Breaking News Emails
Documents from CIA Director John Brennan's personal email account released by WikiLeaks Wednesday afternoon do not contain any revelations about U.S. intelligence or any classified material, but do include a draft of a paper that urges the president to "tone down" rhetoric about Iran.
There are no actual emails in the release, the first in a series planned by WikiLeaks. Instead, the group published six documents culled from Brennan's emails.
One draft position paper outlines challenges and changes for the U.S. intelligence community after 9/11. It was written in July 2007, but the author is not named. At the time, Brennan was an advisor to the Obama campaign on national security.
Another document that apparently dates from 2007 outlines recommendations on diplomacy and intelligence related to Iran for "whoever takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2009."
The first recommendation in the document, entitled "The Conundrum of Iran," is "Tone Down the Rhetoric" and the second is "Establish a Direct Dialogue with Tehran." Brennan suggests that former Secretary of State Colin Powell be tapped to negotiate with the Iranians, and names other potential candidates -- Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Tony Lake and Brent Scowcroft.
Brennan published a paper with the same name and much of the same text in an academic journal in 2008, but adding Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to President Carter, to the list of possible negotiators.
"If WikiLeaks would release his paper, it might actually cause some people to read it," said a former top Pentagon official.
Both the Iran and the post-9/11 documents released by WikiLeaks are apparently drafts, since they include incomplete paragraphs and sentences.
Two other documents in the WikiLeaks dump that relate to torture were not authored by Brennan, but by then-Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri. One details a proposal for future interrogation methods not prohibited by the Army Field Manual, while the other is the text of a bill, dated May 2008, to limit interrogation techniques. Bond left the Senate in 2011, but was the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2008. His bill was referred to the committee in August 2008 but never made it any further.
Another document is part of a contract dispute between Brennan's private firm and the CIA in 2007.
The documents also include a form dated Nov. 17, 2008 that Brennan filled out to obtain a national security clearance. It contains some personal information but is not completed. After Obama's election and inauguration, Brennan became his homeland security advisor. He became CIA director in 2013.
After a hacker revealed he had gained access to Brennan's personal AOL account earlier this week, as first reported by the New York Post, Wikileaks said it would begin releasing emails from the account. It has not said when to expect the next release of emails or documents.
In a statement, a CIA spokesman called the hacking of the Brennan account a crime. "The private electronic holdings of the Brennan family were plundered with malicious intent and are now being distributed across the web," said the statement. "This attack is something that could happen to anyone and should be condemned, not promoted."
"There is no indication that any the documents released thus far are classified. In fact, they appear to be documents that a private citizen with national security interests and expertise would be expected to possess.”