deborah haynes (at the bottom) is a known member of integrity initiative

FBI misled judges on Christopher Steele’s truth record
Rowan Scarborough, Faschingstein Times, Dec 9 2019

One of the FBI’s big selling points for the DNC-financed dossier is that its creator, Christopher Steele, had proven his veracity in previously providing information on a FIFA soccer scandal. That is what the FBI told a judge to obtain a year’s worth of wiretaps on Trump associate Carter Page. It turned out it wasn’t true, according to the DoJ IG’s report. Hardly any of Steele’s soccer information was corroborated. And none was used in court, contrary to what was attested to by FBI in its FISA application. The IG said:

According to the handling agent, he would not have approved the representation in the application because only ‘some’ of Steele’s prior reporting had been corroborated. Most of it had not. Steele’s information was never used in a criminal proceeding. We found that the team had speculated that Steele’s prior reporting had been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings without clearing the representation with Steele’s handling agent.

In another glaring error, Steele’s main dossier source disagreed with anti-Trump assertions in his dossier after it was posted online in Jan 2017. But the FBI failed to include this denial in subsequent wiretap renewals. The source said s/he never told Steele that Page met with an unsavory Kremlin figure while on a public trip to Moscow in Jul 2016. In another instance of an FBI error, Page told agents he was a CIA asset. The CIA confirmed this in an email, but an FBI lawyer changed the “yes” to a “no.” Steele also apparently lied to agents when they traveled to Rome for a briefing in October. His agent handler asked if he was involved in a Yahoo News story and Steele responded “No.” The FBI then used the Yahoo article as corroboration in the FISA application, but in fact Steele had been the Yahoo source. In Rome, Steele described one of his main dossier sources as a “boaster” and “egotist” who “may engage in some embellishment.” The FBI failed to include this caveat in the FISA application or tell its intelligence unit. In Rome agents also disclosed sensitive information to Steele about its probe into the Trump campaign. An agent mentioned the name of George Papadopoulos, a Trump adviser and FBI target. Agents told the IG the disclosure was improper. After the Rome meeting, Steele worked for two bosses: Fusion GPS; and the FBI. Fusion GPS was being paid by the DNC. Steele began filing anti-Trump allegations that were not in the dossier being sent to Fusion. One was the Russian military intelligence was funneling money to Trump “by way of an Azerbaijani family.” In the Mueller report in March, there was no mention of such an arrangement. Mueller said he did not established a conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, as Steele alleged in his 35-page dossier that concluded in Dec 2016. Steele later came to Faschingstein to brief reporters and State Dept boxtops on all of his anti-Trump allegations. One was that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort worked as a go-between with the Kremlin on election interference. The Mueller report said this didn’t happen. A Wash Times analysis found 13 separate conspiracy allegations inside the dossier, all of which were disproven or unverified.

Report unmasks FBI intervention in 2016 elections
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Dec 10 2019

The report issued Monday by DoJ IG Michael Horowitz on the FBI investigation into the 2016 Trump election campaign documents the extraordinary political role played by this key police/intelligence agency in influencing the outcome of the 2016 election. The report underscores the fraud of the effort by the Democrats to impeach Trump on the grounds that he has invited “foreign intervention” into the 2020 elections. The greatest threat to American democracy comes not from Russia or any other foreign country, but from the operations of the military-intelligence agencies of the capitalist state, which do the bidding of Wall Street and the financial aristocracy. The report shows that the conflict between the CIA-backed Demagogs and Trump is a fight between two right-wing forces, both implacably committed to the interests of Pindo imperialism and both hostile to the social and democratic rights of the working class. The Horowitz report begins with the Jul 31 2016 decision by the FBI to open a preliminary investigation into the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This action was triggered by information passed to the FBI by Australian ambassador to Britain Alexander Downer, who encountered Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in London. Papadopoulos boasted that Russia had acquired a large number of damaging emails from the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign and would soon make them public. The bulk of the media coverage of the Horowitz report goes no further than this: his claim that the FBI proceeded properly, according to its own rules and regulations, in opening the investigation, and that political hostility to Trump and the Thugs played no role in that decision. But far more significant is the context in which this decision was made and the subsequent actions of the FBI operation over the next three months. Throughout the period from Jul-Oct 2016, the critical final months of the election campaign, the FBI became the focal point of political conflicts within the Pindo ruling elite and the effective arbiter of the struggle between Clinton and Trump, the two most unpopular figures ever to run as major party candidates for the presidency.

The open intervention began on Jul 5 2016, when FBI Director James Comey held the press conference at which he publicly cleared Clinton of wrongdoing in relation to her use of a private email server while she was sec state, denouncing her conduct as merely “inexcusably careless.” On Jul 31, the FBI opened their investigation, and on Aug 10 began individual investigations into Papadopoulos, Carter Page, another Trump foreign policy aide, and Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman. On Aug 16, General Michael Flynn, the retired head of the DIA and Trump’s top NSA, was added to the list. The extraordinary decision to begin investigations into top Trump aides was approved by the entire leadership of the FBI, including Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and General Counsel James Baker. At the same time, there was public opposition to Trump from the national security establishment, with 50 top former boxtops of both parties publishing an open letter Aug 8 denouncing Trump and supporting Clinton. On Aug 18, after press reports exposing his role as a highly-paid adviser to Yanukovych, Manafort resigned as Trump campaign chairman, to be replaced by the openly fascist Stephen Bannon. On Sep 19, the FBI received the Steele dossier, a compilation of unverified and salacious charges against Trump, focused on alleged activities in Moscow. This material was used as the basis for seeking authorization from the FISA Court for a wiretap on Carter Page, who had left the Trump campaign but was the subject of close surveillance for nearly a year afterwards. The FISA court issued the wiretap authorization on Oct 21 2016.

Horowitz details no less than seven “inaccuracies” in the FBI application for the wiretap against Page, with an additional 10 “errors” in the three subsequent applications to extend the wiretap for three months at a time. These included serious questions and contradictions in the Steele dossier which the FBI concealed from the FISA court, including the fact that the dossier was funded by the DNC, and that Page had most remarkably met with Russian intelligence agents over a ten-year period while working for the CIA. In Oct 2016, there was a full-scale explosion of factional conflict within the FBI. Pro-Thug & pro-Trump agents who reportedly predominated in the ranks and in the leadership of the powerful NYC branch office fed anti-Clinton material to the press, particularly after the discovery on Oct 3 of a laptop belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner but used by Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide, who was then married to Weiner. On Oct 28 2016, Comey sent his unprecedented letter to top congressional committees with national security authority, telling them he was reopening the Clinton email investigation because thousands of Clinton emails had been found on Weiner’s computer. This letter, immediately leaked to the press, touched off a political firestorm that undoubtedly contributed to Clinton’s narrow election defeat 10 days later. We wrote at the time:

This direct intervention into the election by the top police intelligence agency can only be an expression of deep crisis and profound tensions within the Pindo ruling class and the state. The election as a whole has been dominated by the growth of social anger and anti-establishment sentiment, yet it has ended in a contest between two right-wing representatives of the richest 1% who are despised by huge sections of the electorate.

The response to the Horowitz report by Trump and his political opponents in the Demagog Party has divided along predictable lines, with the Demagogs hailing the report as a rebuttal of Trump claims of political bias in the FBI, and key Trump aides including Attorney General William Barr issuing denunciations. Nowhere in either the media coverage or the statements of the warring factions within the ruling elite is there any actual discussion of the significance of the FBI role in the 2016 campaign, and the ongoing intervention of the national security apparatus in the current political crisis over impeachment and the 2020 election campaign. It is worth pointing out that the Horowitz report demonstrates how easily the FBI can open an investigation with only the slightest “articulable factual basis.” It shows that FBI and DoJ guidelines make no requirement for higher standards for “allegations potentially impacting constitutionally protected activity, such as First Amendment rights.” In other words, the FBI is a law unto itself and conducts its operations as it pleases, elections and democratic rights be damned. If that is the rule for a prominent and wealthy figure like Trump, one can only imagine what the standard is for targeting individuals from the working class or social and political organizations that oppose the capitalist system.

‘Trump hater’ ex-MI6 officer who compiled Russia dossier was a friend of Ivanka
Deborah Haynes, Sky News, Dec 10 2019

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer despised by Donald Trump, was a personal friend of the president’s daughter Ivanka, Sky News understands. Trump has repeatedly attacked Steele because of his role in compiling a dossier of allegations about ties between his 2016 election campaign and the Kremlin, including lurid claims about then-candidate Trump and prostitutes in Moscow. The president has denied all such allegations. The friendship between Ivanka Trump and Steele, which stretched from 2007 to 2015 and included business discussions, contrasts with the president’s characterisation of him as a “Trump hater.” A reference to the friendship was made in a report released on Monday by a DoJ watchdog into the origins of an inquiry by the FBI into claims of ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia. It cleared the FBI of any political bias in launching its Russia inquiry in Jul 2016. This undermines allegations to the contrary by Trump. However, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who wrote the report, found that numerous mistakes were made by the FBI during the course of its investigation. Of particular focus was the covert surveillance of a former adviser to the Trump campaign called Carter Page. The watchdog said the FBI had a legal “authorised purpose” to request a judge for approval to conduct the surveillance. But Horowitz found a total of 17 “basic and fundamental” errors and omissions in the original application and all subsequent renewals to the FISA Court. Those errors made the case appear stronger than it was, he wrote. In a sign that the 436-page report is also not the final chapter in a long-running dispute over Russia’s role in the 2016 polls, Trump’s attorney general attacked the FBI even though it was cleared of political bias. William Barr said:

The inspector general’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that in my view were insufficient to justify the steps taken.

Barr has launched another investigation into the Russia file, which has yet to conclude. Steele, who cooperated with investigators, features heavily in the inspector general’s analysis. The report explores his relationship with the FBI from after he co-founded a corporate intelligence company called Orbis Business Intelligence when he retired from MI6 in 2009. It sets out how information provided by Steele from 2010 helped the FBI in significant investigations such as a corruption probe against FIFA over Russia securing the 2018 World Cup as well as efforts to uncover Russian doping in world athletics. The FBI began a contractual relationship with Steele in 2013. It characterised him as a confidential human source, but Steele told investigators this was not the case. Instead he said his company had a commercial relationship with the bureau. The report said an FBI officer who dealt with Steele, referred to as Handling Agent 1, said:

The FBI found Steele’s information to be valuable and that it warranted compensation.

He received a total of $95k between 2014 and 2016, though nothing related to election work. The report went on to recount how Steele was separately contracted by a company called Fusion GPS to gather information on any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Steele said he believed the claims he uncovered were so alarming he felt compelled to share them with Handling Agent 1. This information was not the trigger for the FBI launching its Russia investigation, but the claims about Russian interference chimed with what other sources were saying. The report quotes James Comey, who was director of the FBI at the time, saying:

I believed those themes from the Steele reporting were ‘entirely consistent with information developed by the [intel community] wholly separate and apart from the [Steele] reporting, as well as consistent with what our eyes and ears could also see.

However, the inspector general appeared to cast doubt over some of the content of Steele’s reporting. The watchdog report said:

We found that the FBI’s interviews of Steele, his primary sub-source, a second sub-source, and other investigative activity revealed potentially serious problems with Steele’s descriptions of information in his reports.

It was not clear how the inspector general could have known all the sources relied upon by Steele. A response from Orbis to this allegation was not immediately available. Steele was quoted in the document as telling investigators his reports “were not designed to be finished products” and instead were “to be briefed off of orally versus consumed as a written product.” He pushed back on claims that his work was ‘opposition research’ and biased, saying that his reputation would be damaged if he allowed any particular bias to influence his findings. The report said:

He stated that if anything he was ‘favourably disposed’ toward the Trump family before he began his research, because he had visited a Trump family member at Trump Tower and ‘been friendly’ with Ivanka for some years. He described their relationship as ‘personal’ and said that he once gifted a family tartan from Scotland to the family member.

Ivanka Trump was gifted Macleod tartan after her paternal Scottish grandmother. Trump first met Steele at a dinner in 2007 when he was still a member of MI6, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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