October 2016-2017: The FBI official at the heart of surveillance abuses is also a professor of spying ethics

In Email Timeline Post-Election 2016, Email/Dossier Investigations by Katie Weddington

Brian Auten (Credit: Twitter)

“The unnamed FBI “Supervisory Intelligence Analyst” cited by the Justice Department’s watchdog for failing to properly vet the so-called Steele dossier before it was used to justify spying on the Trump campaign teaches a class on the ethics of spying at a small Washington-area college, records show.

The senior FBI analyst, Brian J. Auten, has taught the course at Patrick Henry College since 2010, including the 11-month period in 2016 and 2017 when he and a counterintelligence team at FBI headquarters electronically monitored an adviser to the Trump campaign based on false rumors from the dossier and forged evidence.

Auten, identified by congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, never confirmed the most explosive allegations in the dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, cutting a number of corners in the verification process, Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz pointed out in his December report on FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

By January 2017, the lead analyst had ample evidence the dossier was bogus. Auten could not get sources who provided information to Steele to support the dossier’s allegations during interviews. And collections from the wiretaps of Trump aide Carter Page failed to reveal any confirmation of the claims. Auten even came across exculpatory evidence indicating Page was not the Russian asset the dossier alleged, but was in fact a CIA asset helping the U.S. spy on Moscow.

Nonetheless, he and the FBI continued to use the Steele material as a basis for renewing their FISA monitoring of Page, who was never charged with a crime.” (Read more: Real Clear Investigations, 7/10/2020)  (Archive)