tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 23, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
the tip of the spear. he said himself in 2013, and i quote, if you don't fully fund the state department, i need to buy more ammunition. end quote. i am concerned, as we all are, sir, when we see proposed cuts of 1/3 to the state department, 1/3 to the entire budget -- their entire budget and the announcement that we, the united states of america, no longer champion human rights around the world, we are concerned with efforts to undercut our intelligence professionals, comparing them at times to nazis. comments by our own leaders. we can't let vladimir putin continue to undermine us by doing exactly what he wants us to do. generations of intelligence, diplomatic and military profession professionals, have fought for our independence and the march of democracy around the world. i don't think, sir, and neither do the rest of us, that we can -- we can't let their important work prove to be nothing. i thank you for your commitment and service to our great nation. i yield back, mr. chairman.
>> mr. director, i want to say that i have been up to the agency to review those documents that you had referred to before, and i look forward to talking about the information therein in our closed session. i also want to mention something that we had talked with admiral rogers and mr. comey for in our last -- or two open sessions ago from the house intelligence committee. it's one that sort of got a lot of hoopla on tv with regard to our side of the aisle here trying to make a diversionary tactic when we talk about the importance of what leaks do with our intelligence community. i just want to ask you if you agree with admiral rogers, that when high level intelligence community officials -- i think some news reports had almost 20 people leaking classified
information to the press -- if you agree with admiral rogers that that kind of leaking, with our ability to have to reauthorize things like 702 so we can gather intelligence on bad guys, for political purposes, if you agree that kind of activity actually hurts our national security? >> i think the unauthorized disclosure of classified information at all times hurts the national security. compromises our intelligence capabilities. and needs to be investigated. it needs to stop. absolutely. >> thank you. with regard to more specific questions, with regard to hacking, when did you learn of the russian hacking in the last election cycle? >> in the -- >> roughly. >> in the summer. >> and did you at that time notify the -- both campaigns that you -- or did somebody at the agency or are you aware that both campaigns were notified at that time that there was an effort by the russians to hack
and try to influence the political campaign of last year? >> i was aware that both campaigns were being contacted and notified about it, yes. >> you said, i believe, to mr. gow gowdy, that you believe there was information of conct between people in the trump universe and moscow, wther or not that was collusion or not remains to be seen. you said you didn't know if it was actual collusion. i think your words were, i don't know. can you tell us whether or not, from the information that you've looked at, it looks like the intelligence shows that moscow was actually rooting for donald trump or were they rooting against hillary clinton? and why? >> i think my assessment is it was both. i think that they -- at different times in the campaign, they felt that the fortunates of one candidate or the other was
going up or down. i think that they, most of the time, believes that secretary clinton was going to win the election. so their efforts to den grahurtd her eventual presidency. also, it is an amessessment the clearly had a more favorable view toward mr. trump. >> you're listening to former cia chief john brennan testifying on capitol hill about what he understood to be the russian interference into the 2016 election. he said that when he left office, he had come to terms with the fact that the russians had extensively interfered in the election. he's discussing that now in reference to questions from lawmakers. kasie hunt has been listening to this testimony. this and other testimony that's been going on all morning. kasie, is there anything that surprised you from what you've heard? we have heard these implications
before, obviously. >> we have, ali, but this is the first time that brennan has spoken publiy about what he knew when he was serving as the intelligence chief for the u.s. he says that as you noted, that he was aware of information and intelligence that showed that there were contacts between russian officials and the trump campaign. but he also said critically that they weren't able to determine before president obama left office whether collusion existed. he talked a little bit about the fact that if you were potentially a member of the trump campaign or any person could be speaking to a russian official, know that they were an official with the russian government, but be unaware that there was an intelligence motive or a tie to russian intelligence services, that that person was looking out for at the time. so that is where the inquiry was going. brennan, of course, said they
hadn't reached that conclusion yet. that there was not yet a definitive evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and these russian officials. so this is, yes, what has been widely reported, but it is critical that this is kind of a confirmation on the record from the former cia director that this was the case. now, brennan talk add little more openly about some of these issues we've been talking about for the past couple of weeks. dan coates, the direct r of national intelligence who was asked, of course, about the report that is the president asked him to push back against the idea that there was an investigation into any of this, once director james comey acknowledged that the fbi was investigating this. he refused to answer questions, saying, look, i can't talk about reports. these would be confidential questions from the president. less information from him there. but he was asked about this by john mccain. of course, the rublican chairman of the armed services committee. unlikely that this will be the last we hear of it on capitol hill. >> interestingly enough, he did
say, he thought it'd be unthwarted to have those conversations. it does indicate these hearings are going to have some resistance from people who know things about talking about it in public. >> yeah. look, i think that's right. and one thing here that is important to remember, and we're still watching it shake out, as these kind of days and hours go by, and that is the new presence of mr. mueller, the special counsel investigating this in the wake of mr. comey's firing. you've seen former director com comey, as well as others, say they don't want to come and testify before they have the chance to speak to mueller about his investigation. the reality is, somebody like comey potentially a witness in mueller's investigation. so if he were to say something in public, it could contaminate that investigation. >> right. >> right now, we know that comey is supposed to testify in public
after memorial day. interesting to see if that holds once he's talked to mr. mueller. that's another kind of angle of this conversation here. >> all right. kasie, stand by. we want to listen to congresswoman jackie speier. >> i don't know the answer to that question. >> in 2015 alone, there were 106 visas gra s granted to russians investing in the united states in amounts of money of $500,000 or more. their eb5 visas. >> i'm unaware of that. >> so as a general rule within the cia, you did not investigate those who are granted eb5 visas? >> it may be come across our screen. we may have intelligence on it. i'm not personally aware of a lot of the information that the cia had collected. >> in 2014, the united states, the european union and canada imposed sanctions on russia in response to their invasion of
ukraine and crimea. these sanctions greatly restricted the flow of private money to the russian government and business leaders. how much pain do you think those sanctions have caused russia? >> i think it has been increasingly painful, and i believe that one of mr. putin's priorities has been, actually over the last year, to try to get those sanctions reduced. his strategy is getting european countries to separate from the u.s.-led sanction effort. that's why i think as part of this effort, trehey were tryingo drive a wedge between u.s. and washington. some of the unfavorable characterizations of secretary clinton indicated she was an unreliable leader and there'd be problems for europe. i think mr. putin wants sanctions removed sooner rather than later. >> you'd say it is one of his top, if not very top, policy objectives in dealing with the united states?
>> it certainly is a key one, but it is more dealing with us indirectly by trying to wean the european nations off of the sanctions. >> so the ceo of exxonmobil, rex tillerson, were doing a deal in russia. it was a big deal. the sanctions imposed in 2014 shut that down, is that correct? >> i believe so. i'm not sure. >> so, again, it would make the case that the impacts on russia are grave in terms of the sanctions. let me ask you another question. there have been reports in newspapers that british and dutch intelligence had provide
informatioabout meetings in euroan cities between russian officials associated with president putin and associates of the trump campaign. is that how you first found out about those meetings? >> i'm not going to talk about anything that our international partners might have shared with us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. brennan for being here. because of your long history with the agency, i think that you're the perfect expert to give us some historical p perspective on how long russia has been at this, this active measure campaign. how long would you say that russia and the soviet union sought to undermine the process of our democratic framework here in the west? >> for many, many decades. >> for decades. and did russia attempt to collect intelligence on specific
u.s. presidential candidates or target political parties or organizations in the u.s. before 2016, or was it more of a general campaign? >> i would defer to the bureau, which would have the investigative lead in terms of what might be happening here on u.s. soil. but i know that, again, the russians try to cultivate relationships with individuals. again, i would defer to the bureau. >> thank you. can you provide any examples of past russian or soviet active measures, as they're called? >> well, it runs the gamut from targeted assassinations of dissidents, of members of the media, of -- inside of russia as well as ouide of russia. to getting people on their payroll in foreign governments, to carry out their actions.
to their efforts in ukraine, as not just the military takeov takeover of crimea, but their basic intervention into eastern ukrai ukraine, with their intelligence and paramilitary services. to the propaganda and disinformation, as they try to tarnish individuals. as well as the use of blackmail, that they would be able to then leverage for their own purposes. so it really does run the gamut from the most heinous and violent to that which is much more subtle and insidious. >> the scope is alarming. how does the kremlin's attempt to influence this previous election compare to soviet active measures during the cold war? what has changed in their stage
craft? >> i think when we talk about u.s. presidential elections, we know the russians were trying to influence outcomes, as well as perceptions back to the 1960s, i believe. but again, the cyber environment now really provides so much more opportunity for a variety of trouble making, and the russians take advantage of it. so the ability to go in and to collect and to use different types ofechniques, spearfishing, whatever else, so they can then gain access to people's e-mails, computer systems and networks, it is something that the russians are quite adept at. what we've seen recently is the collaboration between russian intelligence services and organized criminals. i think it was in march the department of justice indicted four individuals. well-known organized criminal hackers because of the pillaging
of the yahoo! servers. that collaboration between russian intelligence and russian organized crime, i think, is more and more of a concern. so they can promote their respective interests. this is something i think the russians are looking for new opportunities to partner with whomever they can in order to do what they want to do. >> and as a young analyst, you probably had a lot of dealings with the head of the kgb in the early '80s. he was very focused on this active measure campaign. >> well, yes. as a young analyst, i wouldn't have had direct interaction, but i have studied russian intelligence activities over the years and have seen it. again, manifested many different of our counterintelligence cases, in how they've been able to get people, including inside of cia, to become treasonists. and frequently, individuals who go along the path do not even really they're along that path until it gets to the a bit too
late. that's why, again, my radar goes up early when i see certain things that i know the russians are trying to do and i don't know whether or not the targets of their efforts are as mindful of the russian intentions as th needo be. >> thank you for your service. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we have been listening to continued testimony from john br brennan, the former chief of the cia. his conclusions are when he left office prior to the trump administration coming in, or just at the beginning of it, he had concluded the russians had interfered extensively in the 2016 elections. he's been describing the methodology that they used. i want to come back to the russia investigation in a little bit. i want to move now to breaking developments in what's being called a cowardly act of terrorism outside the ariana grande concert in england, manchester. it's left 22 people dead including children. one reported as young as 8 years
old. the suspect and suicide bomber is being identified as horrifying new videos are emerging of the moment of the explosion, sending teens already heading toward the exits running and screaming. >> oh, my god. >> what's going on? >> what just happened? >> what's going on? >> oh, my god! >> isis is claiming responsibility for the attack, though dan coates, the director of national intelligence said a short time ago in those meetings we were watching that the u.s. has not yet verified that connection. meantime, desperate parents are still searching for their missing children, calling nearby hospitals and hotels and checking social media for any signs of their teenagers. >> i'm rocked at the moment because i don't know where she is. i don't know if she's alive even yet. >> and how, in what ways have you tried to contact her? >> we tried her facebook.
people arewiering her, instagramming her, facetiming her. >> wow. president trump, who is in the middle east right now, trying to broker peace while taking a hard line on terrorism, condemned the attack. >> thank you. dozens of innocent people, beautiful, young children, savagely murdered in this heinous attack upon humanity. i repeat again that we must drive out the terrorists and the extremists from our midst. obliterate this evil ideology and protect and defend our citizens and people of the world. >> we've got a team of reporters and security analysts here with me to break it all down. let's begin with matt in manchester right now. what do we know about the alleged bomber and the arrest made earlier today? >> thanks, ali.
abetti, a 22-year-old, and british media are saying he is a british national. we don't know that for sure. nbc has not koob rate ecorrobor. we do know that isis has claimed responsibility for this attack. they've done so through the usual channels. through their associated media outlets and their twitter presence. now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there was a direct connection between sort of isis corporate in iraq and syria and this actual individual attacker. these declarations of responsibility, they could mean just about anything, ali. i know you've been covering these stories so you know that there's varying degrees to which a lot of experts are willing to make an association between these lone wolf attackers and between isis and their selflared caphate in iraq and syria. though this attack did seem quite a bit more sophisticate
and had may have taken a little more thing than what you saw in may, where in westminster, in front of parliament, a man rammed his car into several pedestrians and then stabbed to death a police officer. isis claimed responsibility for that, as well. you mentioned also some of the arrest warrants that have been issued. there have been two warren war issued. one was a 23-year-old man arrested in manchester. again, going back to the attack, there were nearly a does anne rests made after that attack. all of the men and women were eventually let go. arrests like this doesn't necessarily mean that this attacker had help. >> you and i spend too much time talking about attacks after they happen. it's been paris. it's been london. now this one. matt, thanks for your reporting. we'll come back to you in a little while. joining me to talk about the things matt brought up, ali, the former fbi special agent investigated cases including the
east african embassy bombings and the attack in yemen. we have the correspondent from the "new york times" who focuses on al qaeda and isis. and from scotland yard, brian. let me start with you. we have this claim that matt said, isis claiming responsibility. a suspected bomber dead. one person in custody. other arrest warrants, we don't know where they stand, and we don't know for sure whether -- what the connections are. take us through what investigators are doing now to track down how this attack was formed anda ee eed and carri ou >> it's been reported in this grotesque attack the police have established the identify of the bomber. if that has taken place at this early stage in the inquiry, it'll yield lines of investigation to be followed. they will be everything that is feasibly possible in terms of
family, friends, business associates, casual acquaintances, people that he or she is known to have had a close association with, but also with people he has a virtual relationship with. i think that is increasingly important aspect and line of investigation that will be pursued. just who are the people in the network of this particular individual? no stone will be left unturned, to find everybody connected with this disgusting and grotesque attack. >> brian, stand by. i want to go back into the hearing. congressman michael turner is asking questions of john brennan. >> we see contacts, interactions between russian officials and u.s. persons all the time. it is when it is in the context that there's something else going on. so we knew at the time that the russians were involved in this effort to try to interfere in our election. with that back drop, increasing indications that they were involved in that, seeing these types of contacts and
interactions during the same period of time raised my 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 that were asked of me. i'm trying to be as clear as possible in terms of what i know, what i assess and what i can say. >> you'd say that is a misrepresentation of your statement, yes? >> i would say that it was not an accurate portrayal of my statement. absolutely. it was inconsistent. >> if someone saw what you saw and only what you saw, with respect to the contacts, if they looked at the intelligence you saw when you said it might have been benign or not benign, and they characterize what they saw as having been evidence of
collusion or collaboration, they'd be misrepresenting the intelligence, would they not? >> i don't know what else they have seen that could corroborate or -- >> only what you saw. they'd be misrepresenting the intelligence, correct? >> i presume they would be misrepresenting what it is that i saw. again, i don't know -- >> thank you. i appreciate that. i do believe that there are members of this committee that deserve that council. your specificity tells us what we are reviewing. i believe some reviewed what you have seen and represent it to the public absolutely incorrectly and misrepresent it. i'd like to yield the remainder of my time to mr. gowdy. >> sorry. i was colluding with my friend from florida. i want to pick up where -- well,
i want to do this. the last time you and i talked, you had referred information to the bureau. am i right? what you had seen, you referred to the bureau. >> okay. i don't know if that was the last thing we talk ed about, bu i'll grant you -- >> one of the last. >> yes. >> it wasn't a trick question. one of the last things, you referred to the bureau what you saw, is that fair? >> yes. >> did you also defer to director clapper? >> not everything that was shared with the bureau is shared with director clapper. >> and why would that be? >> because on counterintelligence matters dealing with u.s. person information of very sensitive nature, the office of the dni and the dni does not have that type of operational responsibility. what we try to do is make sure there is as little exposure of that information as possible. i would keep general clapper
informed about the nature of my engagements, but the materials that were shared with the bureau would not have been shared with the dni. >> do you know if the bureau opened a matter -- first of all, when was that, with as much specificity as you can give us? when did you refer that information to the bureau? >> would you accept last year as the answer? it was during the summertime. >> okay. >> even previous. there are ongoing sharing of information with the pure roh. so it was over the course of the year. >> right. in conclusion, because i'm out of time, 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 wasn't the only period of time where such information was shared with the bureau. >> good enough. thanks. >> thank you, chair. thank you, director. since you pass that information
to the fbi director, have you reviewed the fbi's development of that evidence or any other evidence? >> i'm unaware of what the bureau has done with that information, and i have no knowledge of anything even that the ajgency has done since january 20th. >> are you awe ware of whatwas information? >> i watched comey's hearing and comments and have gone through his transcript. i'm aware of it, yes. >> are you aware of what the fbi briefed this committee in classified setting with respect to evidence of collusion? >> i'm not. totally not. >> director, may 10th of this year produced an unsettling image inside the oval office. president trump with kislyak and foreign minister lavrov. he shared code word with russia, putting at risk u.s. lives and jeopardizing sources and methods.
director, are the russians worthy of receiving such information in the manner alleged? >> believe it is important for the u.s. intelligence to provide to any of our foreign partners any information related to terrorist threats, to foreign countries or their citizens. that's why i authorized the vision of classified information numerous times to the russians that i believe saved russian lives. as i mentioned, there is an appropriate manner and procedure for doing that. they need to be followed scrupulously so there is not going to be an undermining of those collection capabilities and systems. >> director, you warned that there would be consequences if they meddled in our elections. when you look at the picture, the manner in which allegedly classified information was conveyed to the russians, do you see consequences for their actions? >> again, i don't know the totality of the actions that have been taken against the russians.
i know that, again, the obama administration in january took actions against them. so i believe that depending on how this investigation proceeds by the fbi and the special counsel, as well as by the work of the committees, and i agree the appointment of a special counsel should not in any way stop these intelligence committees in the senate and house from doing its work, because you're supposed to be looking at what to do to strengthen the system so we're better prepared for it. i believe consequences need to be levied on the russians for it, but i'd defer to policymakers in congress to decide that. >> with respect to the contacts between russi and trump campaign persons that you referenced earlier, and whether they were innocent or benign contacts, when you see a multiplicity of contacts between one country and one campaign, when does it, in your mind, when you're deciding whether to refer to the fbi, when does it move
from mere coincidences to a pattern? in this case, when did it? >> i guess it is all generous as far as the instances of concern. as i said, it was a back drop there of known russian efforts to interfere in our election. there were a variety of activities taking place that wondered whether or not they were part of that campaign and strategy. we don't have a totality of insight into all the things the russians were doing. i left it up to the professionals, the counterintelligence and russian experts, to make sure that whatever information that they deemed appropriate to share with the bureau, because it could be relevant to their investnvestig, they did that. i wasn't the one to make decisions, share this with the bureau, share this. it was based on a long held practices on the part of the cia to make sure we're not holding back from our bureau colleagues.
>> director, there is what is referred to as consciousness of guilt evidence. that's 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 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've referred to between russia and trump campaign officials, are you aware of any of those u.s. persons who had contacts with russia either making false statements about those contacts or failing to disclose those contacts? >> i think that's 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 intelligence official this number of contacts between a
foreign adversary and a presidential campaign? >> i think our collection systems have increased over the years. so i don't know whether or not it's a result of better collection or because there were more contacts this time. i just do not have a basis to make a determination about that. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. brennan for being here today and your candor in this conversation. have you ever been asked to give your opinion to the fbi about whether intelligence you gathered should lead to an investigation? do they engage you in that way? you said there's fbi engaged in the cia. i didn't know if they have an opinion or ask your opinion on that. >> well, we would make a referral to the department of justice in many instances when we saw classified information appear in the public and an
unauthorized fashion. that referral is made to the department of justice to determine whether or not there should be a follow up investigation. it is the fbi that takes a look at the circumstances and makes the decision. that would be the referral we make. >> okay. and we've pretty much accomplished that russia/soviet union tried to meddle with our elections for years. you came in as director after the last election. which leads me to something earlier. the rules of the russian playbook or whatever they go by, they try to build relationships especially with influential americans. that's what you agree with, one of the things you look out for, these relationships. at least that's what i believe you said. i'm trying to understand process. what sets up a red flag? what type of conversation do you hear that says, hmm, maybe we need to take a little bit further look into this or refer it on? i can't help but think back to therevious election when we
see on video tape president obama says, this is my last election. after my election, i have more flexibility. and the president he was speaking to said, i understand. i'll transmit this information to vladimir, and i stand with you. talk about the playbook, it stands like, i'll stand with you, is a strong relationship. this is an influential american and we're talking openly about elections. i'm not trying to launch another investigation here, but i'm concerned about the process. so you weren't sitting as the director at that time, but you know, as mr. swalwell used the term, it is a disturbing image to americans, what kind of relationship. would you question this interaction where that type of conversation is taking place? again, i'm trying to understand process, of how it moves from cia to fbi to doj. >> that was a direct conversation between the heads of government and state between two countries.
i'm not going to respond to your -- >> i think that's what we're -- again, i'm trying to get some understanding of what sets off a red flag. you know, when do you refer to law enforcement? i know you weren't the director at that time. boy, that hits all the things you were talking about in the playbook. elections, influential american and building a relationship. trying to get to the substance there. but it's interesting you can't respond to a personal conversation, but this is what we're talking about. anyway, i yield back. >> i try to avoid getting involved in political issues, partisan issues, so with respect to it, i would recognize that question. >> thank you. with that, i yield the remainder of my time to mr. gowdy. >> thank you, doctor. congressman rooney and you were discussing generally the motive. i think it is -- let's just
assume it is given that the russians did not like secretary clinton or president obama for that matter. desired negative things for her. but they also thought she was going to win. was it your testimony that all of the information stolen was not publicly disseminated? >> no. i said if they had collected additional information, as i think was implied, that the efforts to try to further hurt her, if she became president, that information, any type of derogatory information about her, could have been husbanded for a post-election period. >> do you know if negative information was to not disseminate? >> i think it'd be inappropriate to talk about in an open session like this. >> is it inappropriate to -- i'm
not asking you aboabout the nat it. is it inappropriate to ask whether or not the information was husbanded but not disseminated. >> my resququest is to talk abo it in closed session. >> we'll tk about nitit in a little bit. >> tha you for your testimony here today. over the course of the last several months, the intelligence agencies have been beraidberber by the president about the leaks. >> i know intelligence officials have been responsible for the leaks, yes. >> are you aware of a story yesterday that said, quote, three white house staffers have been identified for leaking classified info. potus will fire, quote, multiple people when he returns to d.c. >> i'm unaware of that story or the facts, if any, underneath it. >> if the story is true, and we
don't know whether it is or not, but if it's true, that there may have been people who leaked classified info at the white house, first, it seems like an obvious question and should be an obvious answer, are there people at the white house that would have classified information they could leak to journalists? >> the white house officials, if they have the appropriate security clearances based on their position, would be access to classified information, yes. >> okay. the second part of that is if the white house has determined that leaks are coming from within their operation, could you tell us how they'd go about determining that? how would they figure out they have leakers in the white house? >> if there is a sense that there are unauthorized disclosures of classified 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.
there shouldn't be just an independent investigation that takes place. they can do some efforts to try to contain any hemorrhaging of information, but it really is the responsibility of law enforcement and the bureau to investigate criminal leaks of classified information. >> thank you. now, i have some questions about the ic assessments itself and the declassified report. there has been a lot of disinformation and confusion about the intelligence assessment, and it's been attacked, also. so mr. brennan, when did the ic start warning about the russian threat, and how was the assessment produced? do you believe the people working on it had the requisite skills and expertise to write such an important assess snmt. >> the intelligence community assessment that was provided in early january was initiated by president obama in early december to ensure that there was going to be a full accounting of russian
activities. and directed there be a classified and unclassified version of that. the effort to uncover the russian activities took place prior to that. in both instances, i believe thathe right people with the requisite array of skills were involved in the initial collection effort and assessment effort of russian activities up to and even in the aftermath of the election in november. then there was additional individuals added to a group that could draft that assessment so that it could be produced in early january. >> let me ask you, how and why did all three ajengencies come a high degree of confidence about their assessment? >> i they they rigorously inter dp ga -- interrogated the data. deep discussions about what the data told them about their
assessments and so, therefore, there was a unanimous consensus among the three agencies and the odni about the judge its. there was one variation, as far as the nsa's confident level, in terms of the advocacy for mr. trump. but with that lone exception, it was a consensus assessment. >> and the report also talked extensively about the role of wikileaks in working with russia on this covert action campaign. can you talk a bit more about how they fit in? >> as the assessment says, the russians used a cutout for the wikileaks exposure. when you look at the wikileaks releases over time, you can see that sometimes they are timed to coincide with certain events, and i think they're always intended to undermine u.s. national security. russn protests that they are not working with wikileaks and wikileaks protests it did not work with russians, i think on
both parts are disengenerojendi disingenuous. >> what methods would the white house have to engage in on its own staffers that would be legal and where might they cross the line? >> i am not a lawyer. you'd have to go to the department of justice and the fbi in terms of what statutory authorities they might have, which i just am not aware. i don't know. >> thank you, director. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, again, for your years of service. i'll go quickly to reserve as much time for the task poforce d the attorneys. i have a point worth making. before i do, i'll add that i've reviewed the raw intelligence of the cia directing the analysis of whether they preferred mr. trump. i don't agree with the conclusion, particularly that it
is such a high level of confidence. i just think there should have been allowances made for some of the ambiguity in that, special for those who didn't also share in the conclusion that it was a high dedpree gree of confidence. i think we can agree that russia wanted a weakened u.s. president. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> certainly. in regards to secretary clinton, you've said the primary goal seemed to be to weaken her candidacy so she'd be a weakened u.s. president. my question to you is would the same thing be true now? would russia want a weakened u.s. president mr. trump? >> i think 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 relations with the united states. i do think it is important that relations between washington and moscow be improved because -- >> even if they want improved relationships, they would want
that on their terms as much as able, and that would be better accomplished by having a weakened u.s. president, regardless of who it is. wouldn't you say that's true? >> one can answer the point that a stronger president is able to make -- have an accommodation with russia out of strength as opposed to out of weakness. >> okay. i would agree with you that there are some circumstances. think in general, they want a weakened u.s., weakened western influence in the world and a weakened u.s. president is in their interests. i'll conclude with this. these active measures, the propaganda, the false news reports, et cetera, they don't end with the u.s. election. i think it's appropriate that we would warn the american people that these active measures, again, propaganda, fake news stories, et cetera, would be applicable today, as well, and that they would be trying to weaken our u.s. president and foreign leaders, as well, as we
look at upcoming elections. would you agree with that. >> in general, yes. >> i yield the remainder of my time over to, i believe, mr. gowdy. >> director brennan, why is it important to protect the identify of u.-- identity of u. persons as part of our surveillance programs? >> because there is 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. therefore, respecting that privacy of u.s. citizens, the intelligence community goes to great lengths to cover the identities of u.s. persons if they happen to be included in intelligence collection. >> for all those reasons and others, and we're not talking about leaks, we're talking about masking within the intelligence community, right? we're not talking about reading
it on the front page of newspapers. we're talking about prohibitions that you place on yourself with respect to identifying u.s. persons as part of our surveillance programs, correct? >> correct. >> you just cited some of the very important reasons that we do that. i would assume that there is a process, a protocol, under which the intelligence community goes through if they seek to unmask a u.s. person's name. >> that's correct. >> have you ever requested that a u.s. person's name be unmasked? >> yes, i have. >> have you also either approved or denied requests of others that a u.s. person's name be unmasked? >> i don't recall in my tenure at the cia any decision on unmasking for someone else coming up to my level. it would have been -- that decision would have been made at a lower level within the agency. >> are you aware of any request within the community that were
denied? >> i do not -- i didn't have visibility to the requests being made across the government, so i don't recall one that i was denied. >> do you recall any u.s. ambassadors asking that names be unmasked? >> i don't -- i don't know. maybe it is ringing a vague bell, but i'm not -- i could not answer with any confidence. >> do you remember what your last day on the job was at the cia? what was the date? >> it was noon on january 20th when i gave up my responsibilities as direct r of cia. >> on january 19th or up until noon on january the 20th, did you make any unmasking requests? >> i do not believe i did. >> so 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. i definitely know the last day i
was employed, i definitely did not make such a request. >> thank you, director. >> mr. crawford, five minutes. i'm sorry. i want to make sure you're awake down there. >> all over it. thank you, sir. director brennan, thanks for being here. i want to say there is an element to this russian inve investigation in which i've struggled and it is this, 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, things like their kids, like keeping their job, like managing their debt, like caring for an elderly parent? why should people care that the russians hacked into our computers and then selectively disclosed that information with the express purpose of swaying an election? why should they care that the russians are doing this in other western democracys and will continue to do so, by the way, at minimum investment? that's the precise question that
i actually put to then-director comey and admiral rogers when they were with us in march. i now pose it to you, sir. so not for my sake, but for america's sake, as someone who has devoted your entire life to public service, in your own words, please tell my constituents, my neighbors, why they should care, not just here in washington, d.c., but in washington state and texas and connecticut and points in between, why should they care? why do you care, sir? >> because for the last 241 years, this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty this country was founded on. many, many americans, brave americans over the years, have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty. they've lost their lives also to protect the freedom and liberties of other countries and other people's around the world. our ability to choose our
elected leaders as we see fit is, i believe, an inalienable right we must protect with all our resources and all our authority and power. and the fact that the russians tried to influence to influence election, so that the will of the american people would not be realized, i find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country react and devote to if your honor instances of that. it is very important to me for my children and grandchildren to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and sper fear in the foundation stone of this country. >> because you love your country? >> i believe much is at stake
whether america will have elections we have been able to trust, measures of self determination, free from foreign intern -- interference. if we are strong enough to be rule by law. if we will hold those accountable. if we will stand up for democracy or enable to insidious autocracy. much is at stake. it is just about russia, it is about us. and our medatal. at the outset of the cold war it was said that much depends on the health and vigor of our society, and indeed it does.
we have been tested and divided. reason has been replaced with decemberb decemb decible level. people yearn for the narrative of america which is the very thing that makes us great. that is what i'm hearing when i'm home. and you know why? do you know why americans yearn for this? it's because it 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, to do. to be for something bigger than
ourselves and to put our country above party and i pray that is what we will do. thank you, sir, for your decades of service and your presence here today. >> mr. crawford, your 5:00. >> i will yield to the friend of south carolina. >> do you know who commissioned this steel dossier? >> i don't. >> do you know if the fbi paid for any portion? >> i don't know, i know there are press reports related to that, but i have no firsthand knowledge of that. >> do you know if any of the under lying documents were cross examined or if the sources were examined for liability? >> i know there was efforts made
by the bureau made to try and understand whether or not any of the information in that was valid, but i don't have any first had knowledge of it. court filings, applications, petitions, pleadings -- >> i have no awareness. >> it was not part of the corpus of intelligence information that 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, my last line of conference, i hope i have waited sufficiently long enough to ask you about leaks to not inflame the anger of our friends in media that think the republicans are hyper focused on it, we'll
just do it last. some of your colleagues testified that our surveillance programs are critical, vital, indispensable to our national security, do you agree with their assessment? >> speaking generally, yes. they are absolutely essential and vital. >> do you agree there is an agreement that they will allow us certain powers and freedoms in exchange for safeguards t-- safeguarding protected. >> i assume there would be an assumption of privacy. >> even in the intelligence community as it relates to u.s. persons. i noted the times you said that u.s. persons. you could have inserted a name, but you had the discipline to say u.s. person.
and that is practiced unless and until there is a request to unmask that u.s. person's name, correct? >> i would like to think that discipline is used even if there is a request for a u.s. person to be unmasked. >> so people like you, the people that we trust with awesome powers, we still have some restrictions on them. you can't just wake up saying i want to know 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 --
>> someone sharing unauthorized information with unverified members of the media. >> well, my friend i was impressed not only with this eloquence, but the conviction with with he just spoke. but i have other colleagues, not from washington, that tend to minimize the nature of leaks and the weighing and balance that needs to take place. how interesting we may find the under lying names. unfortunately by members of this body to mitigate, explain away, and minimize what is does to the surveillance programs to have leaks of classified information.
so i will finish with this. i believe there is some surveillance program that's are up for reauthorization. what do you say to the names unmasked to people in their last day of office, and appearing on the front pages of major u.s. newspapers, let's reauthorize this again, help us make that argument when we go home. >> you and your colleagues here have to make that argument based on the merits of the program and national security. if there had been any abuses of the excesses to that information, because of the number of people involved or for those who were, in fact, violating their oath of office. that you and your colleagues do everything possible to make sure you work with the executive
branch to minimize that danger. >> 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 activities and intentions on december 9th. it incorporate d on december 29th. in your experience what is the average time is typically takes to produce an ic assessment. >> it can range from days and months to settle the manner. >> that is it for me, we will continue coverage of this right now with "andrea mitchell
reports." >> thank you ali. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" terror in manchester. isis claiming responsibility. a suicide bombing that killed 22 people, mostly young people outside of an ariana grande concert. >> the lights came up after the concert and everyone was getting up to leave, and there was a big bang. >> we heard a bang and i just ran for my life. >> i'm heart broken at the moment because i don't know if she is alive or where she is, just phone me, olivia, and come home, please. >> here in israel and the west bank today, president trump offering prayers for the