How John Brennan helped keep Obama ‘scandal free’

By Jack Cashill

“I am proud of the fact that we will – knock on wood – leave this administration without significant scandal,” said Barack Obama near the end of his second term. Until very recently at least, he had former CIA Director John Brennan to thank for that.

Like “Pulp Fiction’s” Winston Wolf, John Brennan’s job – even before the CIA veteran joined the Obama administration – was to “solve problems.”

One immediate problem candidate Barack Obama had to solve was his 1981 trip to Pakistan. No one knew about this trip until Obama strategically discussed it during a San Francisco fundraiser on April 17, 2008.

“I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college,” boasted Obama as a way of countering Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy experience. “I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

Obama mentioned not a word about the trip in either “Dreams from My Father” or “The Audacity of Hope.” In the latter book, the omission is particularly noteworthy given that Obama used “Audacity” to establish his foreign policy cred.

This oversight would have been of minimal interest were it not for the fact that Obama’s passport file had been breached four times beginning in January 2008, the story about which broke just weeks before the San Francisco fundraiser.

To its credit, CNN reported a critical fact the New York Times did not find newsworthy, namely that the prime perpetrator worked for The Analysis Corporation (TAC), whose CEO “advises the Illinois Democrat on foreign policy and intelligence issues.” The CEO of that small company was John Brennan.

According to CNN’s source, the unnamed TAC transgressor was considered a “terrific” employee except, of course, for his multiple incursions into Obama’s passport file.

TAC flacks characterized that behavior as an “aberration,” claiming, with the PR equivalent of a straight face, “This individual’s actions were taken without the knowledge or direction of anyone at The Analysis Corp. and are wholly inconsistent with our professional and ethical standards.”

Reportedly, the State Department asked Brennan not to discipline the employee while the investigation was underway. He need not have worried about the investigation’s outcome.

The State Department’s July 2008 report on the incident was redacted to the point of uselessness. If Brennan’s employee was ever named, let alone punished, that fact did not make the news or the report.

In January 2009, the Washington Post ran a 1,300-word, front-page article on Brennan’s appointment as deputy national security adviser. Obama need not have worried. The Post failed to mention the passport incident.

Three days after the Post article, Ken Timmerman, then with Newsmax, reported that, according to his sources, the purpose of the passport breach was to “cauterize” Obama’s file, meaning to remove or doctor any potentially embarrassing information.

If true, this revelation helped make sense of Obama’s decision to introduce the subject of his 1981 Pakistan trip a few weeks after his passport file had been properly scrubbed.

In his 2016 book, “Deception,” Timmerman further reported that five days after the passport story broke in March 2008, Washington, D.C., police arrested, on a marijuana charge, a man with the unusual name “Leiutenant [sic] Quarles Harris Jr.”

In addition to the marijuana, police found eight State Department passport applications on Harris when they busted him. According to his charging document, “Harris admitted he obtained the Passport information from a co-conspirator who works for the U.S. Department of State.”

After he agreed to cooperate in the State Department investigation, the D.C. police released Harris on his own recognizance. Less than a month later, D.C. police found Harris shot dead in the front seat of his locked car, the shots having penetrated the windshield.

Reported the Washington Times, “City police said they do not know whether his death was a direct result of his cooperation with federal investigators.” Or, like the murder of Seth Rich, it might have been just another “botched robbery.”

Brennan would show up again long before Obamagate. In June 2010, Brennan traveled to Phoenix to discuss border security with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

In September 2010, the ATF’s William Newell briefed Brennan’s office on the agency’s “ambitious efforts to stop weapons trafficking” in advance of Brennan’s meeting with the Mexican president.

It is hard to believe that someone as savvy as Brennan did not know about Fast and Furious, a bizarre plot to subvert the Second Amendment that began unraveling with the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry three months later.

Then too there was the harassment of the few truth-telling reporters in the major media like CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson. In 2012, Attkisson was not surprised to see a familiar name emerge in a WikiLeaks dump pilfered from the global intelligence company Stratfor.

The memo read, “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources. There is a specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my). Even the FBI is shocked.”

Granted, all the allegations I cite about Brennan are unproven. In 2013, reporter Michael Hastings, then with BuzzFeed, set out to confirm them with an exposé on Brennan, by then the head of the CIA. Hastings did not get to finish the job.

Early in the morning of June 18, 2013, Hastings sent an email to his editor: “the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates.’ Perhaps if the authorities arrive ‘BuzzFeed GQ,’ er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.”

Several hours later, Hastings was burned beyond recognition in a fiery car crash in a Los Angeles neighborhood. As they say, dead men tell no tales.

Jack Cashill’s new book, “Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency,” is widely available. See also www.cashill.com.

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