‘Recent interviews and investigation … reveal [Steele] may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) With the FBI’s Russia hoax conspiracy beginning to unravel amid a Justice Department criminal probe, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, is putting more pressure on the agency to reveal its sources.
Last week, Christopher Steele, a former British spy who became an FBI anti-Trump resistance operative, claimed that all his notes and correspondence with his primary source had been “wiped,” the Daily Caller Reported.
But Steele—whose infamous, now-debunked dossier, funded by Democrats, helped green-light FBI spying on the Trump campaign and paved the way for the politically disruptive Mueller investigation—will not get off that easily.
Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday that he had asked Attorney General William Barr to furnish documents related to the FBI’s 2016 “Crossfire Hurricane” sting operation, during which it wiretapped Trump adviser Carter Page with approval from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“As the Committee continues to investigate this and other abuses related to FISA coverage on Carter Page, it is important that the Committee have access,” Graham wrote in a letter to Barr.
That would include furnishing any details about Steele’s “primary sub-source,” whom FBI agents interviewed at least three times during the course of their investigation.
“During these interviews, the Primary Sub-source substantially undercut Steele’s election reporting, calling into question the accuracy and reliability of any of Steele’s reports,” Graham noted in his letter to Barr.
A report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz last December revealed that the interviews should have raised serious red flags about Steele’s credibility when sources denied that the allegations Steele reported were based on serious first-hand knowledge.
Among them, the salacious claim that future President Donald Trump solicited prostitutes to urinate on him in a Moscow hotel, was likely culled from a drunken conversation with a hotel staffer who had heard it from friends, Horowitz revealed.
The FBI claimed that Steele’s primary sub-source was “truthful and cooperative” Graham noted.
However, recently declassified footnotes to the IG report also confirmed that Steele maintained close ties with powerful, Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs, who may have been involved in the active spread of disinformation to undermine Trump.
The footnotes showed that the FBI was aware of Steele’s ties to the Russian disinformation campaign, but the investigative bureau proceeded with its eavesdropping warrants regardless, using Steele’s claims as the primary—if not sole—source of justification.
In addition to requesting the documents referenced in Horowitz’s report that relate to the primary sub-source, Graham requested that Barr supply an email exchange between the case’s top two overseers—the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, and his deputy, Peter Strzok.
In the February 2017 e-mail, Strzok reportedly raised questions about the dossier’s trustworthiness, noting that “recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal [Steele] may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network.”
Graham also requested several other documents referenced in the IG report and the recently unredacted footnotes.