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When it comes to experience in evaluating the quality of leaked allegations, it's hard to beat Bob Woodward of Watergate/Deep Throat fame. So attention must be paid to what Woodward said on today's Fox News Sunday about the so-called Russia dossier on Donald Trump. Woodward called it a "garbage document." For good measure, Woodward said the intelligence chiefs made a "mistake" in briefing on the basis of the dossier, and should "apologize."

The House and Senate have become agitated with the CIA as the agency has continued to deny both sectors with briefings or information on claims that Russia hacked into America's election, but passed information to the mainstream media. Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a radio station in his home state that the CIA just denied his request for a briefing:
“I’m not happy they denied a briefing to me,” the Wisconsin Republican told a public radio interviewer in his home state on Friday morning. “I need information from the administration, and right now they're withholding it.”

Since the night of the election, when media coverage of election night went from joyous to stunned to near-weepy, the progressive left has been in a self-righteous lather about President-elect Trump's victory.  They are pulling out all stops in an effort to undermine President-elect Trump and his presidency.  Indeed, they seem intent on seeing that he not take office at all. Blaming everything and everyone but themselves and their candidate (with a few notable exceptions), the left took to the streets to riot, they took up their pens to advocate the end of the Electoral College, they bully and harass electors attempting to sway their votes, and they've recently landed on Russian involvement in the elections.

The first time we wrote about Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann was in early May 2011, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden:
Hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought forward many emotions and memories. One of those memories for me was the story of Johnny “Mike” Spann, from Winfield, Alabama, the first American killed in the Afghanistan war, on November 25, 2001.[*] Spann was a CIA operative, one of a small number of Americans who landed in Afghanistan, helped coordinate local forces hostile to the Taliban, and directed bombing and other military action. The story of this small band of men has been told, but not told enough. Spann was killed during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi when Taliban prisoners gained access to weapons and attacked. Spann was killed during that uprising (see video).  One of the prisoners was the so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lyndh, who Spann interrogated shortly before Spann’s death.

Leaks of classified and politically-charged intelligence information often are purposeful. So what to make of simultaneous leaks to The Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine that the CIA helped Israel assassinate Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyah, responsible for killing more Americans in terror attacks than anyone else prior to 9/11, and continued to work to kill Americans in Iraq and elsewhere. He also was involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of CIA Beirut station chief William F. Buckley (not the author), and reportedly sent video of the torture to CIA headquarters. Washington Post graphic Imad Mighniyah This was thought to be a purely Israeli operation. Some of the details leaked also contradict prior claims as to how the assassination was carried out -- instead of a bomb planted in a headrest, it was planted in the spare tire in the vehicle. The Washington Post reports, CIA and Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in car bombing:
On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, walked on a quiet nighttime street in Damascus after dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not far away, a team of CIA spotters in the Syrian capital was tracking his movements. As Mughniyah approached a parked SUV, a bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of the vehicle exploded, sending a burst of shrapnel across a tight radius. He was killed instantly.

Democrats are trying to make political hay out of the recently released and highly partisan "torture report" even though they were briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques as far back as 2002. Former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw counterterrorism from 2002 to 2004, appeared on Fox News Sunday today. When asked directly by host Chris Wallace who knew what and when, Rodriguez was explicit: Brendan Bordelon of National Review:
Former CIA Torture Head: Nancy Pelosi, Top Dems ‘Knew Exactly What We Were Doing’ “These people were fully aware of all of the techniques that were given to us and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice,” Rodriguez continued, saying that neither Nancy Pelosi nor other Democrats — with the exception of then–California congresswoman Jane Harman — “ever objected to the techniques at all.” Rodriguez alleged that some lawmakers, such as Democratic West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller, actually pushed the CIA to be even harsher. “All of these people knew exactly what we were doing,” he said.
Watch the exchange here: Democrats are acting like this is all news to them.

Senator Mitch McConnell has characterized the new CIA report on "torture" as a last ditch effort by outgoing Democrats to stick their thumb in the eye of the George W. Bush administration and of course, he's right. Where were all these Democrats when Obama was pulverizing suspected terrorists into dust with drones if they happened to be on his personal kill list? It's convenient for Obama to kill terrorists with drones because they're enemy combatants he'll never have to place in Gitmo. Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by Bret Baier on FOX News Wednesday night and was asked about the highly partisan CIA "torture" report. He didn't hold back: Dick Cheney understands something Obama will never get. People want to know the truth, no matter how ugly it is.

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) may have lost his Senate seat to underdog candidate Cory Gardner in this November's elections, but he hasn't let that stop him from making some explosive statements on the Senate floor about the recently-released "torture report" detailing interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush Administration. Today, Udall called for the resignation of CIA director John Brennan, and lambasted the Administration for the apparent lack of accountability on the part of the CIA and other intelligence agencies who used the enhanced techniques the early Obama Administration promised to discontinue and investigate. From The Hill:
“It’s bad enough to not prosecute these officials but to reward and promote them is incomprehensible,” Udall said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The president needs to purge his administration.” Udall reiterated his call for the resignation of CIA director John Brennan, saying he should no longer lead the agency because officials hacked into the Intelligence Committee’s computers during their investigation and deleted a file. He also spilled some findings from the so-called Panetta review, which was not included in the Senate panel’s report but is expected to paint a damning picture of the CIA’s public statements about the interrogation program. “Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture,” Udall said. “The CIA is lying. This is not an issue of the past, this is going on today.” “To date there has been no accountability for the CIA’s actions or the actions of Director Brennan.” Udall criticized Obama, saying he has failed to live up to his campaign promises about transparency and accountability for the CIA’s techniques. “The White House has not led on transparency, as then-Sen. Obama promised in 2007,” he alleged.

In extraordinary backtracking today, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. A declassified CIA inspector general's report released to the Senators on Thursday revealed that agency officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read emails of Senate committee staff, and tried to hide their actions from agency investigators. From the Los Angeles Times:
In a statement issued by the agency, a CIA spokesman said Director John Brennan had apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other committee leaders for the computer search. The spokesman said the agency’s inspector general had found evidence that CIA officers’ actions were “inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and committee. “The director is committed to correcting any shortcomings related to this matter,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said Thursday. The CIA has set up an accountability board, led by former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, to review the inspector general’s findings and recommend disciplinary actions, if necessary, Boyd said.
Feinstein raised eyebrows in March when she made the original snooping allegations against the CIA during a speech on the Senate floor. It turns out she was right and Brennan had to eat crow today. The big question now is will Brennan remain as the head of the CIA. He has always been a controversial player in Washington, DC, and today's revelations may be the beginning of his end.

The first American killed in the Afghan war, during a prisoner uprising in northern Afghanistan.  On November 25, 2001. We have written of Mike Spann several times before, Remembering Johnny “Mike” Spann:
The story of this small band of men has been told, but not told enough. Spann was killed during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi when Taliban prisoners gained access to weapons and attacked. Spann was killed during that uprising (see video).  One of the prisoners was the so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lyndh, who Spann interrogated shortly before Spann’s death. Spann’s wife Shannon also worked for the CIA.  In addition to his wife, Spann left behind two daughters and an infant son Spann’s family established a website to honor his life, and there is a wealth of information and photos at his Arlington National Cemetery page. There is an interesting honor paid to Spann at the website of Afghan General and Warlord Abdul Radhis Dostum, including a link to a photo of the memorial to Spann at the site of the uprising in which he died.
We also had follow up posts: Now meet his oldest child, daughter Alison:

The first American killed in the Afghan war, on November 25, 2001.  I've told his story before, but it is worth remembering every year. This interesting video by The Daily Caller recalls the group of special forces similar to Spann, who worked with Afhan warlord Abdul Rahdis...

Hearing the news of Osama bin Laden's death brought forward many emotions and memories.One of those memories for me was the story of Johnny "Mike" Spann, from Winfield, Alabama, the first American killed in the Afghanistan war, on November 25, 2001.Spann was a CIA operative,...

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