Christopher Steele

December 20, 2019 – The FISA court does not call for a review of all FBI FISA deceptions

Submitted to Zero Hedge by Twitter journalist Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog)

“This week, Presiding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Judge Rosemary Collyer, released two stern Orders taking the FBI to task for its repeated failures, omissions, and misrepresentations in its application and subsequent renewals to surveil Carter Page.

And while one FBI employee has received a criminal referral for doctoring evidence in the scheme to defraud the court, key players with oversight responsibilities – under penalty of perjury – have been given a pass.

(…) While it’s laudable that Judge Collyer has ordered the government to double-check their submissions in the prior FISA applications that involved Clinesmith, what about the previous FISA applications verified by the FBI agents who lied – under penalty of perjury, we might add – in the Carter Page applications and renewals?

In other words, whether an FBI lawyer changes an e-mail about a target’s history of cooperation with the CIA or an FBI agent lies about the underlying intelligence, the goal is the same: secure the warrant through deception. Both these acts are criminal. Why is only one deserving of review?

Related: A Techno_Fog thread on Joe Pientka, and the FBI’s efforts to keep him out of the spotlight (click a tweet to read the rest):

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/22/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The DOJ IG report misses yet another lie from the FBI

“Left-leaning politicians and the press spent more than three years pushing the Russia collusion hoax. Yet, following the inspector general’s release of his 478-page report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse, after making quick mention of the top-line findings, the media moved on. As a result, much has been missed, including one significant misrepresentation contained in all four of the Carter Page FISA applications—an inaccuracy even the IG’s team overlooked.

Two passages, separated by more than 50 pages, when read together reveal an eighth significant inaccuracy and omission from the first FISA application, and one repeated in the later three renewals: Steele’s sources and sub-sources were not ones he used or developed during his time with the British intelligence service MI6, contrary to the impression created in the FISA applications.

This detail was dropped in a footnote in the IG report, following this text: “Steele told us he had a source network in place with a proven ‘track record’ that could deliver on Fusion GPS’s requirements. Steele added that this source network previously had furnished intelligence on Russian interference in European affairs.”

The relevant footnote, footnote 214, then read: “Steele told us that this source network did not involve sources from his time as a [redacted] and was developed entirely in the period after he retired from government service.” The redacted language undoubtedly referred to Steele’s British intelligence work.

That Steele’s “source network did not involve sources from his time” with British intelligence proves extremely significant when considered in tandem with the details the IG provided about the FISA application process in general, and the specifics of the Page FISA applications.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/02/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report writes McCabe pushed the “Golden Showers” hoax and Comey approved its inclusion in the intel report

(Credit: Aaron Klein/Breitbart)

“An email proves disgraced ex-FBI Director James Comey personally approved an FBI effort to have the wild and unsubstantiated “golden showers” claim about President Trump included in the material to be considered for publication in the U.S. Intelligence Community’s official report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Comey email, which has not received media attention until now, was revealed inside the Justice Department’s recently released 476-page Inspector General report on the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation.

The IG report further discloses a separate email in which Andrew McCabe, who served under Comey as the FBI’s deputy director, specifically wanted dossier author Christopher Steele’s unverified “pee” charges against Trump to be included in the body of the January 6, 2017, U.S. Intelligence Community report, known as the ICA, assessing alleged Russian interference efforts.

McCabe opposed a CIA compromise to only reference Steele’s controversial dossier in an appendix of the ICA report, with McCabe arguing for it to be included in the body of the report where it would clearly get more attention.

(…) In an email to Strzok, McCabe and others, Comey described a phone call he had with then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, writing that he told Clapper to include the Steele reports.

“Looks okay to me,” Comey wrote, approving of the FBI submission that encompassed Steele’s dossier charges.

Comey’s email continued:

FYI: During a secure call last night on this general topic, I informed the DNI that we would be contributing the [Steele] reporting (although I didn’t use that name) to the IC [Intelligence Community] effort. I stressed that we were proceeding cautiously to understand and attempt to verify the reporting as best we can, but we thought it important to bring it forward to the IC effort.

Comey went on to document that he vouched for Steele’s so-called sources while admitting that he didn’t tell Clapper about FBI efforts to verify the claims. The FBI at the time could not verify the charges.

Comey wrote:

I told him the source of the material, which included salacious material about the President-Elect, was a former [REDACTED] who appears to be a credible person with a source and sub-source network in position to report on such things, but we could not vouch for the material. (I said nothing further about the source or our efforts to verify).”

(Read more: Breitbart, 1/12/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Baker, Comey, Strzok and Bruce Ohr contradictions

(…) “For instance, according to the IG report, Baker said “he obtained more information regarding Ohr’s interactions with Steele during a Crossfire Hurricane leadership meeting with Comey and McCabe in spring 2017.” Baker further stated that “he learned that Ohr was providing to the FBI information that Ohr had received from Steele,” and, in Baker’s view, “this [was] not good.”

But Comey told the IG “he had no knowledge of Ohr’s communications with members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team and only discovered Ohr’s association with Steele and the Crossfire Hurricane investigation when the media reported on it.” Comey’s claims, though, conflicted with both Baker’s statements, and “notes taken by Strzok during a November 23, 2016 Crossfire Hurricane update meeting” that Comey attended.

Those notes referenced “a discussion at the meeting concerning ‘strategy for engagement [with Handling Agent 1] and Ohr’ regarding Steele’s reporting.” Strzok also told the IG that “he believed he informed FBI leadership that Ohr approached the FBI concerning his relationship with Steele and that Ohr relayed Steele’s information regarding Russia to the team.”

However, as the IG report explained, “because Strzok’s notes of the meeting were classified at the time we interviewed Comey, and Comey chose not to have his security clearances reinstated for his OIG interview, we were unable to show him the notes and ask about the reference in them to Steele and Ohr.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Glenn Simpson was paying Steele to ‘discuss his reporting’ with the media

Contained within Monday’s FISA report by the DOJ Inspector General is the revelation that Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the Steele dossier, “was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media.” (P. 369 and elsewhere)

And when did Steele talk with the media (which got him fired as an FBI source)? September of 2016, roughly six weeks before the election.

One of the more damaging articles to result from these meetings was authored by Yahoo News journalist Michael Isikoff, who said in an interview that he was invited by Fusion GPS to meet a “secret source” at a Washington restaurant.

That secret source was none other than Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 Russia expert who fed the Isikoff information for a September 23, 2016 article – which would have had far greater reach and impact coming from such a widely-read media outlet vs. $100,000 in Russian-bought Facebook ads.

Isikoff’s article claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page “has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials – including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president.”

This allegation was found by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be false. Moreover, the FBI knew about it in December 2016, when DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr told the agency as much.

(FISA Report, pg. 206)

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/10/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report suggests the FISA court is complicit in the FBI FISA abuses

Margot Cleveland

“While the IG’s 478-page report includes many damning details, the following passage indicates that the FISA court abdicated its responsibility of providing “an external check on executive branch decisions to conduct surveillance” in order “’to protect the fourth amendment rights of U.S. persons.”

This paragraph describes how the government described their sources to the FISA court:

The final application submitted to the FISC contained a description of the source network that included the fact that Steele relied upon a Primary Sub-source who used a network of sub-sources, and that neither Steele nor the Primary Sub-source had direct access to the information being reported. The drafts, read copy, and final application also contained a separate footnote on each sub-source with a brief description of his/her position or access to the information he/she was reporting. The Supervisory Intel Analyst assisted the case agent in providing information on the sub-sources and reviewed the footnotes for accuracy. According to the [Office of Intelligence] Attorney, the application contained more information about the sources than is typically provided to the court in FISA applications. According to [the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Stuart] Evans, the idea was to present the source network to the court so that the court would have as much information as possible.

From this paragraph we know that the FISA court was expressly told that neither Christopher Steele nor his primary sub-source were the actual sources of the information included in the FISA applications. Instead, the FISA applications made clear that Steele and his primary sub-source were repeating information other individuals told them. And it appears from this passage that the only additional information provided to the court concerned a sub-source’s “position” or “access to the information” on which he was reporting.

Further, there appears to be no assertion in the FISA applications that the sub-sources were reliable. (Even if the FISA applications professed the reliability of sub-sources, “courts hold that conclusory statements that informants are ‘believed to be reliable sources,’ ‘standing alone without any supporting factual information, merit absolutely no weight and that information obtained from a reliable source must be treated as information obtained from an informant of unknown reliability.’”) Instead, the FISA applications focused on Steele’s supposed reliability.

But as a legal matter, that is not enough: Even though the probable cause threshold is low, “an untested, unidentified informant’s second-hand report” does not “clear the bar.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/10/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report states John McCain continued to provide Comey with Steele reports after the British intel officer was terminated as a source by the FBI

David Kramer invokes the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on Steele dossier in December 2018. (Credit: public domain)

“The controversial report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz into the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign revealed many concerning details. One was that Christopher Steele’s dossier was used in the case to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to secure a wiretap on former Donald Trump campaign official Carter Page after the DOJ found no probable cause to do so. The report also revealed that late Senator John McCain provided former FBI Director James Comey with reports from Steele after the FBI terminated the former British intelligence officer as a source, Breitbart reports.

McCain reportedly gave Comey five new Steele reports that were not previously in possession of the FBI, although it’s not clear if McCain knew at the time that Steele was no longer an FBI source. Regardless, the new reports were allegedly obtained by McCain from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Fusion GPS was notably hired for anti-Trump opposition research by the president’s opponents in the primary.

“Several weeks later, on December 9, 2016, Senator John McCain provided Corney with a collection of 16 Steele election reports, 5 of which Steele had not given the FBI,” the IG report reads. “McCain had obtained these reports from a staff member at the McCain Institute. The McCain Institute staff member had met with Steele and later acquired the reports from Simpson.”

According to Breitbart, the unnamed McCain staffer is David J. Kramer, who reportedly gave the Steele dossier to BuzzFeed News, which published the document in full on January 10, 2017.

(Read more: The Inquisitr, 12/26/2019) (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA Report reveals the main source of the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier is the subject of an “open FBI counterintelligence investigation” – FISA court is not told

Photo of John McCain with “Source D-Source E” of Steele Dossier — Sergei Millian. (Credit: Paul Sperry/Facebook)

“One of the more shocking facts from the FISA report is that there was only one person who supplied information to Christopher Steele and he said that the information he provided was all garbage.

“The primary sub-source stated that his information came from word of mouth and hearsay and a conversation he had with friends over beers.

Steele’s sub-source was Sergei Millian. Millian’s comments were used for three years to spy on candidate and President Trump and to put the country through corrupt investigations as a result. It all was garbage, Comey, Obama, Mueller, the whole lot knew it was.

Now we see that the subject of the entire Trump sham, Millian, was under investigation at the time he was used as the main source to spy on Trump.

He was “the subject of an open FBI counterintelligence investigation”. This was never shared with the courts.

The Daily Caller reports:

Steele’s claim rested in part on his belief that Deripaska had “no contact with any of his sources” for the dossier. But Deripaska did have contact with a businessman who Steele told the FBI was an unwitting source for most of the dossier’s most eye-popping claims.

Oleg Deripaska (r), CNBC anchor Julia Chatterley (c), and Sergei Millian,  June, 2017. (Credit: CNBC)

Deripaska and the unwitting source, Sergie [sic] Millian, were photographed speaking to each other on June 17, 2016 at an economic forum in St. Petersburg. Steele wrote the first memo of his dossier three days later.

Steele claimed that Millian, who is referred to as Person 1 in the IG report, unwittingly provided information to his main information collector, who is identified as Primary Sub-Source. Millian has long denied being a source for the dossier.

Steele’s primary source disavowed some of Steele’s reporting during an interview with FBI agents in January 2017. The IG report said that the source said that he shared “rumor and speculation” about Donald Trump and members of the campaign with Steele, who reported them as fact in the dossier.

The Crossfire Hurricane team failed to disclose the source’s derogatory comments about Steele in applications to renew surveillance against Page.

Priestap, the former counterintelligence official who oversaw Crossfire Hurricane, told the IG he saw “no indication whatsoever” as of May 2017 that Russia had funneled disinformation through Steele.

Steele’s sub-source was Sergie [sic] Millian.  Millian’s comments were used for three years to spy on candidate and President Trump and to put the country through corrupt investigations as a result.

(FISA Report – pg. 164)

(Read more: The Gateway Pundit, 12/16/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report shows the Mueller team replicated FBI abuses

“Shortly after the release of the special counsel report last year, I posited that Robert Mueller’s failure to investigate whether Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele disinformation established that Mueller was either incompetent or a political hack. Now, with the release of the inspector general’s report on FISA abuse, we know the answer: He was both.

(…) As the IG report noted, “on May 17, 2017, the Crossfire Hurricane cases were transferred to the Office of the Special Counsel,” and the FBI agents and analysts then began working with the special counsel. A little more than a month later, the FBI asked the Department of Justice to seek a fourth extension of the Page surveillance order. That fourth renewal obtained under Mueller’s leadership included the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions the IG identified.

(Timeline editor’s note: It is our understanding there are not 17 individual significant inaccuracies that were found in each FISA application. Instead, it is a grand total of  significant inaccuracies in all of the Page FISA applications, combined.)

(…) Most significantly, in June 2017, the FBI’s office of general counsel falsely represented that Page had not been a source for another federal agency, when, in reality, Page had been approved as an “operational contact” and the FBI’s attorney had been told so in an email. Yet the final surveillance renewal application failed to inform the FISA court that, while Page had connections with individuals connected to Russian intelligence, he had provided information about those contacts to another agency as an approved source.

(…) Not only did Mueller’s team continue to push the same inaccuracies and omissions to the FISA court in the June 2017 renewal, the FISA court was not informed of the many mistakes and omissions for another year—even though the special counsel’s investigation should have uncovered many of the errors contained in the applications early on in the probe.

(…) Mueller’s team also knew, by July 2017 at the latest, that Joseph Mifsud—the Maltese professor who supposedly tipped then-Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton—had denied telling Papadopoulos that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign by leaking negative information on Clinton. Prior to the special counsel’s appointment, the FBI had interviewed Papadopoulos and Mifsud, but it would be the special counsel’s office that indicted Papadopoulos in late July 2017, charging him with lying to the FBI.

(…) It also wasn’t mere incompetence on display: The special counsel’s office also engaged in much of the same misconduct the IG identified. For instance, emblematic of Mueller’s complicity in misconduct Horowitz identified is the fact that the special counsel continued to use Bruce Ohr as a conduit to feed “intel” to the FBI from Steele after Steele was terminated as a confidential human source.

(…) That the special counsel’s team engaged with Ohr without notifying to Ohr’s superiors shouldn’t surprise, though, as that was the M.O. of Mueller’s pit bull, lawyer Andrew Weissmann. The IG report exposed this reality, in detail. Specifically, the IG report explained that shortly after Trump was elected president:

…between November 16, 2016 and December 15, 2016, Ohr participated in several meetings that were attended, at various times, by some or all of the following individuals: Swartz, Ahmad, Andrew Weissmann (then Section Chief of CRM’s Fraud Section), Strzok, and Lisa Page. The meetings involving Ohr, Swartz, Ahmad, and Weissmann focused on their shared concern that the [Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section] MLARS was not moving quickly enough on the Manafort criminal investigation and whether there were steps they could take to move the investigation forward. The meetings with Strzok and Page focused primarily on whether the FBI could assess the case’s relevance, if any, to the FBI ‘s Russian interference investigation. MLARS was not represented at any of these meetings or told about them, and none of attendees had supervisory responsibility over the MLARS investigation….

On January 31, 2017, one day after Yates was removed as DAG, Ahmad, by then an Acting CRM Deputy Assistant Attorney General, after consulting with Swartz and Weissmann, sent an email to Lisa Page, copying Weissmann, Swartz, and Ohr, requesting a meeting the next day to discuss ‘a few Criminal Division related developments.’ The next day, February 1, Swartz, Ohr, Ahmad, and Weissmann met with Strzok, Lisa Page, and an FBI Acting Section Chief. None of the attendees at the meeting could explain to us what the ‘Criminal Division related developments’ were, and we did not find any.

Meeting notes reflect, among other things, that the group discussed the Manafort criminal investigation and efforts that the Department could undertake to investigate attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 elections. MLARS was not represented at, or told about, the meeting.

(Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020)  (Archive)

November 21, 2019 – Fiona Hill testifies to have once worked with Christopher Steele; met with him during the 2016 election; then claims shock he was responsible for the dossier

Fiona Hill testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on November 21, 2019. (Credit: Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

“Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council (NSC) official who is testifying in Thursday’s impeachment inquiry, admitted in her closed-door deposition to having worked with Russia “dossier” author Christopher Steele.

Steele, a former British spy, was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. The firm was paid by Trump’s political opponents, particularly the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. His “dossier” produced a slew of unsubstantiated, salacious accusations, some of them were proven false outright. But the FBI used it to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates.

Hill was asked directly about her work with Steele. She portrayed it as a product of circumstance and said that she believed he was being fed misinformation by Russians, perhaps as payback for his past spying on them. (Some of the information also came from Ukraine, though Hill dismissed Ukrainian interference as a “fictional narrative.”)

“He was my counterpart when I was the director, the national intelligence officer,” she testified. She added: “So inevitably when I had to do liaison meetings with the U.K., he was the person I had to meet with.” She said that she had worked with him from 2006 to 2009 — and added that he had reached out to her in 2016, during the election: “That was prior to the time that I had any knowledge about the dossier. He was constantly trying to drum up business, and he had contacted me because he wanted to see if I could give him a contact to some other individual, who actually I don’t even recall now, who he could approach about some business issues.”

She said that she saw a copy of the “dossier” in January 2017, the day before it was published by Buzzfeed, adding that “it seemed to be about half of Washington, D.C., had it.” She later said she was “shocked” he was responsible.

According to her résumé, Hill was also once on a regional board of George Soros’s Open Society Institute. (Breitbart, 11/21/2019)