David Priess, a 20-year veteran of the CIA and a security analyst and author, sat down with the founder of the Democratic Coalition Scott Dworkin for an interview that aired on the Dworkin Report on Thursday evening. Priess is the author of How to Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives, which comes out in November.
During Priess’ time at the CIA, he had an interesting cross-agency duty — he spent more than a year as Robert Mueller’s daily intelligence briefer when Mueller was the head of the FBI. Five or six times a week, Priess would deliver Mueller the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), as well as other important national security intelligence, mainly focused on terrorism. The PDB is a report now generated by the Director of National Intelligence — currently Dan Coats — that’s delivered to the President and a select few other high-ranking officials, comprised of intel reports from the CIA, the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI.
In the Dworkin interview, he described his time working with Mueller, and it was eye-opening. First and foremost, what Priess said about Mueller’s politics was stunning:
Despite the repeated talking points that aren’t sticking because there’s no truth to them about Mueller being “conflicted” or Mueller being a partisan — it ain’t there. To the best of my knowledge, when I was briefing him, I knew nothing about his political views. It never came up, it never affected his work, and we spent a lot of quality time together those mornings … Only later did I learn that he was a registered Republican.”
It stands to reason that Mueller would be a Republican; he was, after all, appointed by a Republican President whose advisers were the architects of the neoconservative movement. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney would never have allowed anyone they didn’t think was a conservative anywhere near the center of power in Washington during the Bush years.
But what Priess had to say about the way that Mueller actually does his job was the most important part of the interview:
What I found from Director Mueller was a very intense man. He was focused. He was just voracious in wanting to absorb intelligence information … When my presentation was casually offering some kind of conclusion or judgment that was lacking robust logic or sourcing, he would routinely nail me down on it, asking about the substantiation … Sometimes I thought he was asking a lot of questions for the sake of asking questions, and either later in the line of questioning or within a few days, when I realized something else was going on at the Bureau, I realized he never sent me down rabbit holes for the joy of doing so. It was always for a purpose.”
Anyone who believes that Robert Mueller has been wasting a single second of this investigation, or who believes they know a single thing that Robert Mueller doesn’t already know is sorely deluded. This interview with his former briefer — a senior CIA official — should tell you everything you need to know.
You can listen to the Report in its entirety here, and you can catch up on previous broadcasts at the same link.
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