“Documents declassified on Tuesday detail an intense debate between the CIA and FBI in late 2016 over the handling of information from Christopher Steele, with one CIA official telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that the former British spy’s allegations about Trump-Russia collusion were “very unvetted.”
Despite the CIA’s concerns about Steele’s allegations, the FBI successfully lobbied to include his information in an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. The bureau also continued using information from Steele to conduct surveillance against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Investigators have since debunked several of Steele’s allegations.
The newly declassified information is from a Senate Intelligence Committee report released on April 21 that detailed the creation of an ICA released on Jan. 6, 2017.
According to the Senate report, FBI investigators informed CIA analysts on Dec. 20, 2016 that the bureau wanted to include information from Steele in the ICA.
James Comey and Andrew McCabe, the FBI director and deputy director, respectively, negotiated with their counterparts at the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to include Steele’s information, saying that it was relevant to the question of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
But CIA officials and analysts told the Senate panel that they had deep reservations about the dossier, according to the newly declassified materials.
“We would have never included that report in a CIA-only assessment because the source was so indirect. And we made sure we indicated we didn’t use it in our analysis, and if it had been a CIA-only product we wouldn’t have included it at all,” the CIA’s deputy director of analysis told the Senate panel.” (The Daily Caller, 7/28/2020) (Archive)