FISA Memo: Steele Broke Cardinal Rule of Source Handling Yet Remained Close with Obama DOJ

The House Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo released on Friday revealed that the FBI terminated Trump dossier author Christopher Steele as a bureau source after he met with numerous media outlets in the fall of 2016 in the lead-up to the presidential election.

The four-page memo drafted by Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes includes information about what role the infamous Trump dossier — commissioned by liberal opposition research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee — played in the FBI obtaining FISA warrants to surveil the Trump team.

“(The Committee’s) findings…1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and the legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information.” (FISC), and 2) represents a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from the abuses related to the FISA process,” wrote Nunes.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch presided over the DOJ and the FBI, when the FISA warrants were initially sought.

“Deputy Director (Andrew) McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information,” the memo states.

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“Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”

The memo records that after Steele was cut off from the FBI, he continued to pass information, as did Fusion GPS, through Justice Department Official Bruce Ohr’s wife Nellie, who began working for Fusion GPS as early as May 2016, Fox News reported.

According to the memo, Steele “was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations–an authorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.”

The full text of the memo can be read here.

The former spy had personal animus toward Trump, the Nunes memo states, and met with numerous media outlets, apparently using his connection with the FBI to bolster the credibility of his accusations against the Republican candidate.

Steele’s suspension as an FBI source occurred following an interview he gave to liberal media outlet Mother Jones on Oct. 30, 2016, as the presidential race drew to a close.

The FBI opposed the memo’s release this week stating, “We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The Washington Times reported, “Then-FBI Director James B. Comey signed three of the FISA applications, and Mr. McCabe signed one. Former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and Mr. Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications, the memo said.”

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“The memo says that neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials,” according to The Times.

President Donald Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that the abuses by the FBI and the DOJ outlined in the memo are “terrible.”

“I think it’s a disgrace, what’s happening in our country,” Trump said.

“A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that.”

Asked if he has confidence in Rosenstein staying on as deputy attorney general (overseeing the Russia investigation), Trump replied, “You figure that one out.”

This post was last modified on March 15, 2018, 8:14 pm