The 2016 US presidential election was like nothing we had ever seen before in our lives.
This was the first time in modern history that the incoming President of these United States would be accused of being a Russian double agent or, at the very least, beholden to Vladimir Putin on account of something.
You see, it’s one thing for the Democrats to claim that Trump was some sort of Putin puppet – it’s another thing entirely for them to provide an explanation for just how one of the wealthiest men in New York City was somehow recruited by the Kremlin.
The FBI, in hopes of getting a warrant to keep tabs on the 2016 Trump campaign’s every move, used a cache of documents known as the Steel Dossier to enact a FISA warrant. The only problem here is that the Steele Dossier was both unverified information and unverifiable. In other words: It was little more than a collection of rumors.
As it turns out, the CIA was already keenly aware of that at the time that the FBI exploited its existence.
A declassified report from the Senate Intelligence Committee released on Wednesday revealed internal conversations about the notorious Steele dossier between the FBI and CIA during the writing of an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russian election interference and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
The report, the fourth in a series of such releases by Senate Republicans, adds more detail to information previously reported by Horowitz, whose December 2019 report showed that former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe each wanted the Steel dossier materials included in the body of the ICA. After pushback from CIA officials involved in the effort, who according to Horowitz “expressed concern about the lack of vetting for the Steele election reporting and asserted it did not merit inclusion in the body of the report,” the material was included in a short appendix.
The report released on Wednesday provides more of a window into the December 2016 debate around the ICA and how the Steele information was included — including that many at the FBI wanted to feature the Steele information prominently.
“The Assistant Director for [redacted] recounted a conversation with FBI Assistant Director for CD on December 22, and recalled the FBI’s interest in ‘weaving their dossier in the actual text of the report.,'” one line of the Senate Intelligence report reads. “Assistant Director for [redacted] stated there was no ‘visibility, at the time of the writing of the report, into the sub-sourcing dynamic for that dossier… because of the subsourcing, I felt [it] was not appropriate for inclusion in the report and would detract from the report.'”
And, even worse, it looks like disgraced former FBI chief James Comey was a driving factor in all of this.
A statement from Former CIA Director John Brennan in the Senate report said that “[i]nitially the FBI wanted it incorporated into the assessment itself.” Brennan continued that the CIA did not want to incorporate the intelligence but that “Jim Comey made a very strong case, which we didn’t object to, that it needed to accompany the assessment because it was related to the issue, and we didn’t know where the FBI’s investigation was as far as some of those things.”
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