Herridge: Lindsey Graham Requests Transcribed Interviews of FBI Agents Who Questioned Steele's Sub-Source

 

 

According to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has requested the transcribed interviews of the four FBI agents who questioned Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source in January 2017 from the office of (DOJ Inspector General) Michael Horowitz. Graham told Herridge he expects to receive these documents as early as this week.

Graham described the cooperation he and his staff are receiving from the FBI and the DOJ over access to employees and documents as “mixed.” Regarding access to former FBI and DOJ officials, they are currently in negotiations.

In January, a FISA Court order was declassified. The order confirmed that the DOJ had found two of the FBI’s applications to the FISA Court for the warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to be “not valid.” They were declared invalid based on “the material misstatements and omissions” by the FBI and that there had been “insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.” (The order can be viewed here.)

Additionally, the document stated they were investigating the other two.

Because the serious credibility problems and sourcing issues with the Steele dossier played a major role in the DOJ’s decision to declare the first two applications invalid, Graham has called for a thorough review of how and where Steele obtained his information.

The DOJ Inspector General’s report, released in December, 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 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 he/she made statements indicating 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.

It looks like this is what Sen. Graham is trying to establish.

John Durham’s conclusions are the ones we’re all waiting for. Still, it’s good that Lindsey Graham appears to be following through on his promise to do a little digging of his own.

Psssst, Lindsey, “Don’t forget the whistleblower.”

Elizabeth Vaughn
Writer at RedState
Former financial consultant, options trader
MBA, Mom of three grown children
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