BUT SUBMITTED TO COURT AS “VERIFIED”
by Sharon Rondeau
Despite that knowledge, the material was used not only to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in October 2016, but also three renewals extending to June 2017.
Solomon’s newest report, published Tuesday, is titled, “FBI’s spreadsheet puts a stake through the heart of Steele’s dossier” and reported, in part:
…But lest anyone be tempted to think Steele’s 2016 dossier is about to be mysteriously revived as credible, consider this: Over months of work, FBI agents painstakingly researched every claim Steele made about Trump’s possible collusion with Russia, and assembled their findings into a spreadsheet-like document…
Multiple sources familiar with the FBI spreadsheet tell me the vast majority of Steele’s claims were deemed to be wrong, or could not be corroborated even with the most awesome tools available to the U.S. intelligence community. One source estimated the spreadsheet found upward of 90 percent of the dossier’s claims to be either wrong, nonverifiable or open-source intelligence found with a Google search.
Solomon related that “in early 2017, the FBI had begun a significant effort to assess credibility of the Steele dossier… They interviewed one of his primary sources, a Russian living in the West, and they came to the assessment after the interview…that he was either intentionally misleading Steele or exaggerating in ways that caused Steele’s report to be grossly inaccurate. They then took every factual statement in the Steele dossier memos, put them in a spreadsheet and analyzed them and came to conclude that the majority were either wrong, unverifiable despite all the intelligence the FBI had, or things that an intern with a Google search could find on the internet…”
Solomon emphasized that contemporaneously, the FBI “was continuing to represent to the court that Christopher Steele was a reputable source, that his information might be reliable…”
Among a myriad of claims, the dossier stated that Page was an “agent of a foreign government,” namely, Russia, while the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for alleged “collusion” with the Kremlin to affect the outcome of the election.
Steele, a British citizen and former MI6 agent, compiled the dossier from unnamed sources, later leaking portions of it to Yahoo! News journalist Michael Isikoff. On September 23, 2016, Isikoff published an article naming Page as the target of an investigation by “U.S. intel officials.”
The following month, the FBI submitted Isikoff’s article, along with the dossier, to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) as “evidence” justifying the need for the warrants and stating under oath that the information was “verified.”
Shortly after the Isikoff article appeared, the FBI terminated Steele as a confidential human source but later asked to re-establish communication, DOJ official Bruce Ohr testified to members of Congress last summer. Ohr said he played a role in relaying Steele’s allegations to the FBI and at least three DOJ officials later chosen to investigate the claims against the Trump campaign as members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors.
At the end of the interview, Hannity said that Solomon will “have another big story coming this week.”
Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and investigator into the origins of the “collusion” narrative, affirmed Solomon’s findings. “John’s reporting is very important for this reason: Not only do we know that the dossier was unverified, but we know that most of the dossier was false, and yet they continued on to spy on an American citizen and use that information as if it were credible…,” Meadows said.