FISA Memo Released: Here's What It Says

Update:

The just released FISA memo accuses senior officials at the DOJ of inappropriately using biased opposition research into then-candidate Trump to obtain surveillance warrants on transition team members as part of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

According to the document, information from the the so-called Steele dossier was "essential" to the acquisition of surveillance warrants on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought.

The memo alleges that the political origins of the dossier — paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request.

The document claims that although the FBI had "clear evidence" that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against Trump, it did not convey that to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications. Steele told then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr that he was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," the memo says.

House conservatives have touted the memo's revelations as “worse than Watergate” and hinted that it could prove the undoing of the federal investigation into Trump’s campaign. Meanwhile, Democrats on the panel say that it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller. They have drafted their own counter-memo to rebut the Republican-drafted document, but the majority voted against immediately making that document public earlier this week.

The memo is based on a slate of highly-classified materials provided to the committee by the Justice Department itself, in a closed-door deal brokered by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Naturally, the DOJ has claimed that the release of the memo is an abrogation of the terms of that deal, an assertion spokesmen for both Ryan and Nunes have rejected.

Meanwhile, the underlying evidence remains classified, a state of affairs that Democrats and some national security analysts say makes it impossible to independently verify the memo’s conclusions.

As The Hill reported earlier, ahead of the document's release, Paul Ryan privately urged House Republicans not to overplay the document — and not to tie it to the Mueller investigation.

Here are select excerpts from the FISA memo (full pdf below)

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

The "dossier" compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

What follows is what some have dubbed the "damning section", as there was no reason not to disclosed the relationship between Clinton and Steele, unless the authors were worried about exposing a clear political link:

a)    Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

b)    The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of—and paid by—the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

The section above also makes a good case for releasing the underlying FISA application, as either the Clinton connection was disclosed or it wasn't - not a fact either party can distort.

In a curious twist, in order to corroborate the dossier, the memo reveals that the FBI "extensively" cited a news article -- that was based entirely on the dossier. In effect, using the dossier to corroborate the dossier.

The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page's July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele's initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

The memo continues revealing more information about Steele and his clear political bias:

Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn.

Steele's numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling—maintaining confidentiality—and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3)    Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." This clear evidence of Steele's bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files—but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.

During this same time period, Ohr's wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife's opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs' relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.

* * *

After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele's reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was - according to his June 2017 testimony - "salacious and unverified."  While the FISA application relied on Steele's past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel's Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an "insurance" policy against President Trump's election.

The bottom line: as noted earlier, if found that there was clear undisclosed bias in the launch of surveillance of Trump's team, then Mueller's probe - whose findings would be the result of a flawed FISA warrant - would be null and void, leave space for Trump to fire the special prosecutor or Rod Rosenstein.

Incidentally, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump suggested the document shows political bias at the FBI that tainted the probe into whether his campaign cooperated with Russia’s election meddling.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump said of the alleged bias. "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

The decision cleared the way for the House Intelligence Committee to release the memo, which it did shortly after noon. “It was declassified and let’s see what happens,” Trump said. White House made no redactions to the document.

 

Full memo at the bottom:

* * *

Earlier:

Just before noon on Friday, the "FISA" memo compiled by House Intelligence Committee staff, led by chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), from classified documents provided by the Department of Justice, was officially declassified by Trump's lawyer Donald Gahn - over the objections of the DOJ and the FBI - as explained in the letter below.

According to the Washington Examiner's Byron York who had access to an early released version, a key point in the memo is that the "salacious and unverified" Steele dossier formed the essential part of the initial and all three renewal applications against Carter Page, in line with what as previously leaked.

As York also explicitly highlights, "The FBI's Andrew McCabe confirmed to the committee that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information."

This, as Fox News confirms, means that absent the dossier, at least one of the surveillance warrants in the case would not have been obtained, and - by implication - the entire Mueller probe is thus on shaky legal ground.

Back to the memo, which as York adds, "the political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications."


As Dow Jones confirms, DOJ officials knew Steele was being paid by democrats, and that officials at the DOJ and FBI signed one warrant, and three renewals against Carter Page.

York also notes that DOJ official Bruce Ohr was relayed information about Christopher Steele's bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.

All else equal, sounds like a clear case of bias, and when extended, it would imply that the entire Mueller probe is based on grounds that could be overturned in court.

* * *

To recap, here are the key points disclosed in the memo, as summarized by the Washington Exmainer which has an early unclassified version of the memo:

  • The Steele dossier formed an essential part of the intial and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page.
  • Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
  • The political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.
  • DOJ official Bruce Ohr met with Steele beginning in the summer of 2016 and relayed to DOJ information about Steele's bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.

As a reminder, the FBI and Justice Department mounted a months-long effort to keep the information outlined in the memo out of the House Intelligence Committee's hands. Only the threat of contempt charges and other forms of pressure forced the FBI and Justice to give up the material.

Once Intelligence Committee leaders and staff compiled some of that information into the memo, the FBI and Justice Department, supported by Capitol Hill Democrats, mounted a ferocious campaign of opposition, saying release of the memo would endanger national security and the rule of law.

But Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes never wavered in his determination to make the information available to the public. President Trump agreed, and, as required by House rules, gave his approval for release.

Finally, the memo released today does not represent the sum total of what House investigators have learned in their review of the FBI and Justice Department Trump-Russia investigation. That means the fight over the memo could be replayed in the future when the Intelligence Committee decides to release more information.

Moments after the announcement that the memo was declassified, Trump spoke to reporters and was asked if the memo makes it more likely that he will fire Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to which Trump responded.

Full memo below (pdf link):

Comments

Billy the Poet JimmyJones Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:08 Permalink

Looking now for reactions from various parties. What will Wray do? He is charged with maintaining the reputation of the FBI. Will he fire some people? He's had a week to think about it after reading the memo. Is he waiting to see how the memo is received before he makes a move?

Who other than Wray has the power to do something about these abuses? The DOJ? But Sessions has recused himself and next in line is Rosenstein who is named in the memo.

Do we get more congressional hearings now that the hot seat is so much hotter? Where do we go from here?

In reply to by JimmyJones

JimmyJones Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/02/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

They, the FBI used info that was paid for by the DNC and Clinton Campaign that was known to be false to get a FISA memo and the details of it that were very relevant to the Judge that issued the surveillance warrant was withheld from the Judge.  This is so illegal and abusive on so many levels.  More to come.  The whole Russian Narrative was based on BS and they knew it from the beginning.

In reply to by Theosebes Goodfellow

King of Ruperts Land verumcuibono Fri, 02/02/2018 - 14:43 Permalink

Check the last two sentences of the cover letter: The President understands that oversight concerning matters related to the Memorandum may be continuing. Though the circumstances leading to declassification through this process are extraordinary, the Executive Branch stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards and processes, including the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.

More to come?

In reply to by verumcuibono

MagicHandPuppet sixsigma cygnu… Fri, 02/02/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

 

In essence, James ComeyAndrew McCabeSally YatesDana Boente, and current DAG Rod Rosenstein all knowingly COMMITTED PERJURY in the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to aid their political friend (Hillary Clinton) while usurping the democratic process of the Republic and later conspiring against our elected President in a coup attempt.

Got it.

This should get a lot more interesting very quickly.

In reply to by sixsigma cygnu…

MarsInScorpio sixsigma cygnu… Fri, 02/02/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

Six: 

I keep reading the phrase, "information **planted by the Russians**" to describe the dossier's contents.

Has anyone ever proven Steele actually got anything from the Russians?

No.

Reality Check: Get my Bookie on the line; I'm putting my money at 1000-1 that Steele kept the money he got from GPS "to pay the Russians."

Then, chortling about what dumbshits Simpson et. al are, wrote 35-pages of "tell'em what they want to hear" halluncinatory Intel porn, masturbating the entire time at his own perverted prose. 

These are truly sick people throughout this operation. They lie to each other, and they lie to federal judges.

Now that the judges know they were played for chumps, aka "useful idiots," Trump doesn't have to do anything but wait for the scammed judges to start putting the slimeballs in jail for perjury, filling false application to the court, and criminal contempt. 

You and others think they fear Trump; wrong!

They fear the pissed-off judges that are going to jail them on a bench warrant that doesn't require a trial!!!

Trump knows this - the guy is light-years ahead of his enemies. 

Let the judges jail these bastards; Trump's hands stay clean and no one can scream obstruction at him.

PURE FUCKING GENIUS!!!!

In reply to by sixsigma cygnu…

simulkra MarsInScorpio Fri, 02/02/2018 - 18:10 Permalink

Plus something nobody has mentioned. Steele is ex MI6? really? From my outsider's understanding of the spooks, unless they are dead or go and live on a desert island, no-one is ex MI6 or CIA or FSB, especially not if you are still engaged in spook work.

A friend  told me that an Aussie SAS guy he ran into said that years after retiring he still got regular check ups, just to keep tabs on him.

Maybe the old guard had an interest?

In reply to by MarsInScorpio

new game simulkra Sat, 02/03/2018 - 05:25 Permalink

The moar the rocks that get turned over the moar this just leads down an endless road of the "way it is". flawed humans doing what they do. fuk other humans over. wish/think/realize, that the majority of these fuks will reside free to keep doing what sociopaths do.

so many, so little justice. a year from now, huh, another tuesdays burger will be served up for the gullible masses. divided we fall.

In reply to by simulkra

AntiLeMaire MarsInScorpio Fri, 02/02/2018 - 18:48 Permalink

Possibly he just made it up, very possible.

 

How about another option, one which doesn't require any travel?

Vox reported on the story and asked about something he didn't mention, but GPS certainly knew:

Conversely, one striking thing about what’s been reported over the past year is how much actual Trump-Russia contact Steele didn’t find out about. The dossier doesn’t mention Natalia Veselnitskaya, for example, a Russian lawyer with very real Kremlin links who really did hold a meeting at Trump Tower with key Trump campaign officials to discuss a deal involving dirt on Hillary Clinton being swapped for concessions on sanctions. Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone, who helped set the meeting up, aren’t mentioned either.

In reply to by MarsInScorpio

mc888 MarsInScorpio Fri, 02/02/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

I keep reading the phrase, "information **planted by the Russians**" to describe the dossier's contents.

 

Has anyone ever proven Steele actually got anything from the Russians?

 

No.

Same thing I've been saying for nearly a year. However -

If Steele made it up with no Russian contact, it places the onus completely on MI6. Certain players would desperately want to avoid this story going public.

If the allegation of Russian sources is true, it proves DNC collusion with Russia. This theory is fun to entertain due to irony.

But we already have have proof of DNC collusion with Ukraine via Chalupa and Crowdstrike. Ukraine is vehemently anti-Russian, and has supported the DNC since the Obama coup of Ukraine. The repeatedly discredited Crowdstrike were painted as the 'infallible experts' in the fictitious case of the DNC "hack", and were also caught planting the malware on DNC systems.

https://disobedientmedia.com/2017/12/fancy-frauds-bogus-bears-malware-m…

Which leaves MI6. Fuck you Brits.

In reply to by MarsInScorpio

nmewn mc888 Sat, 02/03/2018 - 07:51 Permalink

That is the intense political irony trap the dimz have built for themselves here. 

Whether Steeles "intel dossier" is ever sourced back to contacts in the FSB or MI6 becomes irrelevant when we pull back and look at the whole...they are still foreign intelligence agency sources.

On the other hand, if Steele just made it all up from his imagination we still know Steele is a "former" foreign agent.

There was never an unbiased corroboration done on "the document" submitted to a FISC sourced to a foreign agent(s).

And to top it off, the FBI's inclusion in the application for a FISA warrant, a Yahoo Nuuuz story, that Steele himself had leaked to Yahoo Nuuuz certainly doesn't rise to confirmation/corroboration of what Steele presented yet was presented.

There's a real possibility that not only are there some really evil bastards over at the FBI & DoJ, they are also hopelessly stupid.

In reply to by mc888

nmewn Kidbuck Sat, 02/03/2018 - 08:36 Permalink

So, Nancy Pelosi said something incomprehensibly stupid (again...lol) yesterday...

“By not protecting intelligence sources and methods,..."

...just what "intelligence sources and methods" are you even talking about "protecting" Nana?

Are you under some weird impression the ENTIRE WORLD does not know that the FBI uses wiretaps, informants and court sanctioned warrants?

Or was it that, you didn't want the ENTIRE WORLD to know the FBI used a foreign agent, paid by Hillary Clinton & the DNC, to produce fabricated intelligence, in order to get a court sanctioned surveillance warrant, so you could "legally" spy on your political opponents and then leak/unmask said political opponents names, to your friends, in the Alinsky press? ;-)

In reply to by Kidbuck