Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer in London Tuesday March 7, 2017 where he has spoken to the media for the first time . Steele who compiled an explosive and unproven dossier on President Donald Trump’s purported activities in Russia has returned to work. Christopher Steele said Tuesday he is “really pleased” to be back at work in London after a prolonged period out of public view. He went into hiding in January. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
The DOJ IG report tells us that former British spy Christopher Steele was “not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting. He relied on a primary sub-source (PSS) for his information, who remains anonymous, who worked with a network of sub-sources to gather the information that was relayed to Steele.”
By January 2017, the FBI had identified Steele’s PSS and interviewed him/her in January, March and May 2017. Pages 186-203 in the IG report discuss what the FBI learned from those interviews.
The January interview, conducted right after the FBI had filed the first renewal application with the FISA Court to continue their surveillance of Carter Page, “raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting.” In particular, “it raised doubts about the reliability of Steele’s descriptions of information in his election reports.”
The PSS told the FBI that he/she had not seen Steele’s reports until they became public that month, and that he/she made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated the PSS’s statements in multiple sections of the reporting. For example:
The PSS told the FBI that, while Report 80 stated that Trump’s alleged sexual activities at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow had been “confirmed” by a senior, western staff member at the hotel, the Primary Sub-source explained that he/she reported to Steele that Trump’s alleged unorthodox sexual activity at the Ritz Carlton hotel was “rumor and speculation” and that he/she had not been able to confirm the story.
A second example provided by the PSS was Report 134’s description of a meeting allegedly held between Carter Page and Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft, a Russian energy conglomerate. 337 Report 134 stated that, according to a “close associate” of Sechin, Sechin offered “PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft” in return for the lifting of sanctions against the company. The PSS told the FBI that one of his/her sub-sources furnished information for that part of Report 134 through a text message, but said that the sub-source never stated that Sechin had offered a brokerage interest to Page. We reviewed the texts and did not find any discussion of a bribe, whether as an interest in Rosneft itself or a “brokerage.”
A second interview with the PSS was held in March 2017. He/she “felt that the tenor of Steele’s reports was far more “conclusive” than was justified. The PSS also stated that he/she never expected Steele to put the PSS’s statements in reports or present them as facts.”
He/she told the FBI that he/she had made it clear to Steele he/she had no proof to support the statements from his/her sub-sources and that “it was just talk…He/she explained that his/her information came from “word of mouth and hearsay; conversation that [he/she] had with friends over beers.” and that some of the stories “such as allegations about Trump’s sexual activities, were statements he/she heard made in jest.”
In their May 2017 interview, the PSS said the corroboration was “zero.”
Another factor complicating the FBI’s assessment of the Steele election reporting was the PSS statement to the FBI that he/she believed that information presented as fact in the reporting included his/her and Steele’s “analytical conclusions” and “analytical judgments,” and not just reporting from sub-sources.
The PSS told the FBI that “the ability to blackmail Trump was [the sub-source’s] ‘logical conclusion’ rather than reporting,” even though it is presented as a statement from a sub-source.
Read the whole section here. The relevant section begins on page 186.
The above information tells us that the Steele Dossier bore no resemblance to the truth. It wasn’t even based on the truth. It was all manufactured out of whole cloth. It was a compilation of bogus stories. And the FBI knew it in January 2017.
What did the FBI do with that knowledge? Nothing. They applied to the FISA Court for two additional warrants using the dossier as the “central and essential” part of their application. Sounds like fraud to me.
The FBI continued their counter-intelligence investigation of President Trump and his loyal FBI Director James Comey used meetings with the President as opportunities to set him up for potential crimes.
Then, after Comey was fired, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, angry that Trump had publicized a memo he had written outlining why Comey should be fired, appointed a Special Counsel to investigate him for colluding with the Russians to win the election and obstruction of justice.
Both James Comey and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page have testified under oath that, in May 2017, the FBI still had no evidence of collusion. James Comey claimed that President Trump’s request to leave then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn alone constituted obstruction of justice.
Horowitz listed page after page of wrongdoing by the FBI, but failed to issue any criminal referrals. It’s strangely reminiscent to James Comey’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton. He enumerated a list of offenses, yet failed to indict her. I suppose they protect their own.
However, Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham have yet to weigh in. Their strong disagreement with IG Horowitz’ conclusion tells us that there are still some rational people left in government. It may not be as soon as we would like, but they will come through for President Trump.