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Brennan: I Don’t Think the Obama Administration Choked in its Handling of Russian Interference

The former CIA Director disputes claims made by anonymous sources within the Obama administration about how they handled Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Former CIA Director John Brennan told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he doesn’t believe the Obama administration choked when it comes to its handling of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Brennan made the comments during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Todd asked Brennan about a Washington Post report – which quoted an anonymous Obama administration official saying “I feel like we sort of choked” regarding how the administration handled Russian hacking – and whether Brennan agrees with this assessment.

“That was a really brave comment by an anonymous source. They should be willing to say that on the record, first of all,” Brennan responded. “No, I don’t believe the Obama administration choked. I think we can look at the actions that were taken prior to the election and after the election.”

Brennan cited how he confronted his main Russian counterpart about the hacking and how President Obama did the same with Vladimir Putin.

“After we did that, I wonder whether or not the Russians then took a step back and said, ‘wait a minute now.’ We’re not going to be as aggressive as we may have been otherwise,” Brennan remarked.

Todd asked if Brennan has seen any evidence of this claim.

“I didn’t see evidence that they continued to do some of the things we were concerned about, such as manipulating election tallies and other types of things,” Brennan responded. “I don’t know if things we did vis-a-vis the Russians had an impact on them in terms of not pursuing it.”