian activities took place prior to that end, and in both instances, i believe that the right people with the requisite array of oskills were involved and the initial collection effort and assessment effort about russian activities up to and even in the aftermath of the election in november, and then there was additional individuals who were added to the group that could draft that assessment so it could be produced in early january. >> and let me ask you, why and how did all three agencies come to the high degree of confidence about the assessment? >> i think that they rigorously interrogated the data. very careful and deep discussions about what the data
told them and there was a unanimous consensus of the data and there was one issue with the advocacy of mr. trump, but with the lone exception, it was a consensus assessment. >> and the report also talked extensively about the role of wikileaks in working with russia in the covert action in the campaign, and can you talk about that? >> i believe that the assessment says that the russians used a cut out for the wikileaks exposure, and when you are looking at the wikileaks releases over time, you can see that sometimes the they are coincided to certain events and always intended to undermine national security. and the russian protests that they are not workinging with wikileaks, and wikileaks protests from the russians are
on both parts disingenuous. >> and i am almost out of time, but to go back to the leaking from the white house or potential leaking, at what part would the president have on its own staffers and where that would cross the line? >> i am not a lawyer and you have so go to department of justice and the fbi and what statutory authorities they would have, and i am not aware. i don't know. >> thank you, director. >> and mr. stewart, five minu s minutes. >> thank you, and again, for the many years of service. i want the go quickly, because i want to reserve as much time with the task force and i want to go to talk to one point, and before i do, i want to add that i reviewed the raw intelligence of the cia regarding the analysis of whether they preferred mr. trump, but don't conclude that it is a high level
of come petence. i think that there should have been allowances made for the am by gu ti in that and also those who didn't share that it is a high degree of competence, but having said that, i think that we can agree that russia wants a weakened u.s. president. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> and in regard to secretary clinton, you said that it is to weaken her candidacy to be a weakened u.s. president, and so my question is, is that the same thing, they would want a weakened president trump? >> well, i think that they want to be able to weaken u.s. policies especially on the international stage. i do think that there is an interest on the part of the russians to improve the relations with the united states. and u do believe it is important to have relations between russia and moscow. >> and if they did approve, they
would want it on their terms, and that would be better accomplished regardless of who it is, wouldn't you say that is true? >> well, with one can argue the point that a stronger president is able to make accommodations out of strength as opposed to weakness. >> okay. i would agree with you that there are some circumstances, u but i think that in generaling a weakened u.s. and u.s. president is in their interest, and again, the active measures of the propaganda and the false reports don't end with the u.s. election, and it appropriate to warn the u.s. people that propaganda and fake news stories, and et cetera would be applicable today as well. and that they would be trying to weaken our u.s. president and trying to weaken foreign leaders as well as we are looking at the
upcoming elections, and would you agree with that? >> yes, generally. >> i defer to mr. goudy. >> why is it important to protect the identity of u.s. persons as part of the surveillance programs? >> because there is, i think, a 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 intelligence community goes the great lengths to cover the identities of u.s. persons if they happy to be included in the intelligence collections. >> for all of those reasons and others the -- and we are not talk about the leaks, but we are talking about masking within the intelligence community, right? we are not talk about reading it on the front page of the newspapers, but we are talking
about prohibitions that you place on yourself with respect to identifying the u.s. persons as part of the surveillance program, right? >> correct. >> all right. >> and you just cited 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 are seeking to unmask a u.s. person's name? >> that is correct. >> and have you ever requested that a u.s. person's name be unmasked? >> yes, i have. >> and have you also ooeither approved or denied requests of others that a u.s. person's name be unmasked? >> i only recall in my tenure of the cia any decision on a ma masking of someone else coming up to my level and 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 do not -- and i did not have visibility, and requests made across the government, and so i do not recall one that i was denied. >> do you recall any u.s. ambassadors asking that the name s be unmasked? >> i don't know. maybe it is ring iing a vague bell, but i could not answer with any confidence. >> do you remember what your last day on the job was, the date? >> it is noon on january 20th when i gave up my responsibilities as the director of the cia. >> on january 19th or up to noon on january 20th, did you make any unmasking requests? >> i do not believe i did. >> you did not make any requests on the last day that you were employed? >> no, i was not in the agency on the last day i was employed and i definitely know that on
the last day i was employed, i did not make such a request. >> thank you, mr. director. >> and your time has expired. mr. crawford, no, sorry, mr. hecht. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> want to make sure that you are awake down there. >> yes. all over it. thank you. i want to ask about the element of the investigation to which i have struggled. how do i explain why this should matter and why people should care? what words do i use to explain this to folks who have a lot of other things on their mind, and things like their kid, and like keeping their job, and like managing the debt and like caringing for an e in in ing fo, and that the russians hacked into a computer to potentially sway an election, and they will continue to do that, and by the way at minimal investment, and that is the precise question
that i put to then director comey and admiral rogers when they were with us in march, and i now pose it to you, sir, and not for my sake, but for amer a america's sake, but someone who has devoted your entire life to public service, and in your own words, please tell my constitch wepts, my neighbors why they should care and not just in washington, d.c., but in washington state, and texas and connecticut and points in between, and why should they care and why do you care, sir? >> well, for the last 241 years the nation and the citizens have cherished the freedom and the liberty upon which this country was founded upon. many brave americans have lost their lives to protect that freedom and liberty and lost their lives to protect the freedom and liberties of other peoples around the world. our ability to choose our
elected leaders as we see fit is, i believe, inalienable right that we must protect with all of the resources and authority and power, and the fact that the russians tried to influence resources and authority and power, and the fact that the russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the american people was not going to be realized by that election, i find outrageous and something that we need to with every last ounce of devotion to this country resist and try to act to prevent further instances of that. and so, therefore, i believe this is something that's critically important to every american. certainly, it's very important for 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 electing our democratic leaders. >> in other words, sir, because you love your country? >> that's the cliff note version
of it, yes. >> well, i believe much is at stake here, including the following, whether american -- whether america will have elections that 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, however, because this isn't just about russia, this is about us and our meddle. the famous american diplomat george kinen said at the outset of the cold war, much depends on the health and vigor of our own society. and, indeed, it does.
we're being tested. we're divided. we've gone to our respective corners and claimed our own set of facts. anger has become the currency of our civic discourse. reason has been replaced with decibel level. but you know what? people also yearn for a reaffirmation of the value of 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 paula, or having coffee in church. and do you know why? do you know why americans yearn for this? it's because it's what makes us -- makes it possible for us to be for something bigger than ourselves. and that is precisely what america is hoping, if not counting on us on this dais to
do, to be for something bigger for ourselves, and to put our country above party. and i pray that that's what we will do. thank you, sir, for your decades of service and for your presence here today. >> chair's time has expired. mr. crawford for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, i'll yield to the member from south carolina. mr. gowdy? >> do you know who commissioned the steele dossier? >> i don't. >> do you know if the fbi paid for any portion of the steele dossier? >> i don't know. i know that there are reports related to that, but i don't know. i don't have firsthand knowledge of that. >> do you know if any of the underlying allegations made in the steele dossier were tested, probed, examined, cross examined, whether the sources were examined for reliability, credibility?
>> i know that 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. >> do you know if the bureau ever relied on the steele dossier as part of any court filings, applications, petitions, pleadings? >> i have no awareness. >> did the cia rely on it? >> no. >> why not? >> it wasn't part of the corpus of intelligence information we had. it was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done. it was not. >> all right. this is my last line of question. i hope i have waited sufficiently long enough to ask you about leaks to not enflame the anger of our friends in the media who think republicans are
hyperfocused on it, so we'll just do it last. some of your colleagues have testified that our surveillance programs are critical, vital, indispensable to our national security. do you agree with their assessment? >> speaking generally, yes, some of those programs are absolutely essential and vital for national security. >> do you agree there's at least a tacit agreement between the american people and their government that they will allow us certain powers, certain freedoms in exchange to safeguard 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, yes. >> and you and i discussed some of those privacy protections, even within the intelligence community, as it relates to u.s. persons. and you've been very clear this morning. in fact, i've noted the times you've said u.s. persons. you could have inserted a name, but you did not. you had the discipline to say
"u.s. person," and that discipline is practiced throughout the intelligence community, unless and until there is a request to unmask that u.s. person's name. correct? >> i would like to think that discipline is still exercised, even if a request to unmask a name is made. >> all right. so, we protect u.s. persons even within those like yourself and director pompeo and admiral rogers and director comey and the people that we trust with awesome powers, we still impose some restrictions on them in that they have to request an unmasking. there has to be, i assume, a justification. you can't just wake up and say, hey, i feel like knowing who participated in x, y, and z, right? >> yes. >> so how do we get from that to names being on the front pages of certain major u.s. newspapers? >> it's 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 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 9th. the unclassified version of that report incorporated information as of december 29th. 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? >> 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? >> 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, 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? >> 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? >> yes, it was a dni-produced assessment. >> so it's unclear whether anyone else on the nsc or white house was part of the approval or review process, from the knowledge that you have? >> they naturally would not have been part of any type of review or editing process, no. >> what happened between december 29th, the date of the last information listed in the ica and january 6th, when the report was published? was there any additional edits or approval process outside of the norm? >> 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 in 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? >> there were ongoing assessments that were done, and as i mentioned in my open 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 29th in response to the russian government's harassment of u.s. officials and cyberoperations, which declared per so nongrat that operatives and the closure of two russian compounds in the u.s. did you recommend any action to the administration prior to december 29th or prior to the november election? >> 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 29th to the administration? >> 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? >> when was that? >> last year in 2016. >> it was a collection priority, yes. >> it was? so does that fall under the broader counterintelligence collection priorities of the cia? >> yes, counterintelligence, as well as russia collection efforts. >> what is ops intel? >> 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? >> 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 6th? >> 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. 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? >> 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 the reaction against us? and i only have seven seconds. >> that's why it's easy for me to say refer to closed session as well as other officials. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i misspoke earlier in response to mr. gowdy. i was at cia headquarters on the morning of january 20th. i went there to collect some final personal materials, as well as to pay my last respects to a memorial wall. 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 russians 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 not to 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.
president trump released his 2018 budget plan today. the $4.1 trillion spending plan relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts in a range of support programs for low-income individuals to balance the government's books over the next decade. the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins october 1st was delivered to congress today. congressional republican leaders say they'll use this as a blueprint as they'll write federal spending legislation.
a house homeland security subcommittee takes a look today at ongoing efforts to identify and remove individuals who have overstayed their visa and pose a national security and public safety risk to the u.s. officials from the homeland security department are among the witnesses. that's live at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. you can also watch online at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. tomorrow the house budget committee will hold a hearing on president trump's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. white house budget director mick mulvaney will testify. that's live beginning at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. and on thursday the senate finance committee hears from secretary treasury steve mnuchin on the president's proposed 2018 budget. he'll explain the treasury department budget, as well as the tax reform plan. our live coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3.
never let anyone define you. and that is the first lesson i want to leave you with. only you define who you are. only you. >> our hearts should be open, not just to falling in love, but to the world. we need to look. we need to care. and we need to contribute. >> don't ever let anyone tell you that your dreams are silly. and if you have to look back on your life, regret the things that you did and not what you didn't do. >> nothing stays still. things will change. the question for you is whether and how you will participate in the process of creative change. >> just a few past commencement speeches from the c-span video library. and watch more of this year's commencement speeches on saturday, may 27th, monday, may 29th, memorial day, and june 3rd
on c-span and c-span.org. former cia director john brennan says the intelligence agency came across connections between u.s. citizens in the trump campaign and russia in the 2016 election. however, he didn't say who those people are. we're going to show you that testimony again now starting with former director brennan's opening statement dealing with the russia investigation.