Ex-British spook Christopher Steele is irritated at the notion that his dossier is disinformation. I mean it is total garbage. Two government investigations exposed that. Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian collusion torched it. The Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office delivered the final head shot. The latter review came with a scathing rebuke of the FBI’s FISA warrant application process against former Trump campaign official Carter Page, who was then seen as public enemy no.1 concerning this whole mess. The FBI omitted or excluded key information when trying to obtain the spy warrant against Page, including his past work with the CIA which would’ve made the initial allegation—that he was a possible foreign agent—look ridiculous. Someone at the FBI thought they knew best and altered the warrant. That’s a big no-no. Inspector General Michael Horowitz said this failure was systemic, from the supervisor on down concerning the FBI’s FISA abuses during the 2016 election. The FISA court itself said all of the warrants sought against Page should be reviewed because the credible evidence—the Trump dossier which Steele created—was unreliable hearsay. Nothing in this document is confirmed—nothing. It’s most unverifiable. And yet, everyone treated it as gospel. It plunged the anti-Trump liberal media into a frenzy for two years. This was the birth of the Russian collusion myth—and it was totally false. In the meantime, we have a chapter of American history where the dossier, a piece of political opposition research that was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, was used to secure a spy warrant against someone from a rival party’s presidential campaign.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple is doing a multi-part series on the dossier and how it spread through the media like a brushfire. Concerning Steele, Wemple wrote that he’s “galled” by the notion that his dossier is a misinformation-ridden piece of fiction. As we’ve said often, the Post is biased. Their self-righteousness encapsulated in the “democracy dies in darkness” motto is nauseating, but this is a good piece about how The New York Times found out that the dossier was, well, totally wrong. Certainly, not solid enough to secure a spy warrant against an American citizen (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:
“Mueller Report Likely to Renew Scrutiny of Steele Dossier,” read the headline on a piece by Scott Shane, Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg.
The New York Times noted that, by January 2017, the FBI had reached one of Steele’s main sources for the claims in the dossier. “Agents did not believe that either the source or Mr. Steele was deliberately inventing things, according to the former official,” reads the story. “How the dossier ended up loaded with dubious or exaggerated details remains uncertain, but the document may be the result of a high-stakes game of telephone, in which rumors and hearsay were passed from source to source.”
The notion that Steele was playing “telephone” found some corroboration in the report released on Dec. 9 by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The “FBI interviews with the Primary Sub-source revealed that Steele did not have good insight into how many degrees of separation existed between the Primary Sub-source’s sub-sources and the persons quoted in the reporting, and that it could have been multiple layers of hearsay upon hearsay,” reads the report.
In an interview with the Erik Wemple Blog, Shane said the New York Times considered working up a master annotation of the dossier, complete with commentary on what was confirmed, what was debunkedand what remained unproved. The newspaper abandoned the idea, however, because of the nature of the document itself. “We just found that there wasn’t enough certainty about the facts to really make that possible,” Shane said.
When Shane took a look at the dossier, he zeroed in on its claims about former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. In what is perhaps its second-most-famous claim — the first being the claim that Trump frolicked with prostitutes in a perverted ritual at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow — the dossier avers that Cohen traveled to Prague for a key meeting with Kremlin officials in August/September of 2016. “That one, unlike most of them, had a lot of detail: when Cohen had supposedly gone to Prague, who they met with and what they talked about,” Shane said. “If there’s something you can actually get to the bottom of, this is it.”
A former Moscow correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, Shane decided “on a whim” to call up one of the fellows identified as an “interlocutor” of Cohen on his alleged Prague trip. This was Oleg Solodukhin, who was operating under the cover of Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian cultural exchange arm, according to the dossier. Solodukhin answered the phone. “He came on the line and I talked to him, and if the story was true I didn’t expect him to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, we talked about the hacking.’ I thought that if it was true, he would come up with some alternative explanation. But he said, ‘I don’t know where these rumors are coming from, and I’ve never met anyone from Trump circles.’” Shane plumbed other angles and sources, of course, but came up empty.
“I’d eventually gotten hints from sources that there wasn’t evidence he’d gone to Prague, but then he denied it even after he’d flipped against Trump and was trying to work down his eventual sentence. It really seemed like the story was false,” Shane said.
In their book “Crime in Progress,” Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch write that the suggestion of a disinformation-tainted dossier “galls” Steele. “These people simply have no idea what they are talking about,” Steele told Simpson. “I’ve spent my entire adult life working with Russian disinformation. It’s an incredibly complex subject that is at the very core of my training and my professional mission.” The dossier author also charges that the idea the Russians would promote negative information about Trump is “not logical.” At least 70 percent of the “assertions” in the dossier are accurate, Steele believes, according to “Crime in Progress.”
Steele can believe that, but it’s still wrong. This circus is over. The big top has come crashing down hard. The dossier is fiction and yet it was used to try and delegitimize a president because the vast legions of the liberal media don’t like him. Oh, and there was this tidbit that the Washington Examiner’s Byron York caught concerning Fiona Hill’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee this year, the hearing that was supposed to ensnare Trump in the Democrats impeachment push but—shocker—didn’t. It was her claim that the dossier “likely contained” Russian misinformation. Adam Schiff is still skeptical that Steele was taken for a ride, which is precisely why the liberal media would avoid shining a light on this point. After all, Schiff is the starting QB with this Russian collusion nonsense. He’s invested too much in peddling and weaponizing misinformation to get Trump, so he has to go full steam ahead. Democracy sure does die in darkness, huh?
Fiona Hill testified Steele dossier 'very likely' contained Russian disinformation; Steele got 'played' by Russians. Adam Schiff doubts it; doesn't fit preferred narrative. From @FiringLineShow https://t.co/bBqwxlNgxo pic.twitter.com/4RhUtz06ms— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 26, 2019