This document is an unclassified summary of classified investigative case file reports pertaining to
the counterintelligence investigation referenced in footnote 334 of the Department of Justice Inspector
General Report, Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane
Investigation. The FBI is providing this information to the Office of the Attorney General pursuant to the
DOJ’s request, which the FBI understands is based on DOJ receiving an inquiry from the Chairman of the
Senate Judiciary Committee on September 18, 2020.
Between May 2009 and March 2011, the FBI maintained an investigation into the individual who
later would be identified as Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source (“the 2009 investigation”). As
explained below, the FBI commenced this investigation based on information by the FBI indicating that
the Primary Sub-source may be a threat to national security. The following describes the investigation
and subsequent knowledge of the investigation by the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE team.
In May 2009, the FBI opened a preliminary investigation predicated on a specific interaction
between three individuals who were then employed by a prominent U.S. think tank. Specifically, the FBI
received reporting indicating a research fellow for an influential foreign policy advisor in the Obama
Administration was at a work-related event in late 2008 with a coworker when they were approached by
another employee of the think tank (“the employee”). The employee reportedly indicated that if the two
individuals at the table “did get a job in the government and had access to classified information” and
wanted “to make a little extra money,” the employee knew some people to whom they could speak.
According to the research fellow, there was no pretext to the conversation; the employee had not been
invited to the table, and the employee began the exchange by asking if the research fellow “would
follow [his/her principal] anywhere.” When later interviewed by the FBI, the research fellow confirmed
the report and stated that while he/she could not be certain, he/she did not believe the employee was
attempting to gain access to the foreign policy advisor through the research fellow’s access. When
interviewed by the FBI, the coworker seated with the research fellow did not recall a specific pitch for
classified information, however, the coworker did express suspicion of the employee and had
questioned the possibility that the employee might actually be a Russian spy. In December 2016, the
FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation identified the employee as Christopher Steele’s Primary Subsource.
CONVERSION TO FULL INVESTIGATION
After initiating the investigation, the FBI converted it from a preliminary to a full investigation
based on the following open source and FBI information:
The Primary Sub-source was identified as an associate of two FBI counterintelligence
subjects. The FBI assessed that the Primary Sub-source formed the associations with these
individuals through a university student organization of which he/she was a member. The FBI
identified no additional derogatory information pertaining to these associations.
A review of FBI databases revealed that the Primary Sub-source had contact in 2006 with
the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.
In September 2006, the Primary Sub-source was in contact with a known Russian
intelligence officer. During these conversations, the Russian Intelligence Officer invited the
Primary Sub-source to the Russian Embassy to see his office. The Primary Sub-source told the
Russian Intelligence Officer that he/she was interested in entering the Russian diplomatic
service one day. The two discussed a time when the Primary Sub-source was to visit. Four days
later, the Russian Intelligence Officer contacted the Primary Sub-source and informed him/her
they could meet that day to work “on the documents and then think about future plans.” Later
in October 2006, the Primary Sub-source contacted the Russian Intelligence Officer seeking a
reply “so the documents can be placed in tomorrow’s diplomatic mail pouch.”
FBI information further identified, in 2005, the Primary Sub-source making contact with a
Washington, D.C.–based Russian officer. It was noted that the Russian officer and the Primary
Sub-source seemed very familiar with each other.
INTERVIEWS TO SUPPORT THE INVESTIGATION
As part of its investigation, the FBI conducted interviews with the Primary Sub-source’s
associates. One individual indicated that the Primary Sub-source was not anti-American but wanted to
return to Russia one day. Another described the Primary Sub-source as pro-Russia and indicated that
he/she always interjected Russian opinions during policy discussions. While both stated that they did
not recall the Primary Sub-source asking directly about their access to classified information, one
interviewee did note that the Primary Sub-source persistently asked about the interviewee’s knowledge
of a particular military vessel.
CLOSURE OF THE INVESTIGATION
In July 2010, the field office initiated a request for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–
authorized coverage and the request was routed to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Intelligence
Policy and Review in August 2010. Investigators subsequently learned that the Primary Sub-source
departed the United States in September 2010. Further investigation determined that his/her visa was
not renewed. Because the Primary Sub-source had apparently left the United States, the FBI withdrew
the FISA application request and closed the investigation. The record documenting the closing of the
investigation stated that consideration would be given to re-opening the investigation in the event that
the Primary Sub-source returned to the United States.
IDENTIFICATION BY CROSSFIRE HURRICANE TEAM
In December 2016, the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE team identified the Primary Sub-source used by
Christopher Steele and, at that time, became familiar with the 2009 investigation. The CROSSFIRE
HURRICANE team interviewed the Primary Sub-source over the course of three sequential days in
January 2017. At that time, the 2009 investigation remained closed. The 2009 investigation remains
closed to this day.