What can explain the vast gulf between the contents of Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier and reality? Was the former British spy simply sitting in his office, making things up? Did he mistakenly trust the wrong sources? Was he just trolling the internet, looking for salacious rumors to give to his employers at Fusion GPS? But if any of that was the case, then why would the FBI have ever taken Steele’s dossier seriously?
It’s long been theorized that perhaps the Kremlin became aware of Steele’s probe into Trump’s background and decided, mischievously, to feed him some bad intel. And now that theory has some meat on the bone; according to newly-released Justice Department footnotes from a report on the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign, Russian intelligence operatives were onto Steele as early as July 2016.
From The Daily Caller:
The footnotes, released by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson on Wednesday, provide further indications that Russian operatives fed disinformation to Steele that ended up in his infamous anti-Trump dossier.
The FBI relied on Steele’s salacious report to obtain authorization to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
The footnotes declassified on Wednesday say that in late January 2017, an investigator on the Crossfire Hurricane team received information that Russian intelligence “may have targeted Orbis” and researched the company.
Another footnote says that a June 2017 report from the U.S. intelligence community “indicated that two persons affiliated with RIS were aware of Steele’s election investigation in early July 2016.”
But wait! It gets better.
According to additional information released by Grassley and Johnson on Wednesday, the FBI actually learned that Russian disinformation was responsible for two of the dossier’s most explosive claims. Those being that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, traveled to Prague in August 2016 and that Trump cavorted with prostitutes when in Moscow for the Ms. Universe pageant in 2013. You’ll recall that latter bit as the “pee tape” claim.
Frankly, the fact that Steele’s dossier was stuffed with Kremlin disinformation comes as no surprise whatsoever. What’s disturbing about this revelation is that the FBI knew how worthless the dossier was only a month or two into the Mueller investigation. Now we know why Mueller’s team and the media went to such great lengths to downplay the dossier’s importance (even though we later learned it formed the sole basis for the Carter Page wiretaps).
The Democrats were right about one thing: Vladimir Putin had a lot to celebrate in 2016/2017. Not because Trump got elected, but because he’d proven to himself how easy it was to fool the United States intelligence apparatus.
And, of course, half the American public.