Steele’s Russian disinformation

This past January Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson called for the declassification of four footnotes in the Horowitz Inspector General Report on the review of the FBI’s four FISA warrant applications on Carter Page. Yesterday three of the footnotes were mostly declassified and unredacted (see correspondence and attachments at bottom). Catherine Herridge has a straight report on the footnotes for CBS News in “Footnotes in watchdog report indicate FBI knew of risk of Russian disinformation in Steele dossier.” Gregg Re takes a much deeper dive into what we have here for FOX News in “FBI had information Steele dossier was part of ‘Russian disinformation campaign,’ declassified footnotes show.”

Interested readers should take in Re’s report in its entirety. Here is the top line, so to speak:

The FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team investigating the Trump 2016 campaign received multiple indications that former British spy Christopher Steele — one of their key informants in their investigation — was part of an elaborate “Russian disinformation campaign,” according to several newly declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on FBI misconduct.

“It’s ironic that the Russian collusion narrative was fatally flawed because of Russian disinformation,” Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who had pushed for the declassification, said in a statement to Fox News on Friday. “These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign – the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s.”

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One of the footnotes, which was previously redacted in its entirety, read: “The [REDACTED] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations.” That subset referred to the activities of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, whom Steele’s dossier claimed had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian agents. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to substantiate that claim, and Cohen has denied it.

Senator Johnson comments in the Wall Street Journal column “Russian Disinformation Fed the FBI’s Trump Investigation.”

From the first moment I read the version of the Steele Dossier posted by BuzzFeed in January 2017, assuming the dossier is what it purports to be, I thought that it was the product of Russian disinformation. You’d have to be a fool not to see it. How could CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and all the rest who worked with it somehow overlook that? Steele’s Russian sources are dubious on the face of the dossier. Brennan and Comey had their own uses for Russian disinformation.

NOTE: See George Neumayr’s American Spectator column “Will John Brennan get away with it?”

Letter to Senators Grassley… by News Team on Scribd

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