“SCIF” – Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. To understand the larger Devin Nunes briefing issues it is important to focus on the word “compartmented”.
Intelligence information is housed by compartments. Each intelligence unit holds intelligence unique to that compartment. The FBI Counter-Intelligence Unit would hold the intel information specific to their task or assignment. The CIA would hold their own compartmented intel; again, specific to their task and objectives. So too would the NSA or Pentagon.
This compartmented structure is what led to the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI. The 911 commission recommended the position to serve as a hub able to ensure intelligence sharing; that is – to ensure intelligence was not intentionally withheld from other compartments when needed.
It is doubtful the 911 commission ever gave thought to what might happen when intelligence is weaponized as a political tool. The DNI is a political appointment, a cabinet member, of the President.
Thoughtful exposition – If the executive branch, the President, wanted to weaponize intelligence as a political tool, he/she would have control over such weaponization as an outcome of their political appointees within the: CIA (Brennan), NSA (Rogers), FBI (Comey), DNI (Clapper), DoD (Ash Carter), etc.
However, understandably the key figure would be the DNI hub – James Clapper.
We will come back to that in a minute.
♦ The balance or civilian (representative) oversight into the compartmented intelligence falls to a very select group known as the Intelligence Gang of Eight.
Four Democrats and Four Republicans (four minority party and four majority party political leaders) for a total of eight. Four from the House and Four from the Senate. –Understand the Gang of Eight Here– The Gang-of-Eight can, if they choose, interact with the intelligence product with the same level of security clearance as the compartment being reviewed.
Only these eight members can interact with the intelligence product in this way. This ensures their ability to conduct oversight.
It is critical to understand the difference between the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Gang of Eight. Only two members from the House Intelligence Committee (chair and minority), and two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee (chair and vice-chair) are participants. The other four are Speaker of the House, minority leader of House, Leader of Senate and Minority leader of Senate. The latter four are not part of any other intel committee.
Four months ago, we had a suspicion these events would shake out in this type of fashion; that’s why we wrote:
[…] Never forget this undisclosed motive to advance cover-ups.
It is also never discussed in the media.
My spidey senses are telling me that understanding these facts, and understanding the construct of this oversight, will be an important reference point for all Americans in the very near future.
Here’s the current 2017 Intelligence Oversight Gang of Eight:
Expanding on Compartmented Intelligence. The originating intel agency holds their proprietary intel they create in their SCIF. They may also receive intel products created for them, which they will also host in their unique SCIF. Thus, intel is compartmentalized.
However, the White House -the executive branch- is also a host of intelligence information and consequently the White House has their own SCIF which holds intel products they would create (very little), or intel products created for them (the vast majority). An example of a product created for the executive branch would be the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB).
The PDB as a whole product would only exist in the White House SCIF. Parts of the PDB would be hosted by the originating participant, ex. CIA, NSA, FBI, DoD, State Dept. etc., but only the White House would have the fully assembled product. After all, it’s assembled for the President.
Putting the “Oversight” structure together with the “Compartmented” intelligence security you will note that only a few people ‘could’ access the PDB. The President (Obama), the President’s National Security Advisor (S. Rice), the President’s Director of National Intelligence (Clapper), or any member of the aforementioned oversight gang-of-eight.
Hopefully I haven’t lost anyone yet.
♦ If the House Intelligence Committee, or Senate Intelligence Committee, as a whole – wanted to see the PDB they would have to request the individual components from the individual intelligence agencies because the PDB product was not created for them; it was created for the Office of The President.
Only the Chairman and Minority leader from each Intel committee could go to the White House to see the PDB end product. [Remember, they alone are four of the Gang-of-Eight.]
This is why Devin Nunes, who is a Go8 member, must request the intelligence from each department (NSA, FBI etc.) in order to share it with the committee. Nunes cannot export or import product he did not create.
The Congressional SCIF would then hold the compartmented information after delivery for the committee members to review under very tight controls. The intelligence is removed/deleted after review. No systems are connected.
♦ BRIEFINGS – When the Gang-of-Eight are being briefed, they are being briefed at essentially the same level as the President, albeit they may not have the same exact end product because it is also subject to user “as needed” requests. However, when the larger congressional intelligence committees are being briefed, they are not briefed at the same level because they hold a lower security status.
So what does all this mean?
Our research indicates that Chairman Devin Nunes, a gang of eight member, reviewed intelligence reports (most likely PDB’s) that were assembled exclusively for the office of the President (Obama). That is why he went to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) Information Facility to review.
The intelligence product would be delivered to that SCIF system for his review, most likely by the ODNI. It would be removed from that SCIF system after his review. No systems are connected.
Nunes stated the intelligence product he reviewed was “not related to Russia, or the FBI Russian counter-intelligence investigation”. So the product itself was likely a product for the President, that was not part of the ongoing FBI counter-intel product.
Again, this is why it seems likely it was part of a PDB – unless it was a separate product, apart from the PDB, which was created for the Office of the President. [I view the latter as highly doubtful because it would be too risky for the President to be asking for specific ‘stand alone’ intel on something Trump.]
♦ Now, HERE IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PUT ON A “Politics only” FILTER.
Couldn’t Adam Schiff (another gang of eight member) go look at the same intelligence as Nunes did?
Yes. However, purely from the standpoint of politics: why would he?
If Representative Schiff saw the same intelligence that substantiates Nunes he couldn’t keep up the fake outrage and false narrative. Right now Schiff can say anything about it he wants because he hasn’t seen it. If Schiff actually sees the intelligence Nunes saw he loses that ability. He would also lose the ability to criticize, ridicule and/or marginalize Devin Nunes.
The same political perspective applies to Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Mark Warner. For each of them to see the information would eliminate their ability to talk about it, or criticize Nunes. The politics of the situation are more valuable so long as they don’t engage in actual truthful knowledge.
Chairman Nunes cannot share his intelligence finding with the House Committee, because the intelligence product is beyond their intel authority. Nunes has to ask for it in portions as each compartment would permit and authorize; And so long as Pelosi, Schumer, Warner and Schiff refuse to look at the intelligence that ‘only they’ are allowed to see, they can continue to ridicule and take political advantage.
This reality is also the reason why the media is so able to manipulate the narrative around Chairman Nunes; and simultaneously why he’s able to say he’s done nothing wrong.
♦ On November 17th, 2016, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers went to see President-Elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower, New York. –SEE HERE– Director Rogers never told his boss DNI, James Clapper.
♦ On November 18th, 2016, the Trump Transition Team announced they were moving all transition activity to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. –SEE HERE– Where they interviewed and discussed the most sensitive positions to fill. Defense, State, CIA, ODNI.
♦ Earlier this month, President Obama’s former Defense Deputy, Evelyn Farkas, admitted to sharing classified intelligence gathered during an Obama authorized spying operation against the Trump Transition Team –SEE HERE– The reasoning she gave was:
[…] the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods; meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence. (link)
♦ And now yesterday: