FBI told FISA court Steele wasn't source of report used to justify surveilling Trump team, docs show
On four occasions, the FBI told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court that it "did not believe" former British spy Christopher Steele was the direct supply for a Yahoo News report implicating former Trump aide Carter Page in Russian collusion, newly released documents reveal.
Instead, the FBI recommended to the court, the September 2016 report by Michael Isikoff was independent corroboration of the salacious, unverified allegations against Trump in the infamous Steele Dossier. Federal authorities employed both the Steele Dossier and Yahoo News report to convince the FISA court to authorize a surveillance warrant for Web page.
But London court records show that contrary to the FBI’s assessments, Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the path of Fusion GPS — the opposition analysis firm behind the dossier.
The revelations are contained in heavily-redacted documents released more than the weekend after a Freedom of Info lawsuit by the organization Judicial Watch.
The supplies released by the DOJ consist of an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page as effectively as a number of renewal applications.
The FBI’s assessment that Steele was not the direct supply of the Yahoo News article is contained in all of the released FISA applications, which includes a renewal in June 2017.
"The FBI does not think that Source #1 [Steele] straight provided this data to the identified news organization that published the September 23rd News Post," the FBI states in one particular of the released FISA documents. "Source #1 told the FBI that he/she only provided this data to the company associate and the FBI."
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The documents describe Supply #1 as someone "hired by a company associate to conduct research" into Trump’s Russia ties — but do not mention that Fusion GPS was funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.
Alternatively, the documents say only: "The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. particular person was most likely looking for data that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign."
Fox News believes that the U.S. particular person is Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS.
The FBI describes Steele in the documents as "credible" and "reliable," but noted that it suspended its partnership with him in October 2016 due to the fact of his "unauthorized disclosures to the press."
The unredacted FISA components also include only restricted references to ex-Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. Media reports had speculated that Papadopoulos’ 2016 meeting in London with a professor who had ties to Russia was a important justification for the FISA-authorized surveillance of Web page.
Papadopoulos has given that pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in Specific Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
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Reacting to the document release, Page told Fox News, "I’m possessing problems obtaining any modest bit of this document that rises above total ignorance and/or insanity."
Critics have charged that Deputy Lawyer Basic Rod Rosenstein, who signed off on the FISA application renewals, should not have authorized them with out far more dependable intelligence.
In a series of tweets early Sunday, President Trump referred to as the FISA documents proof of a "witch-hunt" and a "scam," and praised Judicial Watch for getting the documents.
But Democrats countered that the release had, in reality, vindicated the FBI.
"These documents affirm that our nation faced a profound counterintelligence threat prior to the 2016 election, and the Department of Justice and FBI took acceptable methods to investigate whether any U.S. persons were acting as an agent of a foreign power,&rdquo Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, who serves as ranking member of the Property intelligence committee, stated in a statement.
&ldquoFBI and DOJ would have been negligent had they not utilised all the tools at their disposal, which includes Court-authorized [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] FISA surveillance, to protect the country," he added.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne contributed to this report.
Published at Sun, 22 Jul 2018 20:15:00 +0000