Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan on Monday insisted that neither he nor other U.S. officials were behind the leak of an unsubstantiated dossier alleging that Donald Trump’s campaign had links to the Kremlin and that Russian operatives had acquired personally compromising information about the President-elect. A frustrated Brennan told the Wall Street Journal that it was “very repugnant” for Donald Trump to accuse the U.S. intelligence community of creating an atmosphere akin to Nazi Germany.
Last week, CNN reported that the dossier was included in the intelligence briefing delivered to Trump and President Barack Obama and BuzzFeed published the 35-page document, prompting Trump to tweet that the intelligence community was trying to take “one last shot at me” by releasing it. He asked if we were “living in Nazi Germany,” and, on Sunday, if Brennan himself was “the leaker of Fake News.”
Brennan told the Journal he was unconcerned about the knock on himself, and noted that it was “the right and indeed the responsibility” of the president to challenge the conclusions of intelligence officials. What rankled him was the broader attacks on the integrity of the thousands of employees who compose the nation’s seven intelligence agencies.
“Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,” Brennan said. “Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant, and I will forever stand up for the integrity and patriotism of my officers who have done much over the years to sacrifice for their fellow citizens.”
Brennan noted that the dossier, which was compiled from memos put together by a former British intelligence officer, was “not intelligence community information,” and that he had “no interest” in raising its profile further. He told the Journal it was only included in the briefings on Russian interference in the election to ensure that Trump knew of the racy allegations it contained.
“The feeling was wanting to make sure that given the very salacious nature of it, the president-elect was at least aware of it so he could take it into account and do what needs to be done,” Brennan said.
The Senate held a confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick to replace Brennan, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), last week.