Don’t Worship an FBI That Took the Steele Dossier Seriously

New York TimesBret Stephens, a columnist now claims he is wrongly defending James Comey during the FBI investigation into Russian interference in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Stephens claimed that Trump had fired Comey in 2017 to prove that he was trying obstruction of the probe against him. Stephen said that Trump calling news fake or making up stories is a sign of his intent to obstruct the investigation. It is obvious that the president knows it.

Stephens is now questioning his knowledge after revelations regarding the FBI’s handling of this investigation and a federal arrest in connection to the source of unsubstantiated Steele Dossier.

Stephens isn’t the only one to apologize for the error in the story. Some media outlets include The Washington PostCorrective and incorrect reporting were required for the Steele Dossier. It attempted to reveal corrupt ties between Trump government and Russian government, which left Trump open to possible blackmail and threatened national safety.

The Department of Justice had earlier this month charged Igor Danchenko for lying to the FBI. He tried to hide the fact that he had been the source for some information in Steele Dossier. The Washington PostThe Observer, however, reports that Sergei Millian, a Belaurisan American businessman, was reported to have died in 2017, and 2019. Steele Dossier was obtained from him. He was also behind the assertion that Russians recorded Trump receiving golden showers of prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. It was the PostThis report has been updated online. It also includes editor’s notes explaining why the changes were made and their motivations.

Stephens points out that even though the Steele Dossier scandal is a media-related issue, he’s much more interested in how FBI agents misled Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Courts when they applied for warrants to wiretap Carter Page. They downplayed the information and left out any details that would have caused FISA judges or to reject the warrants. Page was being investigated by the feds as an aide in foreign policy to Trump’s campaign. He had ties with Russia via oil and gas consulting. Page was repeatedly mentioned in the Steele Dossier.

We discovered that FBI agents routinely screw up warrant applications in order to spy on or wiretap American targets. This was thanks to an audit of FBI’s internal operations. Because the FISA Court is secretive, there is no oversight or outside review. This is huge. FISA Court has the job of ensuring the FBI does not violate the rights and privileges of Americans by spying on them. The FISA Court may not know if the FBI is not thorough enough in reviewing the information used for surveillance.

These and other problems endemic to the FBI are correctly identified by Stephens:

Of such dross was spun years of high-level federal investigations, ponderous congressional hearings, pompous Adam Schiff soliloquies, and nonstop public furor. The F.B.I. would have prevented all of this. The dossier was treated as garbage, and the F.B.I. stressed the Russian attempts to influence Trump’s election. It also highlighted the vulnerability of Trump’s campaign, especially through Paul Manafort, its former manager.

Instead, Comey used it as a political weapon by privately briefing President-elect Trump about it, despite ample warnings about the dossier’s credibility. Comey also made public the existence of the dossier’s “salacious” and unsubstantiated news.

Ironically, some media outlets initially erred in being skeptical about the Steele Dossier. CNN reported its existence first and left out CNN. Buzzfeed2017 publication of the entire contents. The full contents will be published in 2017. BuzzFeedIt was published. There are reasons Nick Gillespie was blunt in calling the dossier “horseshit” and adding that “If you ever wondered why news media are treated with distrust and derision, then today’s your lucky day.”

Many people were influenced by their political views about Trump and how they view the FBI and Steele Dossier. Stephens points out that it was perfectly right for the FBI investigation into Trump’s campaign to search for evidence of Russian interference in the election. The FBI withheld information suggesting that there may not have been any fire under the smoke, which weakened the credibility of this investigation.

It is an ongoing problem for FBI, and serves as reminder to Stephens that agency history shows it has not been trustworthy. The incident also serves to remind Trump critics that Comey’s strange faith was completely erroneous.

Here, you won’t see many Trump supporters, or Comey fans, as well. There are reasons. As BereavementAs a report by the FBI, issues predate Trump. The new charges against Danchenko are also questionable. He was only charged with lying to FBI in five cases. He is not being accused of any other wrongdoing. When it isn’t able to prove an underlying crime the FBI will often resort to such charges. This approach raises major civil rights concerns. It’s funny that this is what Michael Flynn was accused of, not corruption nor treason but lying to the FBI regarding his conversations with a Russian diplomat.

Danchenko wasn’t the one who used unverified Steele Dossier evidence to back Carter Page’s secret wiretap. It was actually the FBI who used the dossier, even though they knew it was suspicious.