The prosecutor hand-picked by Attorney General Bill Barr to look into the origins of the Russia investigation is reportedly spending an inordinate amount of time focusing on the top ranks of the CIA, POLITICO reports.
U.S. Attorney John Durham is seeking the communications of former CIA director John Brennan amidst criticisms that say Barr is acting more like President Trump's personal attorney than the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
“It is unprecedented and inappropriate to do this via Justice department prosecutors who will tend to apply the standards of a courtroom to the more nuanced, and often more challenging world of intelligence analysis,” former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, John McLaughlin said, adding that Durham's investigation is both “unprecedented” and “inappropriate.”
Another CIA veteran spoke out, saying that Durham is overstepping his bounds.
“I find this troubling and I suspect many inside the intelligence community do as well,” said John Sipher, who is a 28-year member of the CIA, adding that Durham’s probe “was initiated and sold in a partisan manner and this news only highlights that concern.”
According to the report, Durham is putting the CIA's current director, Gina Haspel, at the center of a "politically toxic tug-of-war between the Justice Department and the intelligence community."
"...intelligence community veterans say the Durham probe could force Haspel to choose between protecting her agency from Trump’s wrath and bowing to Barr’s wishes; they point to FBI chief Chris Wray, who has found himself at odds with the president in recent weeks over a watchdog report about the bureau’s conduct in the Russia probe," POLITICO's Natasha Bertrand writes.
Read the full report over at POLITICO.