The primary sub-source to Christopher Steele’s infamous 2016 dossier against then-candidate Donald Trump was known to the FBI as far back as 2009 as a possible “threat to national security.”

The FBI also suspected the source was a Russian agent.

From the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today released a letter from Attorney General William Barr and a declassified summary from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that indicate Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source was a likely Russian agent and had previously been the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.

In response to Graham’s request for oversight of the reliability of the Steele dossier, the Justice Department recently declassified a key footnote in Inspector General Horowitz’s report. The footnote states Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source “was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 that assessed his/her documented contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers.”

Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead an investigation into the origins of the Russian collusion case against President Donald Trump and his campaign.

He told Graham that releasing this information would not compromise the investigation.

These are the main points from the declassified summary (their emphasis:

  • The Crossfire Hurricane team knew in December 2016 that Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source was an individual who the FBI had indicated in 2009 “could be a threat to national security.”
  • In May 2009, Steele’s source reportedly attempted to recruit two individuals connected to an influential foreign policy advisor connected to President Obama, offering that if the two individuals “‘did get a job in the government and had access to classified information’ and wanted ‘to make a little extra money,’ [Steele’s source] knew some people to whom they could speak.”
  • FBI databases revealed Steele’s source “had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers, [including contacting a known Russian intelligence officer] ‘so the documents can be placed in tomorrow’s diplomatic pouch.’”
  • One individual interviewed by the FBI noted that “the Primary Sub-source persistently asked about the interviewee’s knowledge of a particular military vessel.”
  • Significantly, the “record documenting the closing of the investigation [of the Primary Sub-source] stated that consideration would be given to re-opening the investigation in the event that the Primary Sub-source returned to the United States.”

In 2009, the FBI had “an active counterintelligence investigation of this individual” because agents suspected the person “of being a Russian agent.” It revealed:

That FBI investigation revealed the Primary Sub-source was suspected of providing information to the Russian Embassy and was in contact with known Russian intelligence officers, and made offers to people connected to incoming Obama Administration officials that any classified information they provided could be paid for. In addition, during this investigation it was disclosed that the Primary Sub-source persistently asked individuals about a particular military vessel of the United States.

Investigators found through their investigation of this source that the person “was not anti-American but wanted to return to Russia one day.” Another person described the source “as pro-Russia and indicated that he/she always interjected Russian opinions during policy discussions.”

The Crossfire Hurricane team identified this source in December 2016. The members “became familiar with the 2009 investigation.” Despite this, they interviewed the course “over the course of three sequential days in January 2017.”

But at that time the 2009 investigation was closed and it is still closed:

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 reopening the investigation in the event that the Primary Sub source returned to the United States.

A declassified summary of interviews with this source came out over the summer. The source told the FBI in January and March 2017 “the information contained in the anti-Trump dossier was unreliable.”

The source’s information “that served as the basis of the dossier was ‘second and third-hand information and rumors at best.'”

The document released over the summer showed the “FBI was on notice of the dossier’s credibility problem, yet continued to seek further FISA warrants renewals for Page.”

The source was shocked over the dossier, too:

The document also revealed that Steele’s primary sub-source “disagreed with and was surprised by” how information he gave Steele was then conveyed by Steele in the dossier.

For instance, the source told the FBI he “did not recall” where some of the information attributed to him or his sources came from; was never told about or mentioned to Steele certain information attributed to him or his sources; said that Steele “re-characterized” some of the information to make it more substantiated and “less attenuated” than it really was; and that he would have described some of his sources differently.

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report on the origins of the Russia investigation late last year.

The IG found justification to investigate the Russia investigation and did not find any “intentional misconduct or political bias.” However, the investigators discovered many “significant” errors concerning the FISA warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.


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