Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham hinted more than a week ago that more bombshell information regarding the FBI’s handling of its probe into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia was about to be public. He was right because it was Graham’s committee that discovered the information.
In a bombshell letter released a letter Thursday night by Graham’s committee from Justice Department Attorney General William Barr revealed a declassified summary from the bureau indicating that former British spy Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source in his debunked dossier was believed to be a Russian spy. Not only was the sub source believed to be a spy but the FBI knew about it and had conducted a counterintelligence investigation on the individual.
“In light of this newly declassified information, I will be sending the FISA Court the information provided to inform them how wide and deep the effort to conceal exculpatory information regarding the Carter Page warrant application was in 2016 and 2017,” said Graham.
“A small group of individuals in the Department of Justice and FBI should be held accountable for this fraud against the court. I do not believe they represent the overwhelming majority of patriotic men and women who work at the Department of Justice and FBI.”
One of those individuals being investigated by Connecticut Prosecutor John Durham is former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired from the FBI by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for lying to the Inspector General on multiple occasions. He is now in Durham’s crosshairs, along with multiple other former senior FBI officials that were involved in the investigation, according to a source with direct knowledge.
“McCabe and others were suppressing information, misrepresenting it or lying about the information that they had in order to purposefully undermine the Trump candidacy and that turned into the predication for undermining the Trump presidency”
McCabe, along with other FBI officials, withheld that information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as well as some of the FBI special agents investigating Trump’s campaign and its alleged ties to Russia, according to the source.
“McCabe and others were suppressing information, misrepresenting it or lying about the information that they had in order to purposefully undermine the Trump candidacy and that turned into the predication for undermining the Trump presidency,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
The source, who is familiar with the ongoings of the senior brass at the FBI, told this reporter the FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with Deputy Director David Bowdich, were contacted last week by the DOJ and were warned that a “shit storm was heading their way.”
The source alleged that McCabe is now a central figure in Durham’s investigation, along with several other senior FBI officials who were aware of the information but failed to disclose it. McCabe could not be immediately reached for comment but this story will be updated if and when he responds.
Neither the FBI press office, nor Thomas Carson, a spokesman for Durham’s office commented for this story despite repeated requests.
The explosive information shed even more light on the internal corruption inside the bureau at the highest levels and the purposeful misuse of the agency to target a political presidential opponent. In fact, it raises serious concerns that these actions were not an aberration but could have been occurring for sometime inside the FBI and intelligence community, several U.S. intelligence officials and former FBI officials told this columnist.
“It’s beyond the pale and what’s worse no one has paid the price for attempting to oust – coup – a U.S. president,” said one former senior intelligence official. “What makes it worse is politicians who are using this information for political purposes – they do so at the detriment of the American system and republic.”
Graham (R-South Carolina) released the letter, along wit a declassified summary from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealing the bureau’s investigation.
It just so happened, according to a press release by Graham that the information was revealed during a “request for oversight of the reliability of the Steele dossier,” which led the Justice Department to recently declassify a key footnote in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report.
“The footnote states Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source “was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 that assessed his/her documented contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers,” stated the letter.
Graham stated in his press release that the “failure of the FBI to inform the court that the Primary Sub-source was suspected of being a Russian agent is a breach of every duty owed by law enforcement to the judicial system.”
In fact, the FBI summary provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team was aware of this information in December 2016. Meaning former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, and FBI attorney Lisa Page, were aware of the information and failed to inform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Further, they continued to seek three FISA warrant applications using the Steele dossier as a basis and knowing that the information was more than likely Russian disinformation.
“The now famous email Susan Rice sent to herself on Inauguration Day where she states that President Obama said that everything has to be done ‘by the book’ has become highly suspect,” said Graham. “If this investigation is ‘by the book,’ then the book we’re using is the Kremlin playbook.
The Sub-Source and Primary Sub-Source
Graham’s letter revealed that “a review of FBI databases revealed that the Primary Sub-source had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.”
“In September 2006, the Primary Sub-source was in contact with a known Russian intelligence officer. During these conversations, the Russian Intelligence Officer invited the Primary Sub-source to the Russian Embassy to see his office.
The Primary Sub-source told the Russian Intelligence Officer that he/she was interested in entering the Russian diplomatic service one day. The two discussed a time when the Primary Sub-source was to visit. Four days later, the Russian Intelligence Officer contacted the Primary Sub-source and informed him/her they could meet that day to work “on the documents and then think about future plans.”
Later in October 2006, the Primary Sub-source contacted the Russian Intelligence Officer seeking a reply “so the documents can be placed in tomorrow’s diplomatic mail pouch.”
FBI information further identified, in 2005, the Primary Sub-source making contact with a Washington, D.C.–based Russian officer. It was noted that the Russian officer and the Primary Sub-source seemed very familiar with each other.”
“As part of its investigation, the FBI conducted interviews with the Primary Sub-source’s associates. One individual indicated that the Primary Sub-source was not anti-American but wanted to return to Russia one day. Another described the Primary Sub-source as pro-Russia and indicated that he/she always interjected Russian opinions during policy discussions. While both stated that they did not recall the Primary Sub-source asking directly about their access to classified information, one interviewee did note that the Primary Sub-source persistently asked about the interviewee’s knowledge of a particular military vessel.”
From Graham’s Press Release/ Key takeaways from the FBI’s declassified summary:
The Crossfire Hurricane team knew in December 2016 that Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source was an individual who the FBI had indicated in 2009 “could be a threat to national security.”
In May 2009, Steele’s source reportedly attempted to recruit two individuals connected to an influential foreign policy advisor connected to President Obama, offering that if the two individuals “‘did get a job in the government and had access to classified information’ and wanted ‘to make a little extra money,’ [Steele’s source] knew some people to whom they could speak.”
FBI databases revealed Steele’s source “had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers, [including contacting a known Russian intelligence officer] ‘so the documents can be placed in tomorrow’s diplomatic pouch.’”
One individual interviewed by the FBI noted that “the Primary Sub-source persistently asked about the interviewee’s knowledge of a particular military vessel.”
Significantly, the “record documenting the closing of the investigation [of the Primary Sub-source] stated that consideration would be given to re-opening the investigation in the event that the Primary Sub-source returned to the United States.”
First, the primary source for the Steele dossier was likely a Russian agent.
Second, the Primary Sub-source was suspected by the FBI in 2009 of being a Russian agent, and there had been an active counterintelligence investigation of this individual. That FBI investigation revealed the Primary Sub-source was suspected of providing information to the Russian Embassy and was in contact with known Russian intelligence officers, and made offers to people connected to incoming Obama Administration officials that any classified information they provided could be paid for. In addition, during this investigation it was disclosed that the Primary Sub-source persistently asked individuals about a particular military vessel of the United States.
Third, the information provided shows that in December 2016, the FBI knew of the previous counterintelligence investigation of the Primary Sub-source and the source’s ties to Russian intelligence services. However, they failed to inform the FISA Court. In fact, not only did they not inform the FISA Court the Primary Sub-source was likely a Russian agent, they continued to use the Steele dossier to seek warrants against Carter Page. They told the court the Primary Sub-source was truthful and cooperative. Specifically the three FISA applications filed after December 2016 make no mention of the previous counterintelligence investigation against the Primary Sub-source and the last two FISA applications additionally misled the court about the results obtained of the interviews of the Primary Sub-source in January and March of 2017.