What Christopher Steele said

A limited part of the deposition of former secret agent man Christopher Steele — he allegedly of the Steele Dossier — was unsealed on Thursday. Steele’s deposition had been taken in June 2018. His deposition was taken in the now dismissed defamation lawsuit brought by Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems (as the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross explains briefly here, transcript via the Daily Caller embedded below). Gubarev brought his lawsuit in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Steele and BuzzFeed; the lawsuit was not dismissed on the grounds of the “fair report” privilege.

What is to be learned from the pages of the transcript unsealed by Judge Ungaro? Not much, but one can learn this. In working up his dossier for the Clinton presidential campaign, Steele relied in part on open source information. Steele drew on a 2009 report he found on CNN’s defunct user-generated iReport website. The former secret agent man, however, remained blissfully unaware that submissions to that site were posted by “random individuals” without verification.

If one may fairly extrapolate from this instance, the FBI’s reliance on the Steele Dossier in its counterintelligence investigation and FISA warrant applications was, shall we say, misplaced. As Jerry Dunleavy elaborates in his Washington Examiner article, there is a lot about iReport that Steele didn’t know and probably shouldn’t have missed. FOX News unmercifully points out: “Even the site’s banner included the slogan Unedited. Unfiltered. News.”

Steele acknowledged that his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that might contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.” When asked whether he warned his cutouts at Fusion GPS (i.e., Glenn Simpson) that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

If Steele’s dossier is what it purports to be, it would be the Clinton presidential campaign that was treating with the friends of Vladimir Putin. What we have here would be something like the Russian collusion that someone or other in the ambit of the Department of Justice is supposed to be investigating.

Quotable quote (Christopher Steele): “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

Steele Deposition — Exhibi… by on Scribd

Steele deposition — Exhibi… by on Scribd

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