Former U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he attends the “values-based leadership” during a plenary session of the Gathering of Rising Leaders in the Asia Pacific, organized by the Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
According to new bipartisan report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, former top FBI officials confirmed that they included the Steele dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment about Russian interference because of an order from then-President Barack Obama, despite the fact that it was unverified and not vetted.
From Washington Examiner:
The Senate report revealed the Intelligence Community Assessment began at the behest of Obama himself in early December 2016 during a meeting of the National Security Council, with the president instructing then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to prepare a comprehensive report on Russian interference. The report stated Obama “directed that the report include everything the IC knew about Russian interference in the 2016 elections.”
Clapper told the committee, “I don’t think we would have mounted the effort we did, probably, to be honest, in the absence of presidential direction, because that kind of cleared the way on sharing all the accesses.”
The Senate report noted Obama asked for the intelligence assessment to cover a wide range of Russia-related topics and be completed by the end of his second term in late January 2017. The report notes, “There was no document memorializing this presidential direction.”
The report appeared to suggest that it was FBI Director James Comey and the FBI who included it because they thought Obama wanted it in the assessment.
Comey appeared to be somewhat flippant about the dossier.
“I insisted that we bring it to the party, and I was agnostic as to whether it was footnoted in the document itself, put as an annex,” Comey said. “I have some recollection of talking to John Brennan maybe at some point saying: I don’t really care, but I think it is relevant and so ought to be part of the consideration.”
When intelligence community leaders briefed Trump on the intelligence community assessment at Trump Tower in January 2017, Comey stayed behind to tell Trump about some of the most salacious allegations in the dossier and made Trump’s reaction to the news part of the bureau’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Bill Priestap, the former assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, told the Senate committee in April 2017 the bureau believed Obama’s directive compelled them to include the Steele dossier in the intelligence assessment, claiming that “the FBI didn’t want to stand behind [the dossier].” Other FBI officials told Senate investigators that it “would have had a major problem if Annex A had not been included” and that the bureau thought they “had to put everything in.”
But it was despite the fact that it had not been vetted. Not only wasn’t it vetted, but the fact that it was paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign was not included in the ICA.
On top of all that, this past week declassified footnotes from the report of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz indicated the FBI knew that it could be compromised by Russian disinformation. But that wasn’t included either.
It was that inclusion in the ICA that then prompted media coverage and further investigation, undermining Trump and aiding the hoax we’ve seen for the past few years.