More information has been discovered that indicates the FBI was aware of Russian disinformation in the Steele dossier, which was used to obtain FISA surveillance warrants in the alleged “Russia collusion” that led to the Mueller investigation, CBS News and other sources are reporting.
So basically, we went through an over two year circus for absolutely nothing.
Newly declassified footnotes from a government watchdog report show that the FBI was warned that sections of the dossier may have been part of a “Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”
Investigative reporter John Solomon said that the revelations were contained in footnotes that had been originally redacted from IG Michael Horowitz’s December report on FBI failures in the Russia case. That information has been provided to two separate Senate committees over the past few days.
In the report, Horowitz found “the FBI did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page in Steele’s reporting when it relied upon his reports in the first FISA application or subsequent renewal applications.”
Solomon notes that in one case, the footnote “highlights a glaring misstep early in the Russia case.” While looking at the case, Solomon noted that officials neglected to review the intelligence control file for Steele.
For those unfamiliar with the case or who may have been living under a rock, Christopher Steele is a former MI6 agent for British intelligence, and who approached the FBI with unverified allegations about then-candidate Donald Trump.
It later came out that Steele was hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to conduct opposition research on the Trump campaign.
In December, Horowitz, the Inspector General for the Justice Department, released the results of his probe. The investigation was looking into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as the basis for four FBI surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Although Horowitz said that the FBI was justified in launching the investigation, he found 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI’s applications for FISA warrants.
Failure to check intelligence control files is unusual in a counterintelligence investigation involving an informant, officials told Solomon.
The footnote in question notes that an FBI intelligence analyst, as well as a supervisory special agent working on the probe, designated Crossfire Hurricane stated they “did not recall reviewing information in Steele’s Delta file documenting Steele’s frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarchs in 2015.”
“In addition to the information in Steele’s Delta file documenting Steele’s frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarchs, we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received [redacted] indicating the potential for Russia disinformation influencing Steele’s election reporting,” according to a second footnote.
The footnote said:
“A [redacted] 2017 report relayed information from [redacted] outlining an inaccuracy in a limited subset of Steele’s reporting about the activities of [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen.
The [redacted] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”
Additionally the same footnote states that in a separate report to the FBI dated in 2017, it “contained information…that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltrat[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED} who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.” RIS is an acronym for Russian intelligence services.
So, what does all of this prove? Well if nothing else it shows that there was some doubt as to the Russia dossier when the FBI first became aware of it, and as Solomon says “during the time it was used to support FISA surveillance warrants targeting the Trump campaign in late 2016 and 2017.”
CBS noted that when Horowitz released his findings in December, U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a much broader investigation disputed some of those findings, saying “we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
The footnotes that were redacted in Horowitz’s report caught the attention of Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, who pushed for the declassification of four footnotes related to the Steele dossier. More formally known as the “dossier,” it is basically a collection of notes compiled by Steele in conducting opposition research on the Trump campaign.
According to CBS News, the footnote numbered “302” is related to FBI efforts to verify information contained in the dossier.
“According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)…
In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian Intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.”
In a letter to Grassley and Johnson, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that the “fourth and final footnote presents unique and significant concerns.
Specifically, the redacted information refers to information received by a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team regarding possible previous attempts by a foreign government to penetrate and research a company or individuals associated with Christopher Steele.”
While the FBI declined to comment on the declassified footnotes, they had said in an earlier statement of the ongoing audit into the bureau’s surveillance applications to the FISC:
“The FBI and NSD’s filing with the FISC provides the Court with an update regarding some of the corrective actions that the FBI has made and continues to make to its FISA processes. These steps are part of the 40-plus corrective actions that Director Wray ordered in December 2019.
The FBI remains confident that these corrective actions will address the errors identified in earlier FISA applications that the IG reviewed in connection with its recent Woods Procedures audit as well as ids review of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
“Consistent with our duty of candor to the Court and our responsibilities to the American people, we will continue updating the FISC and the Department of Justice to ensure that our corrective steps are implemented in a timely manner, and that our FISA authorities are exercised responsibly,” the statement said.
Johnson and Grassley said that the information which was held back by the FBI for two years confirms that the Russia collusion probe was fatally flawed from the beginning and covered up by a false narrative that was driven by leaks to the news media.
“For years the public was fed a healthy diet of leaks, innuendo and false information to imply that President Trump and his campaign were part of a Russian conspiracy to spread disinformation,” the senators said. “The FBI’s blind pursuit of the investigation, despite exculpatory and contradictory information only legitimized the narrative.”
“The mounting evidence undercutting this narrative should have stopped the investigation early in its tracks. Instead, it took several years and millions in taxpayer dollars to conclude the allegations were baseless.”
We are still waiting to hear apologies from Democrats such as Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, Chris Murphy and others. We won’t hold our breath.
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