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How badly did the FBI get taken by Christopher Steele? Pretty badly . . .
The question is why they were so willing to believe him when they should have known he was engaged in a partisan hit job.
Have you noticed that the media have moved on from the whole "Nunes memo was a big nothingburger" narrative? The emergence of the Graham-Grassley criminal referral against Christopher Steele has so completely vindicated just about everything the Nunes memo said (and cast the FBI's actions in some an embarrassing light), that the only thing the media has left to do is drop the story entirely and change the subject.
How bad has this gotten? Consider that we now know:
- Steele was going behind the FBI's back and blabbing his information to the news media even after the FBI strictly forbid him from doing this.
- The FBI was so clueless about Steele's activities that they actually cited one of the resulting news stories as corroborating evidence of Steele's claims.
- The FBI either didn't know or didn't recognize the significance of Steele gathering information from the likes of Clinton chief dirtbag Sidney Blumenthal.
- The FBI continued receiving information from Steele via Bruce Ohr, the husband of Steele's colleague at Fusion GPS, even after they fired him for leaking information to the press.
- At no point did the FBI ever tell the FISA court who was paying for Steele's information, or that they'd fired him for the leaks.
- James Comey said as far back as April 2017 that the FBI couldn't corroborate anything Steele told them, but they used it anyway because they considered him so trustworthy - the same guy who went behind their backs to the press.
The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel explains that the FBI had plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Steele's claims if they cared to think critically about them for even one second:
To be sure, the FBI should have known better. Even if Mr. Steele had previously been helpful, the bureau had every reason to be wary in 2016. This wasn’t like prior collaborations. He was coming to the FBI as a paid political operative, hired by Fusion, as a subcontractor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Opposition researchers are not retained to present considered judgment. They are retained to slime an opponent and benefit a client.
The FBI also had reason to view his research with skepticism—on grounds of its tabloid-like allegations, and also on the near-fantastical claim of skill that underlay it. To wit, that a man who had been out of official spy rings for seven years was nonetheless able, in a matter of weeks and with just a few calls from London, where he lives, to unravel an international conspiracy that had eluded the CIA, FBI, MI6 and every other Western intelligence agency, all of which have access to the globe’s most sophisticated surveillance tools.
But rather than proceed with caution, the FBI swallowed the whole package. According to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s declassified criminal referral, former Director James Comey testified that the bureau couldn’t meaningfully corroborate the dossier, but used it in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court proceedings anyway because Mr. Steele had previously provided “reliable” information.
Mr. Steele and Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson immediately proceeded to use the bureau to advance their client’s interests. They went to the press with a stream of briefings about the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign. Thanks to the FBI, Mr. Steele didn’t have to present the media with crazy-sounding oppo research about sexual perversion; he got to point to a full-on government investigation. The resulting stories were awesome for the Clinton campaign—but not so much for the FBI, since the Fusion crew had publicly tipped off the targets of its probe.
So here's the question now: How can anyone still be defending this? A naked partisan whose totally invested in the Donald-Trump-as-evil-monster narrative will understandably have a hard time letting go of the Steele dossier, since so much of this mindset has relied on it for more than a year now. The media are trying to make the case that the Russia investigation does not entirely rely on it because of George Papadapoulous, but until we see any real evidence emerge of "collusion," that sounds like as flimsy an excuse as the Steele dossier and the subsequent wiretap of Carter Page.
In the meantime, here's what we're left with: It's no longer a serious question that the FBI did wrong by filing a warrant application with the FISA court based on the Steele dossier. The questions are: 1. How much did the FBI understand it was abusing its law enforcement powers to try to influence the 2016 election? 2. To what extent did Barack Obama direct all this to happen?
Obama is now a private citizen, so it's too late to impeach him, and any criminal culpability for such actions would be highly unlikely. But if the 44th president of the United States actually did these things, we should at least know about it. The media will refuse to ask these questions, but we need to.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!