What, other than political bias, can explain the FBI’s egregious misconduct?

From Inspector General Horowitz’s report, beginning at page 186:

An important aspect of the FBI’s assessment of Steele’s election reporting involved evaluating Steele’s source network, especially whether the sub-sources had access to reliable information. As noted in the first FISA application, Steele relied on a primary sub-source (Primary Sub-source) for information, and this Primary Sub-source used a network of sub-sources to gather the information that was relayed to Steele; Steele himself was not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting.

The FBI employed multiple methods in an effort to ascertain the identities of the sub-sources within the network, including meeting with Steele in October 2016 (prior to him being closed for cause) and conducting various investigative inquiries. For example, the FBI determined it was plausible that at least some of the sub-sources had access to intelligence pertinent to events described in Steele’s election reporting. Additionally, the FBI’s evaluation of Steele’s sub-sources generated some corroboration for the election reporting (primarily routine facts about dates, locations, and occupational positions that was mostly public source information). Further, by January 2017 the FBI was able to identify and arrange a meeting with the Primary Sub-source.

The FBI conducted interviews of the Primary Sub-source in January, March, and May 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting. In particular, the FBI’s interview with Steele’s Primary Subsource in January 2017, shortly after the FBI filed the Carter Page FISA Renewal Application No. 1 and months prior to Renewal Application No. 2, raised doubts about the reliability of Steele’s descriptions of information in his election reports.

During the FBI’s January interview, at which Case Agent 1, the Supervisory Intel Analyst, and representatives of NSD were present, the Primary Sub-source told the FBI that he/she had not seen Steele’s reports until they became public that month, and that he/she made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated the Primary Sub-source’s statements in multiple sections of the reporting.

For example, the Primary Sub-source told the FBI that, while Report 80 stated that Trump’s alleged sexual activities at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow had been “confirmed” by a senior, western staff member at the hotel, the Primary Sub-source explained that he/she reported to Steele that Trump’s alleged unorthodox sexual activity at the Ritz Carlton hotel was “rumor and speculation” and that he/she had not been able to confirm the story.

A second example provided by the Primary Sub-source was Report 134’s description of a meeting allegedly held between Carter Page and Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft, a Russian energy conglomerate. Report 134 stated t hat, according to a “close associate” of Sechin, Sechin offered “PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft” in return for the lifting of sanctions against the company. The Primary Sub-source told the FBI that one of his/ her subsources furnished information for that part of Report 134 through a text message, but said that the sub-source never stated that Sechin had offered a brokerage interest to Page. We reviewed the texts and did not find any discussion of a bribe, whether as an interest in Rosneft itself or a “brokerage.

(Emphasis added)

Nonetheless (at page 190):

Renewal Application Nos. 2 and 3 continued to rely on the Steele information, without any revisions or notice to the court that the Primary Subsource contradicted the Steele election reporting on key issues described in the renewal applications. We found no evidence that the Crossfire Hurricane team ever considered whether any of the inconsistencies warranted reconsideration of the FBl’s previous assessment of the reliability of the Steele election reports, or notice to 01 or the court for the subsequent renewal applications.

(Emphasis added)

As Sen. Lindsey Graham said today, whatever one concludes about whether the Justice Department had sufficient grounds to go to the FISA court initially, it’s clear that the DOJ acted dishonestly in failing thereafter to apprise that court of the problems it discovered with the Steele report. Graham said he considers this failure to be a crime.

Horowitz did not find that politics motivated the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. But given the large number of improper acts (and failures to act) that occurred thereafter, many of them egregious, and given the words of some of those who committed them — e.g. “Viva la Resistance!” — it seems clear that politics motivated the way the investigation proceeded. And if that’s true, it’s reasonable to believe that politics were involved from the inception.

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