While the hotly anticipated IG 'FISA' report was perhaps the world's loudest wrist-slap - resulting in just one criminal referral despite a mountain of evidence that the FBI's top brass made serious errors while investigating the Trump campaign, The Federalist's Madeline Osburn points out that former CIA director John Brennan was just caught in a lie when he said they did not rely on the infamous Steele dossier for the Obama administration's Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).
The ICA report - thrown together over the course of a month, was used to inform President Barack Obama and then-President-elect Donald Trump in January, 2017 of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election.
And according to Monday's FISA report, there was significant discussion on whether to include the Steele dossier in the main body of the ICA report - with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe saying that "he felt strongly that the Steele election reporting belonged in the body of the ICA, because he feared that placing it in an appendix was ‘tacking it on’ in a way that would ‘minimiz[e]’ the information and prevent it from being properly considered."
Ultimately, the ICA included a short summary and assessment of the dossier, which was incorporated in an appendix. “In the appendix, the intelligence agencies explained that there was ‘only limited corroboration of the source’s reporting’ and that Steele’s election reports were not used ‘to reach analytic conclusions of the CIA/FBI/NSA assessment,'” the IG report states. -The Federalist
Several months after the ICA report was released, on May 23, 2017, Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee that the CIA did not rely on the Steele dossier for the ICA report "in any way."
Mr. Gowdy: Do you know if the Bureau ever relied on the Steele dossier as any — as part of any court filings, applications, petitions, pleadings?
Mr. Brennan: I have no awareness.
Mr. Gowdy: Did the CIA rely on it?
Mr. Brennan: No.
Mr. Gowdy: Why not?
Mr. Brennan: Because we — we didn’t. It wasn’t part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had. It was not in any way used as a basis for the Intelligence Community assessment that was done. It was — it was not.
(via The Federalist)
Except, on Page 179 of the FISA report we find that former FBI Director James Comey told investigators that he remembers being "part of a conversation, maybe more than one conversation, where the topic was how the [Steele] reporting would be integrated, if at all, into the IC assessment."
Comey added that Brennan and other officials argued that the Steele dossier was found credible by intelligence community analysts, and that while they did not want to include it in the main body of the ICA, "they thought it was important enough and consistent enough that it ought to be part of the package in some way, and so they had come up with this idea to make an [appendix].