One source has been arrested by the Justice Department for repeatedly lying to FBI agents during the famous “Steele dossier” investigation, which was used as a justification to investigate former President Donald Trump’s possible ties with Russia.
Igor Danchenko is a Russian national who works as an American analyst. The information was used by Christopher Steele, an ex-spy from Britain. They were famously released and it was claimed that Trump’s staff had conspired with Russian officials to coordinate their efforts.
The dossier initially had roots in political opposition research, but it was eventually used by the FBI to justify secret surveillance of then–Trump aide Carter Page to try to determine whether he had been compromised by Russian interests.
Page was not charged and did not face any charges. The FBI also stated that some of the dossier allegations had been uncorroborated. People still took it as gospel. Even major news media outlets.
The Justice Department issued a grand jury accusation against Danchenko on Thursday. He is charged with lying to FBI on five counts. The indictment states that Danchenko lied repeatedly to FBI agents in interviews to hide his involvement in passing on the Steele information. The dossier contains information that may have been obtained from Russian sources. However, some of it was likely to be the work of a Democratic Party public relations officer.
The investigation resulted in no charges being brought against Trump. Instead, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General investigated the facts surrounding the FBI’s warrant applications to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page. The OIG discovered that FBI warrant applications contained many errors and omissions in 2019. It also noted that, even though it could not verify the Steele dossier details, the FBI was still using them to justify warrants to spy on Page.
Subsequent investigation revealed even more serious problems with warrants that the FBI submitted to the FISC. It wasn’t just about Page—the OIG found hundreds of problems with nearly all of the warrants the FBI was submitting to snoop on Americans. This should be seen as a big deal—the secrecy of the FISC means that Americans who are targeted for surveillance don’t know they’ve been singled out and don’t have any defense or due process to stop it. This court serves to monitor citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights. We had no idea just how negligent we could be. These warrants have been reviewed and were written.
Partially due to the manner Page and other members of Trump’s inner circle were investigated, a large part of Trump’s political devastation has resulted. The Washington Post This is being portrayed as “Republicans’ pounce,” because “it “is likely to support Republican charges that Democrats or FBI agents deliberately or accidentally transformed cheap partisan accusations into a high stakes national security investigation against a sitting president.”
However, isn’t it possible that this may have been the case? Everyone should feel angry because this could happen again. If people are influenced by Trump’s views, they may miss the need for surveillance reforms to prevent future manipulation of the FISC.