just what is the status of the different investigations into investigators headed by Attorney General William bar and what should the Attorney General do next how according to former intelligence operative Tony Shafer did former CIA director John Brennan appear to take a quote critical role and quote and starting the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign what does the fact that no defensive briefings were given to campaign members tell us about whether they were actually approached by Russian operatives this is American thought-leaders and I'm Yahya Kelly we discussed the current status of Attorney General William bars investigations and why according to Schaffer indictments are forthcoming in addition we consider what we can expect from the Hong Kong protests and the Chinese regime from the perspective of a former intelligence operative Tony Schaeffer wonderful to have you back again on American thought-leaders good to be here again good to be here in the greatest city on earth New York absolutely for coming up and talking to me again you know it's wonderful and I mean we talked last May we were – I think I think this was around the time when the Attorney General bar he had just gotten his mandate I think right and you know we were doing doing a bit of speculation about where things could go what he should investigate so where have things gone since what are you aware of the IG report I think is helping to shape a lot of the Attorney General's thinking about what to do next there has been reporting reporting credible reporting that criminal referrals were issued for leaking of classified information by a number of people to include a guy named Jim Comey which they deferred to prosecute let us say that the IG recommended prosecution it went to Department of Justice and then Barr decided not to prosecute now a lot of people were upset about that I'm not because I think there's more to come to the point I think a lot of that information that they're receiving is now going to the criminal side for additional investigation you don't want to go after someone for something minor if you think they've actually done something major it's like grabbing someone for you know moping with intent to loiter versus someone you get a murder and you want to go get him for that you know you know want to charge you prematurely before you get all the evidence so I think that's what's going on the second piece of this has been I think miss to the general public but equally important as you review the foreign counterintelligence operations that were ongoing during the period of 1516 and into 17 there's two factors you have to examine first some of these operations were probably legitimate foreign counterintelligence operations that is to say that there despite the drama we've seen there were actually spies attempting to suborn US citizens to steal information so anything that is a legitimate sanctioned operation that should be focused on preventing the loss of Technology critical information or access to individuals with access to the US government those are legitimate operations that should be maintained separate from that as we've seen with Miss Massoud with Papadopoulos and others there's a parent's that the very foundation of foreign counter until its operations were essentially not justifiable as a matter of fact not a single Russian was involved so it's hard to justify an operation where you're attempting to indict people or entice people to have contact with the Russians if there's no Russians involved so that's the thing you have to have ly you have to establish legitimate operations maintain those and separate out those surgically that or either illegal or ill thought or otherwise compromised from the beginning the bottom line is no one wants to compromise real US national security at the same time but we have constitutional requirements for accountability and that's I think what Barr is trying to sort through right now well so let's talk a little bit about these characters but you just said something really interesting which is that there were no Russians involved yeah you know John Solomon recently has obtained this you know audio Mitsu do testimony kind of if we believe it it it implies that there weren't any but that's that's kind of a bombshell thing to say to me if you what do you mean there were no Russians involved so from personal experience we talked about this I think the last interviewer sometime over the last few interviews I was actually targeted by the Anna Chapman Network the first thing that happened when the FBI detected that they were obligated no matter what my background is me being a lie a former line and telling soft sir knowing all the tricks their first obligation was to come give me a defensive briefing I as a US citizen had the right to not be accosted by the FBI for anything I did not do by the fact that I was not in contact with the Russians the Russians were planning to contact me therefore the FBI came and briefed me not a single defensive briefing was provided at any point any member of the Trump campaign despite the fact that there were Russians Russians Russians all over the place so there's only one way of explaining that if there were no actual Russian agents and I challenge you you you know to go look has any legitimate Russian name of a Russian operative ever been brought up other than few through few through fusion GPS has there any been been any names of any Russian operatives who were attempting as a foreign asset attempting to contact the Trump campaign no it's been Halper it's been miss food it's been downer those aren't Russian guys those aren't Russian assets but they were portraying themselves or enticing members of the Trump campaign to either entice them to have contact with the Russians or imply they had contact with the Russians there's no Russian there's no there there for the Russians at this point as far as I can tell and nor as any source I've spoken to indicated to me that there's some secret source or something that they're holding back on this just doesn't exist so that's what it is it's it's apparent from me as a professional that if no Russian foreign counterintelligence no Russian intelligence officers were involved you would never give a defensive briefing because there's nothing to brief defensively about which then indicates to me it was all a setup but so how isn't another explanation that there were Russians involved but for some reason the defensive briefing wasn't given is it is it is it is it even a conceived possibility no are some intelligence no because ultimately the going back into my experience the Anna Chapman Network that network was rolled up that roll network was destroyed within two weeks of my defensive briefing next thing you know they're arresting people and sending them home mm-hmm that would have been the result of the penetration the attempted penetration of the Trump campaign and I'm pretty sure all I have skeptical of Muller's investigation even he couldn't have missed real Russians being involved remember all he indicted were Russian BOTS right overseas there was no Russian and operatives indicted incidental to his investigation of the Trump campaign Wow so actually you mentioned Stefan hopper yes I did how how is he fitting into all this in your mind so the Halper issue is one that's most troubling by the fact that he apparently during this period of working as an asset of either the FBI or John Brennan CIA we don't have that all there yet was being paid by the Pentagon so and-and-and-and handsomely I might add I mean we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars for academic work in an organization called the office of net assessment opposite and assessment for background for your audience's a cold war driven entity established by a man whose nickname was Yoda hey it was it was an organization which was run by Andy Marshall for a long time did global assessments of the future mm Andy stepped down under the late years of the Obama administration and had a completely unqualified Air Force retired lieutenant colonel come in and there appears to have been a departure from their primary notably this is public knowledge office and assessment hasn't actually produced an actual survey or assessment in like 10 years so it's kind of like I guess they're trying to find purposes for their work and helper apparently was one of their academics but everything indicates to us from the review that he was indeed one of those who are being used to entice others to either pretend to have contact with Russia or enticing the Trump folks to have contact with Russia so his his issue his role and this is problematic and it does need to be examined in more detail another character of course was Christopher Steele yes and when we were speaking in May one thing you mentioned was that no one's really looked at the Steele dossier the origins of this deal dossier right where do you think things have come well that's something that I haven't been able to find for a fact that someone is actually doing a deep dive into that there are three pieces of three things that should be looked at regarding the Steele dossier first off to your point who wrote Steele pay people sources in Moscow to put that together from what I believe now it's abundantly clear is discredited sources I believe that those sources were Russian intelligence officers who were essentially feeding information to steel for purposes of disrupting our system and it did a very good job so who were they and how did they do that secondly just the entire chain of custody of regarding the the information who paid what when and why was it ever introduced to any court or any u.s. official body has intelligence never in any operation I've ever been involved in has political research opposition research been introduced to anything I've ever done as intelligence information you just the US government is supposed to develop its own information independent of media independent of paid sources for any number of obvious reasons and lastly why has why did people like James Comey knowingly depart so severely from the internal controls which assistance was prevent this from happening and this circles back to your question about bard where he's going with some of this I think that's where some of this is going to circle back on us why did these people depart so extremely from the required process procedures and policies which would would never have allowed this to happen in a normal circumstance you know something that just strikes me actually is the Muller report was I guess rehashed mother came to testify right what a great performance that was true I might have you know it to your point a lot of people have said that he didn't seem to have very good command of the report itself right and you know what do you make of that well I think it was written by committee by all accounts Judicial Watch and others have done a good accounting of the money spent I mean we're talking about 30 plus million dollars half of that was spent on his own staff and that's a pretty big staff I think I could between you and me I think in general I could generate a lot of paper with 14 million dollars of my disposal trust me just trust me on that anybody wants to give us 14 million dollars I'll do it but that's my point they generated a lot of paper and I would argue it wasn't well written it didn't look at core issues the authority's issues were never fully explored essentially it was a document done by committee who really weren't all that anxious to get to the truth which I would argue this is the steel dossier its origins they had kind of this path they wanted to go down and try to find a way to establish that there was a collusion something collusion which by the way occlusions aren't even a crime so they were actually out to prove something that even if it existed really wouldn't meet rise to the level of requiring an indictment or a grand jury and all you came away with a sense that I think accurate molar was not actually the guy driving the bus I think it was his deputy Wiseman right and I think that that's why that they wanted people there to advise mr. molar during his testimony because they knew this is going to be an issue and it actually was you know and speaking of collusion I think you know with the Muller report we know conclusively there was none yet we had you know two two and a half years of narratives about how the collusion it's just around the bend there's this unnamed source and so forth both by politicians and media and so forth yeah it feels like there's some serious credibility credibility issues here well I see those credibility issues I think you see those credibility issues the question becomes does the American people understand what's happened I think some of the ratings of the what I don't know if you want to call it mainstream or legacy networks I know right Rachel Maddow audience like fell off a lot CNN continues to be in a tailspin and I'd like to believe it being in a free market economy that people are going to quit watching news outlets which clearly did not even have a legitimate attempt in telling the truth and a lot of you know if you go back and look at my record I said in March of 17 right we would come to find everything we found out and I was looked at like I'm totally insane maybe I am but not on this point that's my point though is that people were not willing to suspend the narrative and actually look at people like me who are professionals and it's like maybe maybe they know something we don't instead we were shouted down by the mainstream media made it look like were 10 foil hat where's that we didn't know what we're talking about so I think that's a very dangerous thing to do the Fourth Estate job is to actually try to find a way of telling the truth not presuming the truth and then trying to shape the narrative to meet what they want it's it's not aspirational but that's what they were their aspirations or certain objective which were not based in reality or fact one of the things that we talked about you just reminded me actually was where the I remember used this term predicated you know where as was were thing where these investigations predicated propriety and so forth right hence your interest in the steel dossier is the origins and so forth do you know any more about that at this point and obviously this is connected with these other investigations yeah so because of that issue and the British being involved it's a bit more complex than I think than other investigations the there's some I think examining of overseas activities one of which has been in the news is the chief of stationed in England during the period this was all happening was Gina Aspen the current director of CIA and one of the the pieces that has to be parsed regarding the very predicate issue is that some people who were downstream and I I don't list for a fact but I'd like to believe that Miss Haspel as the chief of station was probably given taskings relating to the Steele dossier and these other things that were going on without understanding that the taskings were based on a non-existing predicate that there was no legitimate predicate often as an operative you were told these are the five things you need to do as part of this larger ought you know because if the other stuffs need to know right precisely and I've heard that a million times true it's absolutely correct so you may well be involved in something that may not be completely legal within the context of your own activities but you don't know that you're given these things to do so I would argue that within the system right now there is a essentially a review of of people's actions and some of those actions may have been taken for the wrong reasons I've I you know I've been investigated a number of times for four things I was directed to do which I thought at the moment were completely authorized and they weren't but it turned out they weren't legal completely legal they didn't work nobody died it I'm just saying but I'm just saying that there are things that you do as an opera the whole waterboarding thing let's go back to that very quick I don't want to know that as topic people who did the waterboarding thought everything they were doing was completely legally so and obviously they were second-guessed after the fact so this is a this is a feature of the intelligence system that has to be sorted through for this purpose as well regarding the predicate of the operations they were directed to do it to run how important is are these investigations that bar is so you know ultimately leading that are you know playing that right now I think it's hugely important for the things we've already established first off the integrity of the actual intelligence collection system u.s. citizens are presumed to be innocent and need to be essentially respected the eeo 12 triple three which i've had people get all upset because i talked about it in these interviews okay no I'm serious I mean they get upset because it's I'm I think one of them said I'm disrespecting the FBI by bringing up these sorts of things now I think you go back and look at our interviews I've never talked about sources methods anything technical but the people are upset because I'm talking about process the process needs to be reviewed and those things which were violated were US citizens rights to include candidate Trump now President Trump miss Papadopoulos Mike Flynn if these people were wronged by the system that needs to be made right no US citizen should presume that the FBI can just decide we don't like you we're going to do something to mess you up so we get a kind of re Clint we get a cleansing system and make sure that that system works secondly to your point about the narratives someone at a very senior level during that entire period was feeding information to the mainstream media who were considered credible I'll just say I think it was Jim clapper I think it was John Brennan I think of a Susan Rice I think it was a handful of others who had such credibility with mainstream media that without regard to the strong evidence they would say something and they would take it as as fact that's dangerous and those people need to be held accountable for the purposes of having manipulated thinking for purposes of a political in stay turns in and go we cannot have intelligence officials former or current involved in attempting to sway domestic thinking domestic politics based on their prior access or knowledge of foreign intelligence operations that cannot be sustained and and because we saw and what I think is an attempted coup by these individuals and that's something that we just can't sit back and pretend it didn't happen you know speaking of Brennan you know John there John Brennan yes Durham is you know tasked with looking at the origins or ends of the investigation it's kind of increasingly looking to be some folks that I've read that Brennan was kind of that critically involved it was really involved there was meetings early in 2016 which he was involved in which I which I believe I don't have I only have one source on this but I believe that that was kind of the courage of the entire plot that Brennan himself was somehow involved in a kind of laying out the arc of what we now see is the Russian narrative Wow that's my assessment I'm gonna I'm I'm saying this purely as an intelligence officer kind of knowing the lay of the land how things work with the NIA community and so with respect to the IG report yeah right there's a lot of people kind of buzzing around the fact that it may play out in a similar way to the way the report around the Clinton emails came out where a lot of inconsistencies a lot of issues were seemingly found but basically no rip no repercussions no any thoughts on this well I hope not I think a lot of folks like myself who have lived on both sides of the system being both investigated and having to investigate I feel very strongly as do others that there cannot be a two-tier justice system I'm one of those who believes that whole Clinton email thing needs to go back and be relooked no one there's no there's no presumption that there is a double jeopardy no there was no jeopardy to begin with and I think that's the issue here we do know for a fact that Peter struck Lisa Paige I would argue a number of others to include James Comey himself have stipulated publicly and privately in interviews information which is provably false a minimum false official statement probably worse than that so the idea that we could sustain a two-tier justice system is just not viable anything I would get in trouble for they should get in trouble for probably even they should get in more trouble for it since they're presumed to be held to a higher standard and I think that's where I don't know this for a fact but I'm hearing that there's going to be some level of of indictment somewhere down the road speaking of Peter struck now you know he's launched a lawsuit he has dismissal god bless him so some people I've seen are saying well that's very interesting I'm very excited about the discovery phase of this what don't tell me well I know the discovery is gonna be amazing I don't think he wants that but if he opens them up to it that's fine this is where I think it's all going to go the bottom line is if you work for the government and that device is a government device anything on that device belongs to the government no matter if it's personal or not you could be you know texting your wife a list of things you're going to pick up at the store after you get off work it's still the government's information doesn't matter if it's personal or not if it's if it's if it's on a piece of equipment by owned by the government you use that piece of equipment willingly you're not forced to use it especially in this day and age where you can have your own phone that information is the government's so everything that Peter's struck is upset about as much as it's very revealing very embarrassing it doesn't it's not covered by the Privacy Act because he communicated on a government piece of gear I used to be the g6 the senior communications officer of an Army division we dealt with this all the time if you knowingly sign a piece of paper or tab something on a webpage saying I acknowledge this is a US government piece of equipment they own everything you say so this is I and my judgment going to go absolutely nowhere and I don't know what's trucks trying to do actually maybe just draw attention to himself or some book or something down the road but legally speaking there's no foundation for him to claim that his information was private because he chose to communicate on the government system so who's advising him here I don't know I'd have to go back and look but whoever is advising him very badly mm-hmm Tony any final words around around basically the investigating investigators Muller report and so forth I want to cover a few other things now are we finished no I think that I appreciate the continued I think update we've been able to have a conversation we've updated since we started this back in the spring of this year and I think in three months we're going to have a way better understanding of the direction of the investigation regarding who's going to be indicted and why why there's issues relating to those charges I do believe you're gonna see some level of charges come out of this okay you know you bring this very interesting you know intelligence operative perspective two things I wanted to shift gears to another topic that's very important to us at the epic times which is China right and of course Hong Kong that's that's the the big thing in the air right now and there's everyday there's new information we're getting all right looking at where things are now with Hong Kong at the level of protests you know rumored PLA getting ready to do something where do you think things stand for Hong Kong Hong Kong it's in a very difficult situation a lot of us back I think it was was at 97 that the British departed and the Chinese came in we felt many of us who observed that felt it was only a matter of time before those Western ideals of freedom and free speech were going to be eroded that kong-kong was a small island of essentially free thought in an otherwise very red sea of communism and people tend to forget that the People's Republic of China is still communist like communist nation and I think we the in the West have been naive and I think almost serendipitous in our view of oh no no we should open markets and let them do all these things and this is why I do support president Trump's policy of really taking a hard-line Chinese economy is very artificial and I think things like Hong Kong really propped up the economy Hong Kong produces was a big producer of a lot of things it was a center of commerce and I think it's just taken this time for for the Chinese main the People's Republic of China to work to erode and get people numb to the idea of Hong Kong becoming more like the rest of China rather than Hong Kong which what it was when it was a British colony but this extradition law basically was the straw that broke the camel's back up erosion it would seem yes it would and I think that's where people are going to make a decision on what they think is best relating to the international relationships with China I think China is just simply showing his true colors here how do you think that's going to play out internationally I don't know I honestly don't know I think that we are in a time where you would not necessarily I I don't even predict I don't even know what forecast saw President Trump to react to this but I don't think that we can fully judge what all will happen again Taiwan is another issue as well as it remains unresolved Taiwan believes and I do believe it's a Taiwan Republic it it's a separate nation China thinks they own it the Chinese have been exhibiting since and my former think-tank Center for Advanced Defense studies did a deep dive for a corporation I can't get into that looked at China as an as a as an entity we would call it the inside-out study we actually became China for purposes of it China is becoming much more nationalistic than communistic that it let me explain that that the Chinese government feels that their history their laws their traditions all those sorts of things go back longer than Western civilization so their view is we have the right to reclaim territory and islands that we will originally owned who who are you to tell us we don't we can't do that wait a sec they're building islands I know all right they're trying to increase their dominion of what they believe to be space that they should essentially dominate the Pacific Rim start with and I think this is people have been really not in Joe Biden you know he's made comments about how China's is backward Nations like I don't know where Joe Biden's been China is a robust economy they're moving forward and trying to re-establish this very big nationalistic view of control of the region and the Hong Kong issue is but one bump in the road I think we're gonna have issues with Taiwan and not and had just done not-too-distant future and this is what we have to expect that China is becoming more nationalistic they're using a communist framework no doubt but it's becoming you know a very nationalistic country pushing forward dominance of the region well it's the combination of you know communism and this you know I don't know if manifest destiny is the right the right term I think that is a good time that they see it for themselves but yeah doesn't a similarly feel yes it doesn't bow what abode well no one I think the their economy is one of the dominating factors they've used in the Middle East and Africa this soft power the idea of coming in to help build infrastructure very effective they have not had a more direct military position to use on influence they use the soft power what that said it's incremental they don't see things in 4-year cycles like we do it's more generational and they're very patient about how they will do this so so you know just recently aside from Hong Kong you know China or cheating ping renege done a number of things buying the farm product yeah and stopping fentanyl which is you know obviously been disastrous for America so now there's this 10% increased tariff on another 300 billion of goods where do we stand in the trade war in your view I think well I know a lot of free traders I was meeting with some free traders this week and they're not happy a lot of folks think that the president Trump's approach is not going to work I'm one of those that believes that doing nothing was the wrong answer and where this is all going to go I think we're going to see the Chinese attempt to wait us out I think they believe that their economy is sufficiently strong that they can basically avoid having to deal with President Trump and his team on this issue they're gonna go for 20/20 hoping for some change probably a Democrat I think their desires Joe Biden Joe has been very weak in his comments on China I think he would have a very weak policy and would return to an Obama type policy of where China is able to run the table without regard to our interests so I think that's what China is counting on I think they're making a huge error I think they will see their economy really tanked and I think though this is going to be an opportunity for other nations to step in to enhance their trade relationship and economic relationship with the United States so I think it's I think the Chinese strategy of waiting is what they're going to do and I don't think it's going to serve them well well there's there clearly is some economic upheaval right there depreciating the UN to the point where and you know now the US has labeled them as a currency manipulator quite right accurately right accurately right way over what the impact of that going to be I think you're going to see the Chinese take it in the shorts on a number of things that they've been trying to do regarding their influence globally there are some vulnerabilities I think are going to be highlighted by this – that may not be quite so obvious for example fuel the Chinese economy depends heavily on Middle Eastern oil heavily and anytime you have to pay more for that it's going to diminish your economy so I think if your currency is labeled something toxic and you can't use your currency to buy as much as you used to or it's more difficult to enter in transactions things become much more expensive right and I think because the economy if you depress the economy regarding production let's say that there's no you're not selling as much so you're not having to have as much money on hand hard currency at the same time you have enter energy requirements which are more expensive it's going to tank your economy even more so I think that's what we're doing here I think by the fact you're gonna have they're gonna be able to export as much not make as much money they're gonna have as much if not more fuel requirements which can be more expensive it diminishes their ability to do things globally I think that there that's what you're going to see is a real tanking of their economy you know I recently did an interview where someone asked I we actually had a studio audience so to speak and someone asked a question question was which is more dangerous to America China or Iran and clearly you know both the answer was both are and there were some details that were given but what about this kind of there's there's this kind of level of unholy alliance here yeah China Iran can you speak to that well the the Chinese North Koreans and Iranian 's and even to a certain extent the Pakistanis have all kind of been working behind the scenes and this kind of this you know anti-american relationship each nation has their own reasons for being anti-american and they do tend to work together on things which benefit them the Chinese have been very helpful with the North Koreans on things the North Koreans have been very helpful with Iran on things so it's all related and we've the American intelligence community I think is in a pretty good job of mapping this they actually work together in their clandestine acquisition networks sometimes the Chinese can get something that someone wants and they give it to them or so into them so it's it's something that's been a very effective and that's how they it's not like they're monolithic it's not like they all think as one but they do cooperate on things which would benefit them both economically and militarily and so they do do that level of cooperation well we're going to just finish up that sure in a moment and any final words either on the investigate the investigators side or the Chinese well the China side you know that's the the thing that we have to examine and I think we as intelligence officers or think tanks do we have to look at the reality which for which it is not for which we want it to be there's something that we've studied i've studied both in london center and other think tanks is something called confirmation bias sometimes people who were experts tend to project their beliefs on what they want a situation to be rather than look at the objective facts so I think that's where we all need to do we for both issues we've talked about today we need to look at what are the objective facts regarding the Russia investigation what are they legalities and remove all emotion the same with China I think far too many people have looked at China with rose-colored glasses many of which I think made a lot of money off China because China being a communist nation can kind of direct from a very strategic level who wins and who loses crony capitalism mm-hmm so we need to examine that for who's benefited and why and is that those relationships benefited the American people or our allies and I would argue probably not so let's we need to look at that again with with with clear steely eyes about what the facts are and then reassess what we're gonna do with China so Tony Shafer is such a pleasure thank you hope that was helpful thank you for having me again you
What is the status of the different investigations into the investigators headed by Attorney General William Barr, and what should the attorney general do next?
How, according to former intelligence operative Tony Shaffer, did former CIA director John Brennan appear to have a “critical role” in starting the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
What does the fact that no “defensive briefings” were given to campaign members tell us about whether they were actually approached by Russian operatives?
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Today we sit down with Tony Shaffer, who was a senior intelligence officer in the Department of Defense, and is now acting president of the London Center for Policy Research. He’s also an advising producer for National Geographic, and a member of the Trump 2020 advisory board.
We discuss the current status of Attorney General William Barr’s investigations and why, according to Shaffer, indictments are forthcoming.
In addition, we consider what we can expect from the Hong Kong protests and the Chinese regime, from the perspective of a former intelligence operative.
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***This interview will also be released as a PODCAST at 5:00 AM EST on Monday, August 12th, 2019! Links below:
“Our Constitutional Republic is Under Assault”—Tom Fitton on the Trump Tweets & Mueller Testimony
Tony Shaffer: On Shocking Use of FISA by Obama’s FBI to Spy on Trump Campaign—
‘No Way Obama Was Not Told’ – Former Intel Officer Tony Shaffer on Spying on Trump Campaign
On Spygate Indictments, Trump’s Temperament & Trump Derangement Syndrome—NYC Lawyer Stephen Meister