Christopher Steele, the ex-British intelligence agent who got paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign to come up with dirt on Donald Trump was apparently “Source #1” in the FBI’s court application to surveil Trump campaign official Carter Page, documents released Saturday reveal. The full 412-page application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its subsequent renewals were made public after a Freedom of Information Act request by The New York Times and other outlets.
“‘The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government,’ the surveillance application filed in October 2016 said,” The Times reported. “The documents released include applications and renewal warrants filed in 2017 after Trump took office. Page has denied being an agent of the Russian government and has not been charged with any crime.”
“The documents released said ‘the FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with’ Trump’s campaign. It added Page ‘has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.’”
The Times’ story prominently mentions 12 apparently unrelated indictments of Russian figures and a quote by Nancy Pelosi that “these documents provide clear evidence of ‘Russia’s coordination with Carter Page,’ a high-ranking Trump campaign official, ‘to undermine and improperly and illegally influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.’”
As The Times points out, Page remains uncharged, so there’s still that — but thanks for stepping in for the jury, Rep. Pelosi.
Twelve angry men and women (and doubtless some non-binary individuals) are grateful that you’ve bestowed upon us the unequivocal truth about Carter Page before the criminal justice system has even seen fit to make him an indicted man.
I point this all out because it’s curiously unmentioned where the FBI got the idea “that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government.”
At the end of the story, there’s this profoundly weak-sauce coda that kind of explains it: “Republicans have claimed that the FBI used in part a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to justify the warrant, and failed to disclose to the court that Steele was employed by a firm funded by Democrats to do opposition research on Trump’s business dealings.”
Less widely mentioned in the story: Steele and his DNC/Hillary-funded dossier were pretty clearly “Source #1” in the document.
“Source #1,” in the application, claims he has knowledge of Page meeting with Kremlin insiders in Moscow during the campaign. These are charges that Page has vigorously denied and nobody in the American intelligence services seems able to prove, which makes the whole thing difficult to believe when the only source hawking it has been funded by the DNC and the Hillary campaign and was known to use third-hand sources and paid information.
The Daily Wire pointed out a few footnotes in the third FISA renewal application that might be of interest. In one, the FBI announces it has “suspended its relationship” with “Source #1” due to the fact the source had disclosed information to the media. Here’s how the Daily Wire presented it:
“Subsequently, the FBI closed (Steele) as an FBI source,” the application read. It still contended that his information had been “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” and that the “incident that led the FBI to terminate its relationship with (Steele) occurred after (Steele) provided the reporting that is described herein.”
Another footnote contends that Steele had only shared information with a business associate and not with the media. Steele’s dossier had already been “the basis for a Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo! News article about Page’s surveillance,” the Daily Wire noted, and he would go to the media in October of 2016 because he was “frustrated” regarding James Comey’s decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Neither Steele nor his dossier were reliable sources. The FBI knew at the time that the dossier was a paid political document and that Steele had expressed an animus toward Donald Trump. Very little in the dossier has been proved to be accurate and Steele’s actions with the media should have proved to all parties they were dealing with someone more concerned with a political outcome than the truth.
And he was “Source #1.”
Yet, all we get from The Times is one awkward sentence tacked on at the end of the story which states that “Republicans have claimed that the FBI used in part a dossier…” (oh, what delights William Safire would have taken in that gem) and a story beefed up with innuendoes and quotes directly from the House minority leader opining on the guilt of an individual who hasn’t even been charged with anything.
“I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above completely ignorance and/or insanity,” Carter Page told The Daily Caller after the documents were released.
That may be an overstatement, but not by much.
Considering one of the main reasons for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court it created was to protect Americans from unwarranted surveillance by government iuntellitence agencies, the Page example should frighten every one of us who believes FISA warrants against campaign officials shouldn’t be given out based on the farcical claims of a paid political document.