FBI failed to review Steele's ties to Russians, warned some of dossier was Moscow disinformation
Declassified footnote lays out intelligence community concerns about Steele's ties to Russia and disinformation
April 10, 2020 - 6:28pm
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Key FBI officials failed to review an intelligence file identifying Christopher Steele's ties to Russian oligarchs and were later advised some of the information he provided agents in his dossier appeared to be misinformation planted by Russian intelligence, according to declassified information made public Friday.
The explosive revelations were contained in footnotes that had been originally redacted from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz's December report on FBI failures in the Russia case. The information was provided to two Senate committees in recent days.
One of the newly declassified footnotes highlights a glaring misstep early in the Russia case, when key officials failed to review the intelligence control file for Steele, a former MI6 agent who approached the FBI with unverified allegations about Trump after he was hired to do opposition research by the firm working for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Checking such files is a basic procedure in a counterintelligence probe when an informant is involved, officials told Just the News.
The footnote states that an FBI intelligence analyst and a supervisory special agent working on the Crossfire Hurricane probe admitted 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 oligarch, we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received [redacted] indicating the potential for Russia disinformation influencing Steele's election reporting," a second footnote revealed.
Specifically, that footnote added: "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."
That same footnote reveals a separate report to the FBI, dated 2017, “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 ‘infiltra[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.
The new information provides the most explosive information to date that FBI officials had serious reason to doubt Steele's dossier when it first arrived and during the time it was used to support FISA surveillance warrants targeting the Trump campaign in late 2016 and 2017.
Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who worked to get the footnotes declassified, said Friday the information withheld from the American public for two years confirms the FBI collusion probe that dogged the Trump administration was flawed from start to finish and covered up by a false narrative driven by news media leaks.
“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 that the allegations were baseless."
You can read the newly declassified documents here.
News, Not Noise
- You Vote: Do you think Antifa is a domestic terrorist organization?
- Black cop, white victim, no riots: A 2017 Minneapolis killing foreshadowed failed police reforms
- Trump to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization, wants FBI to pursue members
- Sanders says 'ultra-rich' have been ‘looting’ for 40 years, amid looting of businesses and banks
- Declassified transcripts add to evidence that FBI had no legal basis to interview Michael Flynn